Farming is in the Bunch family’s blood.
And even though the location and what’s sold has changed, third generation operated Shan-Gri-La Sod Farm continues the same tried and true business vision, honoring the Bunch family’s legacy of hard work and quality products.
Keep your word. Honor your commitments. Get the job done on time, and do it right.
Owned and operated by Chip Bunch, Shan-Gri-La Sod Farm in Plumstead Township, grew out of his grandfather’s chicken farm, founded in 1939.
“My grandfather Dewey Bunch Sr. owned a poultry and egg farm in Willow Grove, and he sold eggs there,” Chip Bunch said.
In 1967 Chip’s mom and dad, Dewey Jr. and Vera Bunch, purchased the property in Plumstead and began farming there, while Chip grew up and worked alongside the ebb and flow of farming seasons, equipment and rural agricultural lifestyle.
He was steeped in the family business.
In 1990, Chip struck out on his own and started a landscape construction company, serving the same area in Bucks and Montgomery counties.
In 2002 Chip and his wife Beth bought the business from his parents, and his father’s philosophy still informs the choices he makes.
“(My dad) taught me that good or bad, you have to take responsibility for your decisions,” Bunch said. He said Dewey Jr. stayed on until 2006 to ensure a smooth transition for the business. The season typically runs April through November, but mild winters can mean less downtime.
“In the early 2000s we had a very mild winter, and I think we only had 3 weeks off,” Bunch explained.
In farming operations down time is essential to rest from the arduous physical labor, take care of office duties and refurbish equipment for the next season.
Other hallmarks of Dewey Jr.’s business beliefs include keeping your word, “a handshake is a contract” and in keeping with that old family business manner, you (and your word) are your bond, Bunch said.
“We have an old-school mentality to (doing) business with new school operations” and techniques and technologies, Bunch said.
Catherine Getchell of Bedminster Township used Shan-Gri-La for work at her property, including an EP Henry installation and sod areas near her barn.
“Chip personally oversaw the two sod installation jobs,” Getchell said. She said watering the new sod was a problem. “Chip’s crew came …with a water truck,” Getchell said, to ensure the sod’s growth and vigor.
Mike Harte knows sod.
President of Plumstead Baseball Association, Harte said Bunch and Shan-Gri-La was an important player in revamping the club’s ball fields, and in their ongoing maintenance.
“We now have some of the best fields in Bucks County. We have beautiful fields. People drive up here and I get calls (about them). We hear it from our visiting teams,” Harte said of the natural turf, installed and maintained by Bunch and his crew.
Serving about 600 resident youth aged 5-18; about 60,000 players use the fields throughout the season.
The fields “are a great motivator for the kids. They want to come and play,” Harte said.
Two predominant sod products are grown at Shan-Gri-La: Tall Fescue Blend and Kentucky Blue Grass Blend. The company also sells grass seed and fertilizer, and a variety of lawn maintenance treatment products, which are also available to the public.
“Chip does it right,” Harte said.
Shan-Gri-La Sod Farm is located at 6176 Haring Rd., Plumsteadville. The sod farm and company provides services to residential, commercial, municipal, educational and non-profit organizations. Visit www.shangrilafarm.com.
Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce
An economic development agency for Upper Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
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