We are PlantMasters. Located just two miles south of Suttons Bay, directly on M22. This year we are celebrating 31 years in this location! We began as D & E VanThomme Greenhouses in the Detroit area in 1940. Tina shares stories of digging up pansies from the fields, and selling them for only a few cents a piece at the Detroit market. Over time, the VanThomme brothers spread, and PlantMasters was born in 1989. What makes us different, you ask? We grow all of our plants RIGHT HERE! We take great pride in caring for our plants, from seed, to sprout and all the way to your garden. Buying locally grown plants means that you are not risking your health or the health of your garden with the possibility of insects or diseases picked up during shipping and handling. Stop by to chat with our 3rd, 4th and 5th generation PlantMasters, and any of our knowledgeable staff. We Grow It…And It Shows!
We’d like to introduce you to the woman behind PlantMasters- Tina. Tina married in to PlantMasters at a young age, and it has been her baby ever since. After years of doing the ‘dirty work’ , Tina works hard behind the scenes.
Tina is a business owner, a mother, a dog lover and a world traveler. She spends her free time on the beach or snowmobiling (depending on the season) and can always be found with her boarder collie Levi by her side.
Don’t let her painted nails fool you, this woman can run a business like no other. She is strong, confident and wise beyond her years. Tina’s personality is one that lights up any room, and her laugh is one that turns heads.
Say hello to Patrick! Patrick, a retired business owner from the GR area is coming up on his third year with us at PlantMasters. After being a family friend for many years, Patrick said “I DO” to owner, Tina, in fall 2019, making him officially family. Patricks hobbies include Disney, drinking and golf, in no particular order. We are thankful to have Patricks positive attitude and eagerness to help.
Property/Equipment Manager & Head Grower
Have you heard the slogan “Chevy Runs Deep”?
The same goes for VanThomme.
When we look at Tristan, we think “VanThomme Runs Deep”.
Tristan, fourth generation PlantMaster, takes after his great-grandpa, grandpa and father with pride.
He is one of those people who puts every ounce of passion into his family’s business, and you can tell.
Not only does he wear a logo on his hat 364 days a year (Halloween excluded) but he can be found at PlantMasters, with his golden girls Daisy and Clover almost every day of the year, too, other than an occasional escape to the Upper Peninsula.
When you see Tristan, be sure to wave. Our doors wouldn’t be open without him.
Production and General Manager
If you’re familiar with our business, you’re more than likely familiar with this smile. This is Crystal, 4th generation PlantMaster through marriage. Not only is she a mother to Dahlia and Lilly (and fur babies Daisy and Clover) as well as wife to Tristan, she’s our production manager, custom order organizer, technology mastermind, and overall go-to helper.
Before Crystal became arguably the best addition to the PlantMaster family, she spent her days as a seamstress, creating wedding dresses, yeti hats (famous to Suttons Bay) and much more. Her creative ability was opened to endless possibilities when she was introduced to the world of flowers roughly ten years ago.
Since then, Crystal has worked hard to become one of the most knowledgeable plant people we know!
If Crystal was a flower, she would be a rose. Easy to talk to and resilient but don’t rub her wrong- you might find thorns!
My name is Rachel VanThomme. I am a true Leelanau Local, born and raised in Suttons Bay, and have spent the majority of my life running around the greenhouses. I am a 5th Plantmaster, and currently the retail manager. You will likely find me behind the cash register or in the houseplants! I am in charge of weekly houseplant orders, retail seed packets, (some)hard goods/chemicals/fertilizers, bagged products, annual flats (pansies,begonias, marigolds, petunias and alyssum) , social media and more odd ball things here and there.
Though I dabbled around different careers in highschool, plants are my true passion. I am thankful for my career because every single day, I learn something new, and I teach someone else something new. It’s a win-win!
I am mom to Zen, our precious black kitty. When I’m not at PlantMasters, I can be found deep in the woods. I am passionate about veganism and sustainability and my favorite color is green.
Member Since 2010
Meet Debbi, our long time perennial queen and family friend. Debbi began her love for plants working for us at our downstate location over 30 years ago. She found her way to Northern Michigan 10 years ago, and was reunited with PlantMasters. Since then, she has been educating customers, creating beautiful custom arrangements and offering a smile to everyone who crosses her path. With so many years of experience under her belt, Debbi is our go-to perennial lady.
When she’s not in the perennial house, Debbi can be found golfing, traveling with her daughters and chillin’ at the beach with her recuse dog, Cody.
If we had to describe Debbi in two words, we would say independent and creative.
We are so thankful for Debbi and all of her talent.
Member Since 2016
Meet our friend, Dave.
Dave is a mysterious man. We know he has a dog, plays guitar and his breakfast of choice is usually Doritos or Cheetos. (Maybe that’s where he gets all his energy.)
Though Dave doesn’t get into the details about himself, he will talk your ear off and rarely will you have a conversation with Dave that doesn’t end in laughter.
People like Dave are the people who make family businesses so special- because Dave isn’t related to us, but he’ll always be family.
Once a customer said “Wow, Dave does it all!” and I think that is the most accurate way to describe Dave. He is always willing to help, you name a time, a place and a task!
Member Since 2020
Meet our newest member, Jered. Though he’s only been a part of our team since 2020, it feels like we’ve known him forever. From the moment Jered walks in the door each morning (with coffee in hand) to the moment he heads home to his family, he’s got a smile on his face, sometimes accompanied by singing. Aside from always being eager to learn, and ready to help, we’ve come to realize that Jered is like those little red Swiss army knifes. He’s always near by, and very multipurpose. From his great customer service, endless humor, and willingness to get his hands dirty, to his plant knowledge, farm experience and ability to open a beer bottle , it seems that he can do everything, much like the pocket knifes with a corkscrew, nail clippers and wrench galore.
Member since 2021
Our latest and greatest addition to the PlantMasters team, Missy! Missy is truly one of a kind. She is enthusiastic, energetic, adventurous, and kind-hearted. In her free time, Missy paddles every bay in the county and hikes every trail known to Northern Michigan, makes stunning stone jewelry, and plays with her rescue cats, Panther and Tiger. Missy has a bright personality, and seems to be friends with everyone she meets! Missy fell in love with greenhouse life in 2021, and has quickly learned a lifetime of plant knowledge - not surprising for someone as devoted as her!
2nd generation and owner
Don VanThomme, known as "Farmer Don" to most, and "Bunka" to his 6 grandkids, was arguably the best farmer known to Michigan. He was known for his humor, love for community and ability to grow anything! Don was passionate about fishing, building anything from wooden cabins to chicken coops and snowmobiling in the U.P. He loved attending the Cedar Polka fest and throwing a ball for his partner-in-crime boarder collies, Bandit and Levi.
Don passed away unexpected in 2018. We miss his loud voice and tight hugs everyday, but we know he is up there growing tomatoes where blossom-end-rot and aphids don't exist with a cold Bud-Light in hand.
Every morning when we open our doors, we do it in honor of Don's handwork and dedication.