In 2018, Derek Anglemyer co-founded West Canyon Nurseries in Glenwood Canyon in partnership with his wife, Amy, and her parents. The property had previously been a tree farm selling wholesale but had not functioned to its full capacity in several years. Derek’s father-in-law, who owns a landscape business in Colorado Springs, alerted Derek and Amy that the property was available and they partnered to buy it.
Derek is new to the green industry. He was born and raised in Kansas, graduated from Wichita State University and took a job in the paint industry out of college. As he moved up in the company, new jobs took him and his family – wife and young children – to another city and/or state. After moving six times in five years, he and Amy decided to take the risk of investing in this new business and to become more settled with their growing family.
So Far, So Good
“The business is doing really well,” says Derek. “Every year has been an improvement on the past year and 2022 is our best year so far. For us right now, the challenge is getting the word out about our business and its new name so people know we are here and open for business. We’re more than wholesale now, we are open to the public again.”
As West Canyon has grown, they have hired a few more people. Derek says as they go into year five, they have learned enough to start making some different growing decisions based on space requirements and turn-time of different plant types.
“It’s a steep learning curve,” admits Derek. “The first year, we just sold what we knew—aspen and spruce. How do I learn? Mostly from the internet. I had to learn what grows here. It’s kind of ‘one tree at a time’ and I learn as I go. We’ve gone beyond aspen and spruce to other trees such as maples, crab apples and chokecherries, and I keep learning. I have come to love trees!”
The business also grows perennials and annuals, which are Amy’s love. She grew up in Colorado Springs where her father’s landscape business is located, and her father has also been a resource.
Other part of the learning curve is Colorado’s climate, elevation challenges and, of course, water. “We are fortunate to have good water availability,” Derek says. They have ditch water and a little spring-fed creek on their property.
Joining CNGA Board
Derek wants to continue “broadening who and what I know” by meeting more people in the industry so he can learn more about the industry as a whole, not just the plants. At a CNGA barbecue in Sept. 2022, when he heard that CNGA wanted a Western Slope representation, he said he would do it. “I look forward to bringing concerns and as well as knowledge—such as best practices—to the board from these members,” he says. “This opportunity is good for me, and good for Western Slope members and CNGA. I get to reach out and learn from fellow members, while learning of issues and best practices, and helping to inform CNGA about Western Slope business challenges.”
Something Derek was relieved to find, in his relatively short time in the industry, is how people from other businesses are willing to help. Even though some could technically be competitors, they will answer questions and help others learn. Businesses work together to help each other and he likes that.