I haven’t been posting much on the blog as of late. I have been preoccupied with life and life’s changes. I’ve mulled over the contents of this post for several weeks now trying to decide which aspects to cover and which to leave out. The short of it is this, the nursery where I have worked for the past 6 years is closing. The owner has decided to sell the business to a local competitor eager to have this location. And like with so many of life’s curve balls, my feelings are mixed.
The past year and a half has been difficult at work. Due to several factors including the slowing economy, financial success became difficult. First there were staff cuts and our workload increased. Then we lost several benefits. We adapted and moved on, but then came the budgetary constraints. We tried to make do with what we could get. We did our best to change things up and try to adapt to changes in our consumer’s spending, but it wasn’t enough. The business languished and we knew the end was in sight.
The business model with the new owners will be pretty much the same. We will still be a combination garden center and hardware store. (My two favorite places to shop) But there will be changes. Some remodeling inside and out. Expansion of some departments at the expense of other. The reintroduction of lumber. When we come back in two months to start our jobs, it will be new and shiny. Opening a new store is a very exciting time, and yet there is sadness.
As we go through the process of liquidating our stock, I am painfully aware just how much I have put into the business over the years. Much like one’s own yard, little improvements over time add up to big changes. There are the demonstrations beds I planted that will be removed to make way for the new parking lot. The display tables that I decided to repaint because I thought the plants looked better against gray than reddish-brown that will be torn out to make way for registers.
For years I have watched the seasons change with each wave of new plants. The bare root in January followed by the flowering magnolias. The seed buying frenzy followed by
truckloads of veggie starts. The shear volume of pastel colors in April followed by equal numbers of loud, bright colors in May and June. There were also the seasonal problems. Aphid time in April. Powdery mildew problems during the weather we describe as June Gloom. The burning of the leaves of the Japanese maples once the hot winds hit in July. It seems only fitting that we are liquidating our stock just as the gardening season comes to a close.
The process of liquidation is in itself an interesting animal. You would think that great deals on plants would make people happy and bring out the best in them. Such is not the case. Great deals only seem to make people greedy. If you can take 50% off, why not 75%? How about $10 instead of $40. There is a reason I never have garage sales and this is it. It has always been my belief that it is OK to ask for a better price, but one should accept “no” for an answer if given.
But probably the worst aspect about closing the business is the sadness expressed by our regular customers. Many have come here for years. They have their favorite staff members whom they’ve relied on for help with projects and problems. We were the store that was close by with a staff that was friendly. They thought we would always be here. Although they too are excited for the new changes, the sadness is there and we all feel it. We go home tired each day, drained from emotions that are frustrating and conflicted.
I could end this by imploring you to support your local independent nursery lest it fall into the same fate. But the fact is, it’s just change and change is a natural part of life. Where there is success, there is defeat. Where there is growth, there is also demise. But this you already know for you are a gardener. And who better to understand that everything has a season?