“We’ve been in business for 22 years, we started in 1989. When we first opened, we only had a couple pallets sitting out front and very little flowers. From that time, we’ve went to a full greenhouse and probably over 100 trees and 100 shrubs available for the customers. We offer a long line of service, building retaining walls and block walls. We have fountains for sale, we have Christmas trees at Christmastime. This year, in addition to the Christmas trees, I’m going to be doing an angel room. They’ll be smaller than the big ones I’ve got here. They’re in honor of my wife and my daughter.
“The last two years have been slow. This year, we’ve only done a couple landscaping jobs. I would like to see the city give people in the landscaping business more of an opportunity to bid the jobs equally across the board. Business has been slow and we hope the economy turns around and everybody I’ve talked to says the same thing.
“For people, buying plants is a secondary compared to making their house payments, car payments, making sure their kids have clothes, money for lunches and just everyday living. Plants and flowers and trees are just a secondary or even third thing they think of. A lot of people would like it, but it’s just not affordable right now. They’ve got other things they’ve got to consider.
“I really think that the mining issue that they’re talking about as far as going to natural gas is hurting a lot because people are holding onto their money. They just don’t know what’s going to happen to the mining community. And without these mining jobs, there will be no businesses in Craig. That’s just the way it is.
“My son, Allen, worked for the previous owners of this business and he called me one day, and he said, ‘Dad, I’d like to invite you and Mom out to dinner,’ and I thought, ‘Now, this is strange.’ And he said that he had an opportunity to buy the nursery and he wanted me to go in with him and we decided to buy it together as a partnership.
“I like dealing with the people here. I like people, I like being able to enjoy them and talk with them and joke with them, and that’s the best part of it. I like everything about this business, making sure the trees are healthy and the shrubs are healthy. I have a lot of people who come in with questions for me, even in the winter, talking about their houseplants. And, I enjoy helping them out. It’s a different atmosphere than selling a car or selling a house. Most people who come in like plants and they want to deal with them and watch them grow.
“I hunt and I fish in my spare time, and I take care of my horses. I’ve got a trip planned to go to pheasant hunting in South Dakota. I love nature. I just like being out among the wildlife and just being out with nature itself. You get up and see those mountains and it’s just beautiful, especially this time of year. Fall is a beautiful time. I love fall. Things are cooling down, leaves are changing, it’s just a nice time of year.”
—Interview and photo by Andy Bockelman