102-year old NJ business closes to make way for housing development
The sadness was palpable on the Facebook page of the Williams Nursery and Gift House, a beloved Westfield business that opened in 1920, originally encompassed 13 acres of land, and served thousands of customers over the 102 years it has been in business.
The Garden Center on Springfield Avenue announced that its last day will be July 3.
Customers, some shocked at the news, flocked to the page to comment on the closing. Just about everyone had a story to tell. Some remembered shopping there as babies with their parents or buying plants and flowers there for their first homes decades ago, while others expressed concern about preserving land, in particular an open space parcel adjacent to the Garden Center.
But for many, the closing did not come as a surprise as the plans for a 162-unit housing development to be built at the site were announced in February. Plans include 32 units for people with low and moderate incomes. The site had been zoned for multifamily housing following a 1991 Superior Court judgment requiring it be designated for the inclusion of affordable units
The nursery said that its last several years have been both the most difficult and the most satisfying.
Weathering the storm that the pandemic brought was especially challenging for Williams, but weather it they did, according to their Facebook page, with the business pivoting to offer curbside delivery and catering to the many people who turned to gardening and growing as a new pandemic hobby or simply to lift their spirits during that challenging period.
To catch the last glimpse of the magic that was Williams Nursery, you can still pay a visit. Shipments are still arriving and they’re offering all merchandise at a 20% discount.
It’s never easy to say goodbye to a century-old business. But the family who runs it is onto the next chapter in their lives.
“Closing a business that is 102 years old is a difficult thing,” the Williams and Jackson families who own it said in a Facebook post. “Looking back, we have so much gratitude for the seasons that we’ve been able to share with you. There have been countless wonderful customers that have passed through our doors.”
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.
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