My experience with Optimara, Inc.
For anyone who might not be aware, Optimara is a huge grower of African Violets and a few other decorative plants like Begonias. They sell on-line directly, and many African Violet dealers also sell their plants. Optimara is also one of the biggest suppliers of African Violets to the big box and chain stores in the USA, with Lowe’s being the prime example. They are a family run business since 1904 and are located near Nashville, Tennessee.
I have several violets that I received in a swap in November 2010 from a woman who had run an Optimara coop that summer. These were some leftovers where the tags had been lost and were not in bloom so she had no idea what variety they were. They were, however, definitely Optimara named varieties, and 2010 active varieties.
Last week I found the site MyViolet.com which is also run by Optimara, in addition to their own Optimara.com. It has forums and photos, and a place to log in your own Optimara Violet photos. They also offer to help identify your Optimara Violet if you send them photos. So, I figured, why not? I sent two emails and a contact message through the site and all were returned as “permanently failed.”
Now I don’t usually do this, but I decided to contact Optimara directly and find out what the story was. Thursday, I sent a message via Optimara.com at 7:23 pm, and at 9:20 pm I had an answer back – from Reinhold Holtkamp, the owner of the company, directly.
His answer was:
“Thank you for the update, they are working on fixing the problem. We had a fall out with the original company not delivering the services and the new company is fixing the problems over the past couple of weeks. Stay tuned regarding myviolet.com. As to being able to assist you have come to the right place. How may I help you”
So I sent a reply and the next morning I woke to a message sent at 2:58 am from Michael Coleman from Optimara Web Services who suggested I post my pictures to their Facebook page, which is their own business page. I did that and within 24 hours I had confirmation of identity of the three violets from the coop I have had bloom so far, with explanations of why they are that variety (per description).
Needless to say, I am an Optimara fan right now! With IDs for Texas, Chico and Rhapsodie Monique. :)
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