BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: Growing the business at Marblehead Gardens

The following is an interview with Ryan O’Connor, owner of Marblehead Gardens Inc. at 164 West Shore Drive, conducted by Discover Marblehead.To learn more about their gardening products, florist services and gift shop, go to

Marblehead Gardens is owned by Ryan O’Connor, who bought the business from his dad.

Tell us about Marblehead Gardens. I purchased the Marblehead Garden Center in November 2021 from my father, Mark O’Connor, after he decided to retire. He had owned the Marblehead Garden Center since 1986. I decided to update the name to Marblehead Gardens to reflect that we are under new ownership. At Marblehead Gardens we provide a wide range of plant material — annuals, perennials, trees/shrubs, house plants, tropicals, and vegetables and herbs. We also have our florist Franny McKeever who makes up beautiful arrangements and Mary Landry who oversees our gift shop. 

What are some of the changes you have made since purchasing the business? General Manager Zach Phelan-Waters and I have made some changes to the business. One of the main areas that we’re focusing on is organization. We really want people to come in and find what they’re looking for easily and have an enjoyable shopping experience. Another focus is expanding our selection of native plants, so we’ve added a dedicated area just for those types of plants. Native plants are important for pollinators such as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. The native nuts, seeds and fruits produced by these plants offer essential foods for all forms of wildlife. We have also put a renewed focus on our plant request system. If we don’t have a specific plant in stock that you’re looking for, we will do our best to try to find and order it. We’ve streamlined our system to have a special request book where we take down information and then respond back to the customer if we’re able to order the plant and when it should arrive by. 

What is your favorite spot in Marblehead, and why? My favorite spot in Marblehead is the Hawthorn Pond Conservation area. I grew up down the street on Hawthorn Road and always used to walk my golden retriever, Ben, down there. It’s very peaceful and has some great trails to walk along. 

What is something people may be surprised to learn about you? Something that people would be surprised to learn about me is that I am part of a candlepin bowling league in Peabody.

The business spotlight is a weekly feature published in partnership with Discover Marblehead. Discover Marblehead is dedicated to the promotion of our majestic seaside town of Marblehead. Our mission is to highlight local businesses, tourism, community events and attractions through social media, email marketing and community outreach. To learn more, visit

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Editor Leigh Blander is an experienced TV, radio and print journalist who has written hundreds of stories for local newspapers, including the Marblehead Reporter.

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