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Greenhouse Roof Falls Under Weight of Heavy Snow

“Winter happens,” was Mike Barthel’s response to the collapse of a greenhouse under the weight of snow at his Brainerd business, Erickson’s Greenhouse, on New Year’s Eve. With more snow falling Monday after several inches just days earlier, Barthel said the greenhouse just couldn’t handle it. “I got (the greenhouses) designed so you pull the plastic back on the edges where they come together, so when the snow falls off, it falls down into the house so it has a place to go,” Barthel said looking at the collapsed structure Wednesday, Jan. 2. “But it just came so fast and so much that it just couldn’t swallow it fast enough.” Assistant Manager Lindsey Lemke discovered the unfortunate sight Monday afternoon. At least $10,000 worth of structural damage plagues the business, owned by Barthel and his daughter, Amanda Stone. But luckily, the only plants inside when the incident happened were leftover Christmas trees. “It wasn’t our main one, thankfully,” Stone said from the roof of another greenhouse Wednesday, as she cleared off snow to prevent a second collapse. And insurance money likely will not cover the damages. Stone said insurance companies often don’t cover the plastic hoop greenhouse structure Erickson’s uses. But the owners are glad the damage wasn’t more severe and hope they can get the greenhouse back in working order in a couple months. “Our deadline would be the first of March, (when) we’ve got to be planting in there,” Stone said. The collapsed greenhouse is used as a staging area, where products are planted and then moved to other houses. “We might be shifting that this year,” Barthel said. “We’ll see how it goes.” He noted this is the only collapse he has experienced since buying Erickson’s Greenhouse in 2002 and can’t think of any other similar incident in the business’ 135-year history.