— by Butterfly Encounters founder and owner Bobby Gendron
I have always been interested in nature. In fact my nick-name as a kid was “nature boy” as I was typically found collecting bugs. Much to my parents surprise I didn’t grow out of it. My Dad was a “city-boy” from New York and my Mom a "wild-child" of the 70’s and they did their best to support my crazy fascination by buying me The Audubon Society Field Guides. One time they got me one focused solely on butterflies and once I learned about the Monarch Butterfly I was hooked. It was the most fascinating butterfly and I wanted to attract it to my garden.
So like any young bug enthusiast with a mild case of OCD I set out to do exactly what the book said. Only I couldn’t. None of the garden centers near my house in Danville, California had milkweed. Since this is the host plant for the Monarch, it’s kind of a deal breaker if you want them to come over! So, I made my parents drive me around searching the entire bay area of nurseries. Still no luck. This was before the days where you could buy anything and everything you wanted online. I ended up contacting over a hundred mail-order nursery’s asking about milkweed and only a few had very limited quantities of only a couple species. This is essentially the birth of Butterfly Encounters. I was in 7th grade when this idea came to me and by my senior year in high school I had founded a business selling milkweed seeds so that all those crazy kids out there that wanted Monarch’s in their gardens could go for it!
Butterfly Encounters is a hobby business that I do in the evenings when my baby girl Scarlett is sleeping and on the weekends when my wife lets me go play on my Butterfly Encounters Facebook Page. For now, I work in web marketing for a high tech company in the Bay Area and hope to one day be able to play with my bugs full time. I run the business in our home office and do everything in house from the seed packaging to the website design. My wife wants me to point out the she folds lots of paper and our Standard Poodle Stoli…well he doesn’t do anything but he’s a real nice guy. Anyway, we are a family business and we love what we do. We appreciate your interest in us but most of all your interest in my life long fascination, the Monarch Butterfly.