Brown's Farm Market & Garden Center in Emigsville will not reopen in the spring due to the poor tree and shrubbery sales, said Dave Brown, general manager and co-owner of Brown's Orchards.
The poor economy and housing market led to fewer landscaping projects and shrubbery sales for the store, at 3100 N. George St.
"We knew a larger part of this store was going to be green goods and we needed that to do reasonably well," Brown said. "But the slumping home sales and less-disposable income for home beautification projects resulted in low sales of those green goods and we needed that to hold its own so we could expand our customer base (in northern York County)."
The location - known as "Browns North" - opened in spring 2009 as the orchard's "venture into the garden center business," according to the company's website. The store not only sold trees and shrubbery, but also produce and baked goods and had a deli and coffee bar.
Brown's North was an expansion of the original Brown's Orchards & Farm Market at 8892 Susquehanna Trail in Springfield Township, which opened in 1986.
The company decided to close the north location from Jan. 1 to March of this year, the typical farmer's market off-season, but over the break decided it would not reopen, Brown said.
The decision was hard for the family-run business.
"We are really sad to have to close a business we had high hopes for, we loved the property and wish we had a little bit more time to grow our customer base," Brown said.
The company hopes to be out of the north location in the end of February, Brown said.
Brown's Garden Center is not the only landscaping company to fall on hard times this off-season.
In October, John Shelley's Garden Center & Nursery in North Hopewell Township closed its doors due to the poor economy. John Shelley, owner of the greenhouse, which operated for 21 years, explained the decision, saying people aren't spending money on landscaping jobs.
"People are afraid they're not going to have a job next year, so they're putting money aside or just sitting on things," he said in October. "We tried to deal with smaller jobs, but there are even fewer of those."
Will you miss the northern York County Brown's location?
- "It would've been better if they would've had more. Maybe not as (much) as the Loganville location, but just more than they had." - Wendy Myers Dugan
- "It was so nice having them on that side in Emigsville. They will be missed." - Debby Mayhew-Johnson
- "It's a shame to see any farm market closing down. We need more locally grown and crafted food, clothing and housewares." - Scotty Allen
- "(I'm going to) miss the chicken salad, sugar cookies, the friendly people, flowers and many other things." - Wendi Gotwalt
"My family were loyal patrons to Brown's North! We especially looked forward to Fall Festival ... We live in the Emigsville area and it was so easy just to swing by and stop in." - Rebecca Kinley Myers
Here's a copy of the letter sent out this morning:
Earlier this week, we announced to our employees that Brown's Farm Market & Garden Center in Emigsville or Brown's North, as we call it, will not re-open this Spring as we previously had hoped.
As a new venture in the garden center business, we needed our tree and plant sales to hold their own, while we built our business of selling our fresh fruit, bakery and deli products in the northern York County market.
The poor economy (specifically the down housing market) was particularly very tough on our tree and shrub sales which declined yearly. Poor home sales and fewer landscaping projects in the area resulted in low sales of our plant material. Our store did not have a chance to build up enough customer traffic for Brown's products in order to cover our operating costs.
We are very sad to make the decision to close our store as we very much enjoyed serving our northern York County friends. It was also heart-breaking for us to share the news with our employees who had put so much of their hard work, heart and spirit into this project. Our dedicated and passionate team led by Store Manager, Peggy Flickinger, graciously served morning bus drivers as well as a loyal lunch crowd. They catered numerous events and birthday parties and created for many a great family memory during our Fall Festivals.
We hope the economy improves soon for everyone's benefit.
We will continue to provide our trademark top-notch customer service at our south store and we look forward to many years of service to all our friends in south central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland.
Heartfelt thanks to our team, our Emigsville community and our patrons for all the wonderful times at Brown's North.
Stan & Nona Brown
Dave & Mary Brown
Also of interest
· Brown's of Loganville: 'I didn't know a peach tree from an apple tree, but we learned quickly.'