Pat Sullivan didn't expect to open a new branch of business at 59 years old — but this opportunity was too good to pass up. Allisonville Nursery, Garden & Home in Fishers, Indiana, was for sale. On Feb. 7, he purchased it from Jeff Gatewood for $5 million.
“Allisonville has always been one of the premier garden centers in Indy, so there's not too many that'd I'd buy,” he says. “This was a 'one of a kind' thing
Sullivan owns three Sullivan Hardware & Garden locations, and its flagship store is located in Keystone, Indiana. His plan for the newly acquired garden center is to focus on Allisonville Nursery’s current gift shop offerings and green goods supply, along with some new categories for expansion.
“What we hope to bring to it is a little more of our lifestyle store,” he says. Specifically, he wants to do more sales in gifts, garden products, artificial Christmas trees, entertainment and events. He’s firm that he doesn’t want to change the business, just expand on it. Sullivan plans on adding 12-14,000 square feet of space by summer, so come autumn and winter it will be ready to serve customers.
“We're putting in two more houses. One will be hardtop for hardgoods, whether it's gift, Christmas or just lawn and garden items. The other one will be a greenhouse. They're in desperate need of a greenhouse,” he says.
He doesn’t plan on changing the name. Instead it will be updated to “Allisonville Home & Garden by Sullivan.” Sullivan has never bought an existing business, as his strategy is to build from the ground up. Sullivan credits much of Allisonville Nursery’s success to the dedicated work ethic of its employees, all of whom are staying on board.
Scott Bardash, director of marketing and store operations at Allisonville Nursery says that everyone is thrilled about the amount of money and energy being invested into the business.
“He's coming in and bringing a lot of energy and ideas but he's not taking over. He's allowing the staff, who've been here for years and years, to do what we do best and make the changes we know we needed to make over the years. And he supports it 100%,” Bardash says.
Bardash says they’re already preparing for Christmas inventory, particularly artificial trees. The transition period is already underway, with Sullivan and Allisonville Nursery going full steam ahead. Bardash applauds the team at Allisonville Nursery and says everyone is ramping up for the new waves of inventory with enthusiasm.
“When the deal finally closed then we just kind of sprang into action. This past week we've done what we typically take about a month to do as far as processing inventory and getting it out onto the floor and merchandising it,” he says.