As of Dec. 23, Garden Time Rutland will be closed.
The garden supply store has been a local business for 21 years, according to Andy Probst, Garden Time Rutland general manager.
On Nov. 5, the store posted to its Facebook page that it will close two days before Christmas and that everything in the place is on sale for 40 percent off.
Probst said Thursday the business itself isn’t closing, only the Rutland location. It’s headquarters in Queensbury, New York, and other New York locations will carry on.
He said the company is owned by the Troelstra family. It was started in Queensbury by Harry Troelstra. The Rutland location used to be a dairy farm, he said.
“The business has evolved quite a bit over the years,” Probst said. “We used to be year-round, then it was cut to be seasonal. That was probably nine years ago.”
Probst has worked at the garden center for 17 years and been its general manager for 10. He began by moving dirt and mulch to people’s vehicles.
“I loved the industry, I loved working outdoors,” he said. “I grew to love horticulture and plants themselves. I wanted to stick with this, you’re working outdoors with nice people … .”
Employees were notified of the impending closure during the third week of October, he said.
“It’s not an easy industry, and the family is getting elderly ... business wasn’t bad here. Rutland is a very hungry market for plants,” Probst said. “There were times in the season where it was hard for us to keep up with demand.”
He said Garden Time loyalty points and gift cards can still be redeemed in Queensbury.
The business employs between 15 and 18 people at its peak time in May and June. Most are part-time, Probst said. Most have been offered jobs at the other location, he said. As for himself, he’ll work there three days a week, but given the commute, he sees this as a chance to see what else he might do.
“(The owners’) main goal was to make sure the remaining people here were OK and had employment elsewhere,” he said.
Alice Reisenweaver, of Brandon, has been greenhouse manager at Garden Time Rutland for nine years, she said, having moved here from New Mexico to be closer to family.
“We’re a big family,” she said of her Garden Time colleagues. “We help each other out. It’s sad because we’ve watched some of the kids come in from high school and the good part of it is they’ve matured, been to college, they’ve graduated, got married and some of them even have kids now. So it’s been fun. We’ve shared knowledge, watched each other’s back and helped.”
She doesn’t plan to commute or move to Queensbury, she said. If she does go out for other work, it will be part time.
“Everybody is just sad, saying goodbye,” she said. “We’ve made so many friends, they’re not just customers anymore. They’ve become like family.”
Prior to the Facebook announcement the employees were telling their regulars of the pending closure, Probst said. They wanted to tell them personally.
“I had one lady come in not knowing, and when we told her she just started crying,” Reisenweaver said.
One shopper at the store Thursday was Ann Breen, of Brandon, who shops at Garden Time Rutland about seven times a year, and on top of that she attends special events held there.
“It’s sad, a sad day,” she said, adding that the employees there have been ready with advice on what fertilizer to use, which plants like which kinds of light, and other gardening-related topics. “They know their stuff.”