It's springtime and flowers at Smith's Gardentown Farms are in full bloom, despite severe drought conditions. However, Katherine Smith says, they are closing their doors. "We're hoping it's not going to be closing for good. We're hoping that we get some good rains, where we can open this fall. Summertime is always a very slow season for us anyway. And with the drought going on for three years now sales have been down for a long time," said, Katherine.
The family owned store started by Katherine's grandfather, has been in business for almost 65 years. "My brothers and I have been running it now for a good long time, and we're really a part of this community. And it's very, very hard," said Katherine, and the community feels the same. Residents in the Falls are also sad to see them go. "I really hate that, I think it's unfortunate. I've used their business for years and I pray that we get rain to help out because this drought's affecting all of us," said one man. "My teacher was upset because they like that and they've been open for so many years," said a bright-eyed little girl.
Lake levels have improved with the storms and showers from the last few weeks. However, drought restrictions remain in stage three. "It is terrible. I mean the drought is really hurting the economy right now and it hurts the environment all the way, said one man."
Despite some rumors Smith's doesn't plan to stay closed, if they can help it and if mother nature helps them. "Everybody stick with us. We hope we can be back soon. And we're not putting the real estate on the market. We're just hunkering down and hoping for rain soon," said Katherine.
The most recent lake levels released, show Lake Arrowhead and Lake Kickapoo have a combined total of 39.8 percent.