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A HISTORY OF MILLER DIVERSIFIED

A century ago, five brothers decided to form a business. For 100 years, we have overcome challenge after challenge. We've weathered depressions, recessions, wars, and unrest. Our family business has found a way to thrive across the span of decades. We wanted to tell the stories of the amazing people who made this anniversary possible, from our humble beginnings to the company you see today.

1920

Henry Miller and his five sons Henry, Louie, Charlie, Frank, and Herman, had been operating a greenhouse for about a decade. Miller Farm & Greenhouse, the company that would eventually be renamed Miller Diversified, was incorporated in April of 1920.

The Miller brothers are pictured here with a delivery truck full of cucumbers. Herman Miller, who would eventually be the manager of the greenhouse, sits on the far right.
1920s & 1930s

During this era, the company managed to survive the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world. Many of the brothers retired during this time, leaving the company in the charge of the youngest of the brothers, Herman.

Herman Miller (center) is pictured here with a team of Polish immigrants, employed to help with the harvest in the summer and fall months.
1943

Herman became gravely ill and was unable to continue managing the greenhouse. His son Norman Miller was graduating high school around this time and Norm began managing the company’s affairs in his father’s stead alongside his cousin.

As the Miller brothers got older, many retired, leaving Herman (far right) in charge of the greenhouse operations. When he was too ill to manage the greenhouse, the responsibility fell to his son, Norman.
1950s

The rising expense of maintaining the greenhouses during the long Ohio winters became a burden. Southern farms trucking vegetables north created new competition for the company, and Norm realized it was becoming time for a pivot.

This photograph shows a lettuce delivery truck in front of the the Miller homestead, which was located near the greenhouse on the corner of Dorr St. and Secor Ave. in Toledo.
1958

Norm made the courageous decision to sell the greenhouse and evolve the business to focus on real estate development. As part of his plans for growth, he founded a construction company, with the idea that he could contribute to a surge of growth in the Toledo area.

By the time Norm sold the business, Miller had built eight acres of greenhouse. In the cold winter months, they were heated by burning one train car full of coal per night. The greenhouse was situated near the train tracks, but the rising costs of operations became a great burden.
1965

With changes to skilled nursing care and assisted living on the horizon as a result of the Medicare Act, the Millers met a rising demand for nursing homes. Norm took pride in these projects, and even designed one nursing home with an attached greenhouse where seniors and preschoolers could gather and garden together.

1980s

Current President Kurt Miller and Vice President Jerry Miller joined the company during this time, working alongside their father Norm. Kurt and Jerry were proud to join the company as the third generation of Millers.

Norm Miller (center) invited his sons to become involved in the company after they graduated from college. Kurt Miller (left) joined the company in 1988 and still serves as CEO, and Jerry Miller (right) joined in 1988 and serves as Vice President.
2008

The recession forced many Toledo area businesses to close their doors. Kurt and Jerry pivoted and refocused their energy on construction and real estate brokerage, a decision that allowed them to survive the recession, and even thrive afterward.

The Briarfield building, which is now a part of the Miller Investment Fund, served as the office at the time of the financial crisis.
2017

Miller Diversified merged with Danberry Commercial, a company with its own depth of impressive history. This merger combined the strengths and resources of two well-respected local companies.

From left to right: Kurt Miller, CEO of Miller Diversified; Tim Schlacter, President of Miller Diversified Realty (formerly Miller Danberry); Jerry Miller, Vice President of Miller Diversified; and Lynn Fruth, CEO of Danberry Co. Realtors.
2020

Miller Diversified is both proud and deeply grateful to celebrate 100 years in business. It is a milestone we could never have reached without the hard work, sacrifice, and passion of those who came before us. The future is bright, and we look forward to what the next century will bring.

Today, Miller Diversified is happy to celebrate 100 years, and is looking forward to the next 100.