Plantivity: Rooted in Grower and Customer Success

Interview with Katy and Stefan Hiatt, Owners

P.O. Box 6185
Eagle, Colorado 81631

Interesting company name, how did it come about?

As a well-meaning gift from Katy’s dad, he provided us with a branding specialist who came up with more than 20 potential company names – but we didn’t like any of them! Around Christmas time we were watching TV and the word ‘nativity’ came up. A light went off in Stefan’s head and he blurted out to Katy, “What do you think of Plantivity?” We thought it was perfect with the meaning of nativity being the “birth of something,” considering we were starting not only a new company but having our second daughter very soon.

How did you start the company?

After marching into eight banks and hearing several no’s, pregnant and determined, Katy ended up with three loans to fund the start of Plantivity in 2011. We rented a small office above the Visitors Center in Golden, Colo. and we were in business. In 2015, we moved to Eagle, Colo. for a small, mountain-town lifestyle to raise our daughters and run our cloud-based business.

Plantivity sponsored a “Super Hero Training” event at a local elementary school and used horticulture to teach about teamwork and the unique value each person brings to this world.

What markets do you serve?

We are a national wholesale plant broker headquartered in Colorado. Our primary market is the Rocky Mountain states. We specialize in finding and delivering trees, shrubs and perennials with trees making up about 60% of our business.

What is it that makes your company successful?

Our commitment to building strong relationships. We take our tagline “Rooted in your Success” very seriously. We want to be rooted in the success of our growers; their products are what drive our customers’ success. If our customers are not succeeding, then we are not succeeding. As a broker, we have to take care of both our growers and our customers. If we root ourselves in the success of others, our success will be a byproduct. We take this to heart with our Plantivity team and our community. Over the last five years, we have provided our best products to the Vail Valley Habitat for Humanity neighborhoods at no cost.

Stefan and Katy Hiatt (on right) at a Habitat for Humanity neighborhood where they donated over $8,000 worth of trees and shrubs.

What changes are you seeing in the marketplace?

Unfortunately we’re seeing family-owned farms close their doors after generations of growing nursery stock. The farmers are aging out and their children are not interested in tree farming. We are convinced that innovation, creating efficiencies, and profitability in this industry is a must to maintain tree farming as a viable business for future generations. Container growing is one method growers are using to ship year around and gain an edge on freight costs. We’re also seeing new growing strategies where balled-and-burlapped trees can be dug at any time and turned faster.

Katy and Stefan Hiatt inspect a load of trees for one of their customers.

How has CNGA helped your company?

A few years ago, CNGA fought very hard to help members get better access to H-2A/2B workers. Last year at the onset of the COVID pandemic, CNGA went to bat for all of us to keep our companies open by securing the “essential business” status. We appreciate how CNGA is fostering awareness among young people to seek careers in horticulture through the Young Hort Professionals, which we actively support. And we especially enjoy the annual Horticulture Leadership Retreat – all of us coming together as an industry is so important. Thank you, CNGA – we are grateful for all you do for Plantivity and the green industry as a whole!