Earlier this year, Kim Hren, Linda Silich, and Andy Silich, Linda's husband, moved their design landscape firm to the former Jos. A. Hren Nursery at 530 Montauk Highway that was in Hren's family for 70 years. They expanded their business to include a garden center, where they are selling Christmas trees, wreaths, and Poinsettias for the first holiday season in their new home. The new gift shop is jam packed with items, from Christmas ornaments to candles, and picture frames to gardening tools, so you are sure to find a gift for everyone on your list.
It's not the type of shop you will get in and out of quickly with so much to see. A miniature Snow Village is showcased, compliments of East Hampton native Susie Warner and Peter Carman, of Sag Harbor.
Outdoors, this weekend only during selected hours, will be a live nativity. We hear a miniature donkey is among the animals participating. Santa will be on hand, and elves will help make wreaths.
The open house will be held on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The first 100 visitors receive a free Poinsettia. Gingerbread cookies and eggnog will be served.
“This has always been my favorite time of year growing up from the moment the Christmas trees were delivered to the annual Open House where my Mom made the gingerbread cookies," Hren said.Ever since GROUNDWORKS @ HRENS launched the new Outdoor Living & Garden Center in late March, the owners have continued to host community events since. Over Memorial Day weekend there was music from Mamalee & Friends and Linda Silich — who is a Lululemon Ambassador — offered yoga by the pond throughout the summer, and there were also movies screened there, too.
This fall, there was Trail of Terror, a reincarnation of an annual event that used to be hosted at the old Hren’s Nursery.
"While the task of getting everything set up for this event was quite daunting in early September, we had so many people ask us if we were going to bring back this traditional event, that we knew we had to make it happen," Andy Silich said. "Thanks to our unbelievable staff, many of whom worked late into the nights and on weekends, and to the many friends and family who volunteered their time to the event, we were able to put it all together and it was a smashing success." More than 650 stopped by, he said.
The owners have strong ties to the community. “Kim and I were both born and raised in East Hampton, and remember what it was like when all of the stores on Main Street were owned by local merchants and not national chains. Being a local merchant comes with an added responsibility – if you want the community to support your business you also have to give something back," Silich said.
Business has been steady and continues to grow in all seasons.
"During the spring, we sold a lot of plant material, hard goods and tools, but also with the premier of our gift shop and outdoor furniture gaining popularity, we managed to sell out of those bright colored benches and Adirondack chairs almost every weekend," Hren said.
Linda Silich said pottery, hammocks and a few outdoor kitchens were big sellers as the summer approached. "Some people are just starting to realize that we’re more than a typical “garden center," she said. "Our staff is an amazing group of people to work with—informative, friendly, and enthusiastic—and those descriptions come from our clients."
GROUNDWORKS @ HRENS will close during January and February to prepare for spring.