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Horticulture Alum Timothy Serinese Has Deep Roots at Family’s Gardening Center

9/5/14


West Windsor, N.J. – A lifelong resident of Robbinsville, Timothy Serinese ’00 (A.S, Plant Science) did not have to look far to get the college education he was looking for.

“I was fortunate to have a horticulture program locally that was very good and very challenging,” says the Plant Science graduate.

Serinese is the owner of Timothy’s Center for Gardening located on Route 130 in Robbinsville.  His gardening and landscaping supply center is the current iteration of a family business that began with his grandfather, who farmed the land where Timothy’s is located, along with a property in East Windsor that is now the site of The Home Depot.

Staying local for college was always Serinese’s plan.  “I had friends and activities locally.  I did not want to give them up,” he said.  He continued his education at Delaware Valley College, where he majored in Ornamental Horticulture.

“The professors at Mercer were just as good as those I had later.  The classes were small and hands-on.  I recommend Mercer to people all the time,” Serinese says.

Serinese is an alumnus who believes in giving back to his alma mater.  He is in frequent contact with MCCC Horticulture Program Coordinator Amy Ricco and invites her classes to tour his facilities, which include several large greenhouses and a retail store.

“They can see how I run the business, the different equipment like the potting machines I use, and the greenhouses where we get the plants going and keep them thriving,” Serinese explains.

He has been a generous supporter of MCCC projects, providing materials at cost for the Mary Hayes Tribute Garden that Horticulture students designed, landscaped and paved in 2013.  He also hires MCCC students and is able to work around their school schedules.  “They can work weekends and afternoons.  It works out well.”

Serinese says he was made for the gardening business.  His grandparents’ house was just off the property and, from high school onward, he was involved.  “I grew up in the family business,” he says.

Tim Serinese, owner of Timothy's Garden Center
It's all in the family for Timothy's Center for Gardening. Serinese is the third generation to keep the business thriving.

“Farming actually goes back to my great-grandfather.  My grandfather was active until he died, and my grandmother still stops by.  They were pleased to see the business continue,” Serinese says. 

Years ago, they called it The Vegetable Garden, which Serinese describes as a working farm and produce stand run by farmers.  Then they added flowers, followed by landscape supplies. Now, there is a substantial inventory of garden gifts and accessories as well.  Serinese notes that in addition to individual customers, he has built a solid business with landscape contractors and pavers.

As a seasonal business, Serinese says a lot of planning goes into making the best use of his and his employees’ time.  “Half the time, we work twice as hard, and the other half, we work half as hard,” he says of the schedule.

He notes that every employee learns the whole business.  “While some people have special responsibilities, all of us can jump in when something needs to get done.”

Timothy’s Center for Gardening is one of three garden centers situated within a few miles on Route 130 north through Robbinsville and Windsor.  “Competition is a good thing for us.  Customers know about this corridor.  We draw from a much larger area because of it,” he says, adding that the prominent location is great.  “We spend very little on advertising.”

Serinese says each of the centers has its own niche.  “For Timothy’s, that a large selection of perennials and high quality plants.  We have a lot of knowledge to offer the customer.  We have a steady clientele and see the same faces every year.”

While the busiest season – mid-March to mid-June – has come and gone, Serinese says there’s plenty to keep him and his employees busy.  Throughout the summer, Timothy's offers a fresh and colorful selection of plants and grows fall mums in the center's fields.  The landscape supply business remains strong in during the warm weather; his staff also uses the time to catch up on maintenance projects and renovations in prepartion for the following spring.

Clearly, Serinese has put down his roots.  “This is where I intend to stay,” he says.  With a wife and two young boys who are already interested in “working with daddy,” the business is likely to do what a gardening center should – continue to grow and thrive.

Horticulture and Plant Science

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