Family business turns 85
Birthday cake, barbecues and special discounts were part of Mason’s Garden Centre special day on June 23 as the family business celebrated its 85th birthday.
The family garden centre on Ohaupo¯ ¯ Road is ran by the third generation of Masons in Andrew Mason, supported by his wife Nikki.
Andrew Mason took over the business in 2000. It was founded by his great grandfather Frank in 1933.
The business may not have been around today if Frank had followed his father’s advice and joined him in the tailoring industry in the early 1900s.
He lasted just one day in the trade before deciding it was not for him.
After leaving school at the age of 12, Frank apprenticed himself to a local nurseryman, and in 1933, while New Zealand was struggling with the consequences of the Great Depression, Frank started Mason Nurseries.
The bold move paid off, as in 1938 Frank had to pick up his business and move to a larger plot of land, such was the success.
Fruit trees, shelter trees and some 300,000 plants were prebooked by each year by local farmers.
The business was one of the first in New Zealand to use an automatic propagation misting unit after Frank had seen an advertisement for one in a British magazine in 1953.
As Frank grew older, his son Francis began to take hold of the reins, bringing unique and new ideas to continue the business’s growth.
The business secured the Waikato agency for fruit, growing a new variety of Asian pears and persimmons.
The centre became a mini paradise for home gardeners, as everything they needed, the Masons had.
Exotic fruits, trees and plants were just some of the products that kept bringing customers back to Masons Garden Centre.
The business was eventually taken over by Andrew Mason, who like his father, was unsure of what his career path may be.
Originally wanting to become an architect, Andrew got involved at the garden centre in 1985 and has never looked back.
Much like his father, and his grandfather before him, Andrew and his wife Nicky have continued to evolve the business to keep up with modern times and apply his own bit of history to the business.
Members of the Mason family at the Garden Centre. (From left) Nicky Mason, Andrew Mason, daughter Arden Mason, Pat Mason and Francis Mason.