Behnke Nurseries announced last week that it will be closing its doors in June after 89 years in business. We reached out to Stephanie Fleming, vice president of The Behnke Nurseries Company, to find out what went into the decision and what's next for the Behnke team.
1. Why close now after 89 years in business?
The family and management have been working on an exit plan for over five or six years.
2. You mention on your website that you had discussions on what to do with your "aging property." What role did the property's condition play in closing the business?
We were talking [on the website] about the structures on the property but that was just a small part. The main thing is it was time. We have staff that has been here over 30, 40 and 50 years. We have some wonderful young people also, but it just was time. Albert and Rose Behnke's children are in their late 70's and 80's.
3. What will happen to the property?
The family is working with the county to develop it.
4. What has been the reaction from the community?
Overwhelming! We have had an outpouring of love and many have taken the time to come out to see us. I am so humbled.
5. What's next for the Behnke team?
Many will be retiring. I am hoping to keep our website up and running [so] hopefully we can let folks know where some of our staff lands, plus I would like if there is interest from other IGC's to let our customers know about their garden centers.