ELSMERE — Price-Greenleaf, Inc., the family-owned gardening and landscaping business has closed after operating for 61 years.
Located at 14 Booth Road,the business offered an assortment of indoor and outdoor flowers, trees, shrubs, plants, and gardening supplies.
Founded in 1957, it was most recently run by owners and brothers James “Jim” Plummer and Dean Plummer for just over three decades.
The former Plummer, the elder of the two, said that its last official day of business was Saturday, Dec. 15. “We’ve had a great run for a long time,” he said. “Dean and I really want to go out with no regrets and we are going to miss our customers. There’s no animosity between Dean and I. It’s truly all positive, nothing really negative.”
When asked how he felt that the business was able to remain open for over six decades, Jim said that it’s “persistence and hard work. Dean and I are the third generation because there was my grandfather and my father, for example.”
Their late father, David “Red” Plummer —who passed away at 88 this past January— had previously owned the business with his own father, Ed and his brother, George.
He also said he believed that Price-Greenleaf had long been an important part of town and for residents. “We couldn’t have survived for 61 years if it weren’t for our customers frankly, not just from Delmar but also from Albany and other surrounding towns. At one point in time, we were the only kind of business in town and we got a reputation over time and people came.”
Jim, however, listed a few reasons why Price-Greenleaf was closing.
First, he said that business had declined since the late 2000s recession where people did not generally want to spend money on trees, shrubs and landscaping.
Second, he said that young adults are taking longer than usual to buy their own houses, “The delay for purchasing homes for young people really hurt us because you need that turnover of housing to come in to us and do landscaping on their property. Our business has not produced as much as it can.”
Third, he said that the deer population — that is spread across Delmar, Slingerlands and Glenmont but not as much in Albany — is known for eating shrubs.
“Imagine you redo landscaping for $5,000 but a deer eats it off. It’s true, it happens. So here in Price-Greenleaf, we really emphasized the types of shrubs that deer do not like. The inventory has narrowed and narrowed because of that.”
Lastly, he explained that “it was just time to move on.”
Saying that while Dean does not have children, Jim has children who are in their early 30s now who have their own families and are content with their own careers. “They’re not interested in this [industry]. But myself and my brother, Dean, and another brother, Dan, and my sister, Julie, grew up working in this business with our dad and granddad. It’d been a family business for a long, long time.”
When asked about any fond memories he had while working at Price-Greenleaf, Jim noted that many former employees, who’d worked there when they were around 15 to 20 years old, would come back and check in to see how the business was doing, some of whom are in their 50s and 60s now. “Local students from local areas would be hired, who were at least 15 or 16 years old and in high school, and we’d try to hire them in that age range, and try to hold onto them through their times in high school and college,” he recalled. “We did employ a lot of kids. What’s really satisfying is when they come back later in life and be future customers and say hello.”
Looking ahead, Jim said that while Dean is “unsure what he wants to do,” Jim has started a tax business that has led to financial planning, which is the Delmar-based Plummer Financial Services. He added that some of his former Price-Greenleaf customers have become customers at his new business.
“It’s kind of bittersweet but I’m really excited for what’s ahead of us,” he said. “Dean is too.”
When asked if he has one message for Price-Greenleaf’s past customers and the town’s residents overall, Jim concluded, “Thank you. I would tell them to please continue supporting local businesses because it’s not easy to run them. Local businesses are very important.”