POCATELLO — The owner of a local landscaping business plans to reopen the shuttered Town & Country Gardens greenhouse next spring, operating it under a different name that should, nonetheless, be familiar to longtime residents.
John Nelson, who has run Mountain Top Lawn Care for the past decade, plans to re-open the greenhouse, located at 1300 E. Oak Street, next March. He’ll be doing business as The Pocatello Greenhouse, which is the facility’s historic name, dating back to when the Chase family started it in 1910.
Nelson said he was pleased when the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office confirmed the original name was available for him to use.
“It says it’s ‘the’ Pocatello greenhouse, not ‘a’ greenhouse in Pocatello,” Nelson said.
Nelson anticipates the synergy of owning two related businesses will benefit both his greenhouse and landscaping customers. He’ll have landscaping staff available to help greenhouse customers landscape their properties with the flowers, trees, shrubs and materials they buy.
He added, “It cuts out my suppliers and it gives us a place to base our landscaping efforts.”
His landscaping business had been based out of his Chubbuck home. He ran into some challenges with city officials however, who worried he had too many trailers parked in the residential area. His solution was to have his various staff members each take home a trailer. He anticipates having a permanent commercial space will provide a far better long-term solution.
Nelson explained there was once a glass greenhouse on the property, but it was destroyed by hail in the 1960s. The Pocatello Greenhouse rebuilt, and in the 1990s, they upgraded again to the current greenhouse.
“It’s a steel structure with concrete floors and Nexus sheeting,” Nelson said. “That’s kind of the Cadillac of greenhouse materials. It’s the best there is.”
He said the greenhouse also has 13,000 square feet of indoor space with both a heating and cooling system, enabling him to produce some of his own plants. Nelson said few greenhouses in the region have access to both cooling and heating.
“It’s a one-stop shop and easy to sell and do quality things there,” Nelson said.
For cooling, the greenhouse utilizes fans and a “wet wall,” which is 6 feet tall and 120 feet long and recirculates cold water throughout a membrane. Nelson also likes that his business offers the most convenient location for customers in the south and central parts of town.
The Pocatello Greenhouse operated until the early 2000s, when Town & Country took it over. The building has been vacant for the past few years, since Town & Country closed.
Nelson said he’ll be too busy during the initial year to raise his own plants for the greenhouse, but he’s already placed a roughly $50,000 order for plants and materials, ensuring it’s available in time for his planned spring opening.
The property was overgrown with weeds and many of the trees and shrubs were dead when Nelson acquired it. Fortunately, he has access to his own landscaping company to get the property in order.
“There were chest-high weeds everywhere, and we’ve been doing our best to salvage the plants and shrubbery that exist,” he said, adding significant progress has already been made toward improving landscaping by the business’s entrance. “When things slow down a bit (with our landscaping business), we’ll be able to turn more of our attention to our greenhouse.”
The greenhouse was in much better shape than the outside property. He said the fans are in working order, and the water wall should function well with some minor work.
Nelson said he’s been meeting with several people with experience in the industry to build his staff.