Local Business Officially Closes After Taking Hit From Drought

Local Business Officially Closes After Taking Hit From Drought

The drought has dried up sales at Smith's Gardentown & Farms and has put it out of business.

"Our spring sales went down to almost nothing because people were afraid they were not going to be able to water this summer even though we may not hit stage four.  We don't know if or when and we don't know what the regulations will be if we do hit stage four," said Katherine Smith, one of the owners of Smith's Gardentown & Farms.

Smith said city leaders haven't done enough to wipe away the fear Texomans have when it comes to the drought. She also said her shop could've been saved if the city would've done a better job at finding other sources of water.

"We should've started conserving when we had the lakes full two years ago during the drought. They've not done a very good job at educating people about the fact that we've been over water for years. There's many things we could've done," said Smith.

Twenty employees will be affected by the closure but customers will also feel the pinch. Owners said the shop has been one of the biggest free standing gardening centers in the country and customers will have a hard time finding locally grown bedding plants from now on.

"We're going to miss it greatly because we were always able to find things here that we couldn't find anywhere else in the Wichita Falls area. We will probably travel to the Dallas area and things like that if we can't find anything around here," said a Wichita Falls resident.

But there's still hope for Smith's Gardentown & Farms. Smith said they're not selling the land or any of the fixtures yet because they might be able to re-open in the fall. It just depends on how much rain Texoma gets this summer.

Even though the main shop is now officially closed, the owners of Smith's Gardentown & Farms have opened a store for their Wild Birds Unlimited franchise. That's now located on Fairway in Market Street Plaza.

Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6