Farmers market and garden center stays in family more than four decades after opening

Jess Hafner returned to the area 15 years ago to help manage Chuck Hafner's Farmers Market and Garden Center in North Syracuse, a popular nursery that dates back to his grandfather's farming business that started in 1922.

Jess Hafner has worked at his family’s garden center for his entire life.

Over the years, his responsibilities have increased from sweeping the floors to delegating tasks to his department managers. But he has always kept the customers at the center of what he does.

Photo: Tory Russo
Jess Hafner checks the poinsettias in one of many greenhouses at the garden center.

“We put an awful lot of heart and soul into trying to carry the best product, the highest-quality product, and [giving] the best customer experience that we can,” Hafner said.

He’s been working full-time at Chuck Hafner’s Farmers Market and Garden Center for the last 15 years. As general manager, he oversees and observes everything happening at the store, from who’s shopping to the products on display.

It has never felt like a job to Hafner, who said the center feels more like home than a workplace.

His father and grandfather built a small stand in the 1960s to sell fresh produce from the family farm. The farmers market eventually expanded and added a garden center in the 1970s.

In 2008, the business moved from Taft Road to Buckley Road in North Syracuse.

Jess says the company continues to grow. They’re in the process of building several new greenhouses.

“We’re a local business in Syracuse, so we’re trying to continue expanding the local products we’re carrying in the store and doing more community-type events,” Hafner said.

These events include free seminars and classes, as well as October’s Fall Fest and Chuck Hafner’s Winter Wonderland, which runs from the end of November until mid-December.

“It’s nice that there’s more going on to keep young people [and families] in the area,” Hafner said. “I think we’re a part of that with what we do here.”

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.