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A Big Thank You

Last Thursday I wrote the email I had been dreading writing for almost 5 years: that we will be closing our garden center for good this coming June. We were really not sure what the response would be. While we knew people would be upset, the outpourings of good wishes and tears have been overwhelming.

I always knew that Behnke Nurseries was a special place, but was that because I grew up on the nursery? That my grandparents loved everything about their business? That my mother, Sonja Behnke Festerling worked here my entire life until her retirement as president many years ago? Or because my uncle, Roland Behnke, after he retired from the Air Force, also jumped back into the family business till he retired? What is it about our company? All week, I have been thinking of this until it came to me that I’ve always known the answer: it’s the people.  It’s our loyal, wonderful employees who have become like family. It’s YOU, our customers, who have become friends we have known for many years.  We have watched your children grow up and cried with you when your parents or grandparents passed away. We have looked at your photographs of that tree you planted 20 years ago or the one you just planted. It’s the people.

I am truly humbled by the response this last week. I thank all of you for your memories and I am so happy you are coming out to see us while creating new memories. I also want to thank our staff, without whom there would be no Behnke’s. A company is only as good as their employees, and if you stopped in this week, I know you saw that firsthand–how they took care of you and others with calmness and class even with as busy as we were. You, our friends, have come in and thanked us for all the years you shopped with us, but it is also the Behnke family that thanks you and our employees from the bottom of our hearts.

I do want to remind everyone about something very important. We are NOT CLOSING TILL JUNE!!! Our plan is to have a normal Spring with all the annuals, perennials, houseplants and woody plants you might ever want. We will be restocking every day. Our buyers are placing orders and our suppliers are excited to get us their best plants as fast as they can!

I was asked: “Why hold the closing sale now? Why not wait till June?” The answer is very simple: we wanted to give you enough time to come in and shop when you actually want the plants in Spring! Not in the Summer. We decided to have the entire store on sale during our busiest months of April and May for you! Plus, we wanted to give you time to look around your home, rummage through that sock drawer and find those missing gift cards.  We are really hoping that with two plus months, everyone has enough time to find those missing gift cards and redeem them while we have the plants and supplies that you really want.

by Stephanie Fleming, Behnke’s Vice President

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. It’s a very pity that you plan to close the store. You was my favorite plants supplier during 20 years.

    1. Thank you for your loyalty over the years. We are going to keep our web site and blog going so we can share about all the other wonderful garden centers in the area and what they are doing. Plus, all of our gardening articles will be here.

  2. So sad that you are closing. I recently got into plants and stopped by your store today. You had all the plants I’ve been researching and wanting and sooo much more! This place is HUGE and so well kept! Everyone is extremely helpful and knowledgeable on the plants.
    I understand that all good things must come to an end but I wish that I was able to find this nursery and realize my love for plants sooner! I will be telling everyone to come to this nursery until your closing in June. And I will be back to pick up some more plants! I pray the best for your future! Thank you!

  3. I am glad you have found a love for gardening. We are going to keep this blog and website going and give information to everyone about other great garden centers around the area.

  4. I just heard about your closing when I recently came to visit my parents. Although I now live in Florida, I was a long time customer from way back in the early 1970s. I always loved shopping with you and had many years of happy gardening with every kind of plant I purchased there. I am truly saddened to see this iconic business close down. I wish you all the best for the future but am sorry for all future gardeners who won’t have Behnkes Nursery to guide them.

  5. I worked at Behnkes for about 7 years until I had an accident that left me bedridden, but I loved the nursery like no other job I ever had. It was a pleasure to go to work everyday, and now I’m afraid I’m heartbroken to see it go. I cried for days after hearing this news. I’ll never be able to forget about your business, more a best friend, than business, spending most of my paycheck there! You Will Be Missed. Mary Myers

  6. So sorry to here if the store closing. It has always been like a sanctuary to me. I spent a lot of time there when my uncle the late Joseph Ennis worked the in the rose garden. Behnkes’ Nursery will love on in our hearts. Good luck on your future endeavors.

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