Jan 18, 2008
Slow Winter Season Aggravated by DroughtSource: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WCNC

Although winter is traditionally a slow season for garden centers, for those battling the continuing drought in the Southeast, these past few months have been brutal for business.

In northern Georgia, which has been under a state-ordered outdoor watering ban since the fall, Habersham Gardens has become the latest casualty. The Atlanta garden center announced that they would be closing shop until March and had laid off nearly 40 percent of the company’s 85 employees because of “slow sales brought on by Georgia’s historic drought,” reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“We’ve been hit really hard,” co-owner Jerry Bell told the AJC. “We’d hoped it wouldn’t get this severe.”

The garden center is well known in the area as a treasure trove of hard-to-find varieties and a sanctuary for local artists and residents.

While the company has no plans to file for bankruptcy, according to the AJC, customers can expect a downsized inventory when the center reopens in early March. But the 11-year-old garden center is not giving up. Come spring, “we’ll take a cautious approach until we know what the watering restrictions are going to be,” Bell states in the article.

In Huntersville, N.C., about 200 employees of landscaping, lawn care and nursery companies are expected to join forces and attend a meeting to push for fair treatment of their industry in regards to water restrictions, which many industry members feel have unfairly targeted the horticulture sector, reports WCNC, an NBC affiliate in Charlotte, N.C.

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