A local nursery that has been around for over 60 years is up for sale. A few months Smith's Gardentown and Farms closed for the summer due to the continuing drought conditions.
Smith's Gardentown and Farms Owner Katherine Smith is exploring the option of selling the local nursery. She officially put the property up for sale in July for $1.3 million. Smith closed Smith's Gardentown and Farms this summer because of the dry spring and to avoid debt.
Smith said "We decided to go ahead and list the property just because we don't know what is going to happen and because we don't want to pass up an opportunity to recover our money on the real estate."
Even though the property is up for sale, Smith says she doesn't expect to get many takers because the property is best used as a nursery. It is hard for a nursery to strive in these drought conditions.
Smith said "The good news is we plan to reopen this fall to at least sell pumpkins and garden mums, things that will not be affected too much by the drought conditions."
Unfortunately if Smith's Gardentown and Farms reopens in the fall, not every employee will be rehired.
Smith said "We don't know yet. We will just have to wait and see. We will first have to see what the demand is to run the pumpkin patch. It doesn't require very many people. But if we get some rain and we will bring in more plants than we will certainly try to bring more of our staff back on."
When the nursery closed 18 people lost their jobs. Some of them have found other jobs, while others are still searching for employment.
Smith said "What would help our business is to get out of stage 3 drought restrictions. Get back to where people have confidence in watering new plants. The rains we have had this summer have definitely help keep the existing landscapes alive and we are thankful for that but I know people are not going to want to buy new plants and install them until the reservoirs have a lot more water in them."
Smith will be opening Wild Birds Unlimited in the plaza near Market Street in a few days. Four of the employees who worked at the nursery will be employed at the new store.
Smith decided to move Wild Birds Unlimited out of the nursery because it will not be affected too much by the drought.