The list of products available at Felger’s Peat Moss is long, but the philosophy that has kept the business successful for more than six decades is short and sweet.
A Company History
“My dad always said, ‘Treat people like you want to be treated,’” says Jerry Felger, owner of Felger’s Peat Moss. “Dad was a very religious person and I think honesty and integrity were his main focus.”
Felger’s parents, Ruth and Herb Felger, started their business 62 years ago on Valentine Road on the city’s far northwest side. They lived in the farmhouse that still sits on the property today where they raised their family and grew their business.
“My grandparents had actually lived here when my dad was growing up, but they lost the house during the Great Depression. Years later, my parents bought it and started Felger’s Peat Moss. I was just 3 years old then, but by the time I was 7, I was following my dad around and helping with the business,” says Jerry. “It started out with peat moss and limestone. Over time, they expanded to offer different soils and then we added mulches and now we have decorative stone and just about anything you can imagine for your outdoor living needs.”
Felger’s wife, Deedee, handles accounts payable/receivable and customer service. Their daughter, Stephanie, is the office manager and their son, Matthew, is the hardscape manager. In addition, there are two other full-time employees and dozens of seasonal employees during their peak season of April, May and June.
“Everybody has their own area of expertise, so we can direct you to the right person to answer your questions,” says Deedee. Felger’s serves the Fort Wayne area, as well as surrounding cities and states. It caters to both retail and wholesale customers and, as it expands its product line, its new customer base has also expanded.
But it’s not just new products that keep customers coming back to Felger’s time and time again. “We have several customers who have come to us through referrals from other companies and individuals,” says Deedee. “We also have return customers who have been coming for decades. It’s not uncommon for us to hear stories from customers talking about their memories of coming here as children as far back as the 50s.”
More Than Peat Moss
“We have a lot of products to choose from. Our company name is Felger’s Peat Moss, but we offer so much more than that,” says Jerry. He points out the numerous kinds of soils, more than 30 varieties of mulches and more than 20 kinds of decorative stone. Customers can bring their own vehicle to haul the materials or delivery service is available.
Felger’s offers a full line of natural and concrete hardscape products. “We have brand new outdoor displays so customers can see exactly what it looks like when it’s in place,” says Matthew. “People are spending more and more time outside. They want outdoor living areas that include things like fireplaces, pizza ovens and even refrigerators. We can accommodate those needs.”
Felger’s also has hundreds of different types of natural flagstone and boulders in all colors, shapes and sizes. In addition to the natural hardscapes, it offers concrete pavers and retaining wall block. “We are distributors for and carry three main lines of hardscapes: Belgard, Rosetta and Unilock,” says Matthew.
If a customer wants an item Felger’s doesn’t carry, it strives to accommodate the needs of the customer and, if possible, order it for them.
He and his family are proud to offer Genuine Stone by Felger’s, a division of their company with natural stone veneer. “Natural stone veneer offers a timeless look and is a beautiful alternative to cultured stone. It is low maintenance and real; not made from concrete,” he says.
A Family Affair
Being in business for 62 years, Felger’s certainly has its share of regular customers, but it invites anyone interested to come and look at what it has to offer. Felger’s is open year-round and, during the peak season, it is open seven days a week.
“A lot of people have no idea how much we have here until they come and see our displays. They’re all new and really beautiful,” says Deedee.
And because the business is a family affair, all of the Felgers are committed to its success and passionate about its purpose. Matthew’s wife, Christy, helps out as does their 5-year-old daughter, (or 5 ¼ years old as she likes to say) Maleena. “She spends a lot of time here,” says Deedee. “And she doesn’t think twice about walking up to customers and asking in a very grownup sort of way, ‘May I help you?’ She is the 4th generation of our family to be a part of the business.”
Everyone in the family lives on the same street as the business. And up until the day she passed away last September, Ruth Felger lived in the home that sits on the grounds of the business. Herb passed away 16 years ago. The original farmhouse now serves as the office. “Ruth was actively involved in the business on a regular basis until she was well into her 80s,” says Deedee.
Anyone visiting Felger’s is always greeted by Barney, a stray hound who adopted the Felger family several years ago. And Ruth’s cat, Lilly, also roams about on the property.
“I’ve been a part of this operation for 58 years and I’m really proud of what my family does,” says Jerry. “Stephanie and Matthew have done a great job of incorporating hardscapes into our business and, as a result, we have a lot to offer. More and more, we hear people tell us that instead of spending money on vacations, they’re investing in the outdoor space of their homes. We are following that trend as well by offering products and services to make that happen for them."
Owner(s): Jerry Felger
Address: 9912 Valentine Road Fort Wayne, Indiana 46818
Phone: (260) 693-3134
Years in Business: 62
Products & Services: Black and brown top soil; specialty soil mixes; mulches; decorative stone; flagstone; limestone; retaining wall and pavers; natural building veneer; edging; landscape fabric; straw mat; delivery available