Valerie Reid Reel, mom of three girls, and Katie Reid Clark, mom of two boys, are the fifth generation (along with their brother, Brad) to lead the way at Reid’s Orchard, an Owensboro landmark. The two sisters were born and raised on the Orchard and are now taking a major leadership role in the family business, expanding what they offer to better serve local families. Get to know this dynamic duo and how they balance their busy lives.
Tell us about your roles at Reid’s Orchard.
Katie: I grew up watching how to maintain and manage the Orchard. In college, I decided I wanted to come back home and work in the family business. I started to take Ag Business and Horticulture classes. In 2009, I graduated from WKU and started full time at the Orchard. I now have four greenhouses and grow over 2,000 hanging baskets, ferns, bedding plants, herbs, vegetable plants and over 3,000 mums. I also manage our store, making sure fresh-produce, orchard-related products and other items are ready, washed and stocked.
Valerie: I’ve been Event Coordinator for the Orchard since about 2007. I coordinate weddings, the Reidland Play Area, corporate events, birthday parties, Markets Days, school tours and other events.
What is the best part of running a small business with your sister and family?
Katie: The best part about working with family is the strong support system you have. You can always rely on each other during both the ups and downs of business ownership. It is rewarding working with my sister. We have become best friends and our kids get to grow up with each other on the Orchard.
Valerie: You get to work with your best friend everyday! We also both have different roles but can help each other out.
Can you talk about the importance of involving your children in your generations-owned family business?
Valerie: Growing up in the family business, we could see first-hand how hard the generations worked to keep the Orchard up and going. Now, we are offering the same for our kids. They are here every day and see what their grandparents, aunt, uncle and mom do each day.
Katie: Having my kids involved in the Orchard is incredibly important to me. They get the opportunity to learn about agriculture, nature, and the value of hard work all while being at the place they love. We are always exploring new opportunities to keep the Orchard growing because my dream is that my children will one day want a role in the orchard business.
Fall is a busy time at Reid’s! How do you find work/life balance?
Katie: Fall is a very busy time at the Orchard. Balancing life and work can be tricky. Both of my boys are very active in sports. I don’t ever want them to feel like they can’t play a sport because of the Orchard. Again, I have a great support system. Every family member pitches in when it comes to the kids.
Valerie: When Fall hits, I call it survival mode. We just jump in and make it happen. Come November, we can calm down a little and breathe. Taking trips away from the Orchard is a must.
What advice do you have for other parents raising a family and running a business?
Katie: The advice I have for the other parents is you just need to learn to go with the flow. Be able to adjust to unexpected situations. In the end, it will always work out.
Valerie: It can be really hard but also very rewarding. My best advice is to keep the kids involved in some way.