By Gordon Woodworth, Chronicle News Editor
In its 70th year, family-owned Mead’s Nursery and Garden Center at 361 Ridge Road in Queensbury announced it will close late this year.
Eighty-nine-year-old founder Dick Mead wrote in a letter to customers, “Madeline and I started this business in 1950 and we thoroughly enjoyed our life’s work” Mrs. Mead passed away in November 2014.
Their daughter MaryAnn Pendergrass has worked at Mead’s for 39 years and has run the business since her father retired three years ago.
“We all grieve, but it’s time,” she told The Chronicle.
Ms. Pendergrass said Mead’s will be open through the full growing season, offering 15% off on all shrubs and trees, without their former one-year guarantee.
“I’m not sure when we will actually close,” she said. “It will depend on inventory and how many employees we have.”
Ryan Wolfe, Mead’s landscape designer and foreman for 19 years, has purchased the landscape and maintenance divisions. He and his wife Meg will launch Wolfe Landscape Design and Nursery on Jan. 1.
“I’m hoping about 10 Mead’s employees will come with me,” Mr. Wolfe said. “We will offer the same services as our customers have come to expect here. My wife and I are very happy to be able to accommodate Mead’s customers.”
Rob Haight, who is in his 19th year at Mead’s and manages the shrub yard and nursery, will join the Wolfes’ business.
“Working at Mead’s has been my dream job,” Mr. Haight said. “They have changed my schedule for my children, held a party for me when I got married. It feels like family. And it is family. They are one of us, and I am one of them.
“I’m sad for us and for the community, because we will leave a big hole, but I’m excited for Ryan and what’s to come. I’m confident he will hit the ground running and do well.”
Ms. Pendergrass said, “Ryan has the same idea of landscaping as my Dad has, which is our landscaping enhances the natural beauty of the Adirondack region. They are so in sync that way. Ryan is more of an artist, but they share that same vision. We are hoping it will be a smooth transition for our loyal customers.”
“This work satisfies the soul,” she said. “We’re creating beauty. It’s all about relationships. And our customers are our friends. They tend to be happy people because they are coming to us to create something beautiful on their property. That makes it a fun place to work.”
Greenhouse manager Kathy Spring, in her 43rd year at Mead’s, says, “People enjoy working here and it shows.”
Ms. Pendergrass said, “This is our third season since dad stopped working — he worked until he was 86 — and it’s only because we’ve had the managers we’ve had that we’ve been able to operate so smoothly without dad.
“The longevity of the business has everything to do with my dad. The employees have been so loyal to my mom and dad.”
Other long-term employees include Ms. Spring, who started in 1976; maintenance manager David Bullock (1987); landscape foremen Mary McGrath (1999) and Ann-Marie Farinacci (2004); and store manager Teri Tibbetts, who started in 2005 and who Ms. Pendergrass credits with updating the store and enhancing Mead’s presence on social media after taking over for long-time store manager Ed Rathbun, who worked at Mead’s for more than 50 years.
Ms. Pendergrass said the Mead family — she, her father and her four sisters Linda Mead, Sheila Brock, Carol Enzinna and Diane Hans — own the 11-acre parcel that sits between Ridge and Meadowbrook Roads near Quaker Road.
“It’s zoned commercial intensive, and we will be looking to sell the land once we clean it up,” she said.
Ms. Pendergrass said her father turns 90 in January. She says he always said he would “like to be free by 90. He feels responsible for everyone here. He’s thrilled Ryan is taking over, but it’s time.
“Dad is also grieving, but it’s time.”
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