I always felt Hortica would take care of you. That’s why I’ve always liked Hortica. They know our industry, they’ve been doing it for years. A lot of the other insurance companies don’t really know greenhouses.
Jim Gibson, owner
In March 2022, a pre-dawn blaze destroyed a critical portion of Timbuk Farms in Granville, Ohio. Owners Jim and LaVonda Gibson, and their close-knit team, were faced with the aftermath of an untimely fire.
“The fire took the greenhouses filled with our spring crops, the shipping area, production barn with equipment, soil room, mulch piles, and our offices,” explains Jim. “It spanned the length of a football field.”
The incident was classified as a 5-alarm fire.
Jim, who lives five minutes away, recalls his first sight of the fire. “I came over the hill and saw the flames coming straight out the middle of the building. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I hope I paid my insurance bill this month!”
“The fire happened in the middle of the night, and in the hours following, everyone who could was booking flights and on their way to Timbuk,” recalls Tom Richey, Hortica Property Claims Manager.
All teams mobilized to the site, capturing aerial footage, taking photos, and conducting a comprehensive property survey, Tom recounts. “We conducted a scope of loss, reviewed coverages, and devised a plan on how to move forward. We also brought in a forensic accountant to meet with Timbuk’s CFO.”
Despite the loss of greenhouses and buildings, focus immediately shifted to resuming operations. “The biggest thing we were trying to do was get the rest of the greenhouses up and going and do everything we could to continue shipping,” notes Jim. “We were right in the middle of our planting season, right in the middle of spring.”
“My role was to immediately talk through the policy and coverages with Jim,” explains Todd Mazur, Timbuk’s insurance agent. “I wanted to help calm his nerves, explain the process of how the adjuster would come out, and let him know what to expect.”
Driven by Jim’s urgency to “rebuild as soon as the coals cooled”, Todd emphasized the value of collaboration and a good policy: “We were able to secure a monetary advance within a week, sparing Timbuk from tapping into their own credit line.”
Jim admits, “You really begin to understand the benefits of the policies once you actually use them.”
When disaster struck Timbuk Farms, they weren't alone. Hortica was there through every step. With Jim's determination and a shared "let's do this" attitude, Timbuk Farms reopened its doors in November 2022—less than eight months after the fire.
Throughout the process, Jim and Tom weren't afraid to roll up their sleeves and get things done. They made some major decisions that led to the construction of a new 100-acre greenhouse and a thriving new retail center. In Tom’s heartfelt words, reflecting on the claim: “It’s fulfilling, especially when they do have a big loss. We're taking care of them. At the end of the loss when they're up and running and as happy as can be, that's gratifying.”
Timbuk Farms' new retail garden center is a stunning 5,000-square-foot space that's as much a haven for plant lovers as it is a testament to resilience. More than just a place to buy plants, the garden center is a community hub featuring seasonal programs, a tulip festival, and many photo opportunities.
The building is also equipped with new technologies and sustainable practices, including energy-efficient LED lighting and a rainwater harvesting system. However, the most inspiring aspect of Timbuk Farms’ revitalization is the story. It's a symbol of hope and renewal—a tribute not only to the Gibson family's unwavering determination, but also to Hortica’s partnership in helping them rise up after a devastating loss.