Our Company is the embodiment of a dream held by one of our founders, Martine Anderson. Born in France, Martine lived in the south of France and long dreamed of one day having a large, lush, lavender garden of her own. When she and her husband Edgar moved to Washington Island as young retirees, they looked for a business in which to invest, but nothing seemed to suit. Martine kept thinking that the Island was a lot like the area around Provence, so Edgar did longitudinal weather studies, took soil samples and planted a test garden at their home, and at the home of friends Gene and Helene Meyer. The gardens grew, as did the friendship, and the dreams of creating a lavender business. As plans progressed, an untimely accident took Gene’s life, but knowing that he would have supported the venture with all his executive experience and knowledge, Helene, Martine and Edgar went forward.
In 2012 business plans were developed, plants were ordered for cultivation in 2013 and beyond, products were ordered from other vendors using the same kinds of buds we would grow. In early 2013 our retail store was established in rental space on the Island. In May, almost 9,000 lavender plants were installed in four fields. We opened our doors for a “sneak peak” on May 9, and as the saying goes, the rest is history. We were truly gratified by the acceptance we received from our Island community and our customers.
In the autumn of 2013, we realized that we needed more planting space, more retail space, as well as space for offices, drying, production, storage, shipping and e-commerce fulfillment. With that in mind, we purchased a 21.7 acre parcel on Airport and Townline Roads where our new retail store now stands in a field that when fully planted will be home to more than 30,000 lavender plants, a demonstration garden, a gazebo, and outdoor seating for our small café.
Our management team is made up of: Martine had a long career in the world of haute couture for both Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus and owned several businesses both in France and the U.S. Martine’s depth of experience in retailing gives us a substantial advantage in our product selection, development and merchandising. Edgar graduated from the University of Miami School of Architecture and has an extensive background in International Development. He led McDonald’s corporation’s global construction, engineering, planning, and sourcing and was an integral part of the rapid expansion of the company in the global markets during the last 20 years. Helene Meyer is a retired Ph.D. Industrial Psychologist with extensive background in strategic planning and human resources. Her skills in business management, staff development and planning provide another cornerstone for the growth of Fragrant Isle. Our friendly staff of sales associates, farm technicians, and operations specialists joins our management team in inviting you to: WATCH US GROW!!!