Wiard’s Orchards in Ypsilanti, MI has been around for a very long time, since 1837. Some might wonder how the Wiard family has stayed in business for 180 years since most businesses do not achieve that kind of longevity. Just how did the Wiard’s pass the business from generation to generation for 7 generations and keep the orchards alive and well? It’s not a trade secret that has kept this operation alive and well for 182 years, but it could be some “family secrets”.
Wiard’s Orchards was created from necessity, the need to earn an honest living and stay on the farm. Wiard’s has had 7 generations with the same commitment to hard work and a vision for the business to make this work. Generation after generation at least one and usually more, family members shared the vision and worked shoulder to shoulder to keep the dream alive. Even during times that one specific family member carried the load he/she could count on other members of the family to step up and step in from time to time. One of the “family secrets” is that hard work pays off.
The family has worked alongside many, many non-family managers along the way; with a more than a few of these non-family members staying with the orchards for 30 years. This was possible because the Wiard family treated the non-family managers like family and kept the interest of everyone’s family at the center of the operation. One of the “family secrets” is that loyalty is earned not bought.
The Wiard family has always endeavored to serve the community in which it resides. Serving may be in the form of a donation, a free field trip for a service group, passes for a fund-raising raffle, some apples for a mission group, some pumpkins for a special project, some cider for a church party, or simply running the operation in a way that is not offensive to the community. One of the “family secrets” is to support our community.
Wiard’s Orchards and Country Fair and Wiard’s Night Terrors has changed many times over the years. We have in fact changed from a simple apple orchard into a full family entertainment center that offers something for folks of any age group, from toddlers to seniors. One of the “family secrets” is that change is a must to keep the business vibrant and current.