Like any good entrepreneur, Steve Boehme began planting the seeds for his business years ago.

The result is Boehme's GoodSeed Farm, a high-end garden store set in the rolling hillsides of Adams County (about a 45-minute drive from the eastern suburbs of Cincinnati). Boehme and his wife Marjorie moved here eight years ago from the bustling Northeast corridor, where he'd capped a lifetime career in sales and marketing in the Fortune 100 corporate world.

"Our whole purpose in coming to Ohio was to live somewhere quiet and beautiful, where we 'owned the view' so the inevitable suburban sprawl would be at arms length," says Boehme of his life's dream.

"I like to say I've had nine lives...this is the ninth, so it better work...so I've had lots of different experience," the marketer-turned-farmer continues. "GoodSeed Farm is, at its core, a marketing organization. We are not greenhouse growers or nurserymen, instead re-selling mostly plants and products produced by the best growers we can find. We locate good growers and cherry-pick their offerings, buying only the items where they truly excel and leaving the rest for our competition to buy."

The garden center now employs six people on a farm covering 158 acres. Annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees are among the offerings.
"We started with an abandoned broiler chicken hatchery and overgrown fields," recalls Boehme, "gradually taming the buildings and adding new ones. Everything we build is designed to harmonize and fit the feeling of an old traditional farm, using rough-sawn local sawmill lumber and adapting traditional designs to fit our specific needs."

GoodSeed, located in the small town of Peebles, draws customers through a series of garden festivals, classes, and other activities that position the farm as a "tourist destination." A recent country garden festival featured Mary Margaret Rochford, president of the Cincinnati Horticultural Society and Cincinnati Flower Show, as guest speaker.

"Our model when we started out was to be part Smith & Hawken and part Jungle Jim's," says Boehme. "Rather than a price-volume model like a big-box store, we made our selection 'broad and shallow' trying to be the place where 'they'll have it' for people seeking the unusual.

"The next frontier is to offer food to our guests."