Martin Heydt

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Martin Heydt is an American businessman who founded the Worm's Way Group and served as its president and C.E.O. until 2014. Heydt purchased an abandoned bait shop near Bloomington, Indiana in 1985 [1] and turned the 500-square-foot building into the first Worm’s Way indoor gardening store.

In 1989 Worm's Way was raided and had its records seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration as part of a 46 state crackdown on drugs called "Operation Green Merchant",[2] after Worm's Way advertised prominently in High Times magazine.[3][4] Heydt later pled guilty to selling marijuana growing paraphernalia and was sentenced to three years probation.[5][6] He was also fined $2000.[7]

In 2001, Heydt established the company's Employee Stock Ownership Program, allowing an initial 30% of the company's value to be purchased by its employees.[8] The company will eventually be 100% employee-owned.[9]

As of 2011, the Worm's Way Group has grown to encompass a total of six Worm's Way stores nationwide, a catalog and internet-based mail order department, the Sunleaves line of indoor gardening products, and a large wholesale operation.[10]


  1. ^ Brewing, botanical business blossoms, St. Petersburg Times, April 24, 1993, Brian Neill.
  2. ^ Around Indiana, Madison Courier, September 22, 1992, Page 2
  3. ^ "3 'outdoor firms' are targets in drug raids", Madison Courier, October 27, 1989, Page 1
  4. ^ 119 Seized in Drive to Halt Indoor Marijuana Growing, New York Times, October 27, 1989.
  5. ^ Marijuana-growing Items Earn Merchant Probation, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, September 22, 1992.
  6. ^ Man pleads guilty to charge of aiding marijuana growers, The Herald-Times, September 22, 1992.
  7. ^ Around Indiana, Madison Courier, September 22, 1992, Page 2
  8. ^ Harris, Bryan (31 May 2001). "Employees purchase Worm's Way". Indiana Daily Student (Bloomington, Indiana). 
  9. ^ Vincent, Pam (August 2004). "ESOP Fables: Employee Stock Ownership Programs Fostering Pride in Ownership". Business Network (Bloomington, Indiana). 
  10. ^ Schuman, Tom (May–June 2007). "Gardening With an Environmental Twist" (PDF). BizVoice Magazine (Indiana).