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Our Founders

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John Bonner

John’s roots as a grower run deep. He grew up on the family farm in Burton, Ohio among 30 acres of corn, soybeans and greenhouses. His grandfather started Burton Floral and Garden, the Midwest’s largest horticultural supply distributor. John’s father worked there, eventually forming Dillen Products and growing it into a top supplier of plastic containers for the plant industry.

Growing up around these companies, John learned the ins and outs of the industry. Bolstering that knowledge with a B.A. in Business Administration, he successfully ran the family greenhouse operation for six years. In 2008, Greenhouse Grower magazine called him “one to watch” for his progressive approach to production and sustainable energy. Crain’s Cleveland Business followed suit, including John and his sister in their 2009 “40 Under 40” class.

In 2011, John left the family greenhouse to start a new kind of hydroponic growing operation. With wheelbarrow loads of hard work and innovative thinking, the Great Lakes Growers company we know and love today was born.

Tim Ryan

Tim also grew up in N.E. Ohio, an area that remains the center of his work life, family life and numerous philanthropic efforts today. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Southern Methodist University in 1991 and his Masters degree in Business Administration from Cleveland State University in ’94. After graduating from CSU, he spent 13 years working for Swagelok Company of Solon, Ohio, serving most recently as a Regional Director for the Asia Pacific region.

Always active in the N.E. Ohio philanthropic community, Tim has volunteered with the Friends of the Achievement Centers for Children, was a Board member of Cleveland Social Venture Partners, and served as a mentor for CSU’s Target Program, an international business group. He’s currently a Trustee of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. He and John have been co-owners of Great Lakes Growers since its very start in 2011.

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Our mission at Great Lakes Growers is simple: To provide the absolute cleanest, freshest, locally grown produce in the Midwest. We do not strive to follow best practices, our goal is to set the standard for what "Fresh" means. We use no chemical pesticides or herbicides in our processes and are committed to providing the safest produce to our customers.

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We take great pride in what we do here at Great Lakes Growers and central to that belief are the people who run our operation. All of our employees live where they work and are members of our immediate communities. We have maintained a third party audited food safety rating of 99% on our facilities and people for the last 3 years!

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