McDonald Garden Center leaving Western Branch

Published 10:27 pm Saturday, May 20, 2017

A popular shop for Western Branch gardeners will close its doors after more than 20 years of business this summer.

McDonald Garden Center will close its Chesapeake location and its retail sales at the flagship Hampton location at the end of July. The closing marks the end of 25 years of business for the Chesapeake garden center.

“They’ve been here for a while and they have quality products, so I’m definitely going to miss them here,” said Portsmouth resident Gwendolyn Clark.

Email newsletter signup

The Virginia Beach location will remain open, and the company’s landscaping services and distribution for its garden markets will continue at the Hampton location.

“It was a long, hard decision to close up,” McDonald Garden Center president Mark Anderson said. “We’ve been mulling over it for many years.”

The company opened its Chesapeake store in 1992, about three years after the grand opening of nearby Chesapeake Square Mall. Growth in the area was stymied by economic recession, and the location was put up for sale about four or five years ago, Anderson said.

A poor real estate market and improving retail sales kept the company in business, but in the end, the sales weren’t profitable enough.

“We came to the conclusion that we couldn’t operate that store,” Anderson said. “It wasn’t in our best interests to keep operating at that location.’’

Customers have enjoyed their herbs, shrubs, succulents, marigolds and petunias over the years, along with their other gardening supplies at the Chesapeake location.

“If you can think of something you need horticulturally, then this is the place to find it,” said Portsmouth resident Joan Garrett, who has been a customer at the Chesapeake store since it first opened.

The company will continue to operate 10 to 15 seasonal garden markets throughout Hampton Roads. These satellites are open from early March to mid-July seven days a week, selling plants, pottery, soil and patio supplies.

The Bennett’s Creek market is expected to remain open, according to Anderson.

“It’s our intention to come back each year,” he said.

Contractor Sifen Companies held a meeting for homeowners local to the Chesapeake store Wednesday to discuss a rezoning proposal that will allow a Mini Price Storage facility to fill the vacancy. Another meeting will be held for other Western Branch residents in the future, according to the letter sent to homeowners.

The end of the Chesapeake store follows the closing of Suffolk’s Smithfield Gardens in April 2016 and Chesapeake’s Timberlake Nursery and Greenhouses in October. Garrett expressed concern over the dwindling garden store options in the area.

“This is not good for this area,” she said.