Parker Garlitz and his sister, Kaitlin Jones started a wheatgrass and garden supply company in their garage. Demetrios Agathangelides started a mail-order seed business after immigrating to the United States from Greece in the 1970s. He retired and sold his business to Lance Heaton and Robb Baumann. In 2014, these two small business dreams came together in Logan, Utah, to start True Leaf Market, one of the few truly independent seed suppliers in the United States.
Since then, the company has relied more and more on online marketing to reach their customers and grow their business. By 2020, True Leaf had abandoned their printed catalog and went completely digital. They sell products on Amazon’s vast marketplace and advertise on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Bing, Google, among others. Unlike their catalog, digital advertising allows the company to target their audience directly and track ad performance in real-time. A True Leaf Market Facebook group helps the company build and engage with a community of customers and followers who share gardening advice, post recipes, and find answers to their plant-related questions.
As an independent business in an industry dominated by some of the biggest names in agribusiness, easily accessible digital tools allow True Leaf Market to stand alone. That’s why Garlitz is concerned that lawmakers might take aim at these tools and make them less accessible for small businesses like his.
“Who’s going to get hurt most if these tools go away, become less accessible or get more expensive?” Garlitz asked. “It isn’t going to be the giant agribusinesses we compete against, it’s going to be small businesses like ours.”
Now based in Salt Lake City, True Leaf is in the process of a major expansion made possible by their online marketing efforts. Payroll expanded by 50 percent and the company continues to hire. Digital tools not only allow True Leaf to compete against much bigger players in its industry, they allow the company to thrive while fostering the community that supports their business and their mission.