Local landscape designers are returning to their roots.
Kim Hren, Linda Silich, and Andy Silich, Linda's husband, haved moved their design landscape firm to a nursery that has been in Hren's family for 70 years.
They are also expanding their current business to include a garden center at the newly named Groundworks Landscaping @ Hrens at 530 Montauk Hwy., on the western border of Amagansett. While they are growing their already established firm, they are also preserving a part of the town's history.
"It's been really hard for me driving by, seeing it sitting here, not as pretty a it was when my father had it," Hren said. She practically grew up at the nursery. "This is where I got off the school bus. It's in my blood."
Her grandfather opened his business in 1939. The original building is still there, under the sign, "Jos. A. Hren Nurseries." Her parents Joe and Charlene Hren took it over around 1960, she said. The nursery closed about a year and a half ago, although they have continued to do some small business there.
The property, which has been up for sale, is also before the East Hampton Town Planning Board for a subdivision. Hren said plans for residential houses behind the garden center are still moving forward (access for the houses, if approved, would be off Eileen's Path).
The garden center will remain, with Hren and the Siliches bringing the property new life. "I walk around here and remember what it was," Hren said, recalling the haunted Halloween rides and Christmas open houses her family organized for the community. "We hope to bring some of that back and also add to it with our own traditions," she said.
Groundworks Landscaping Inc. was established 11 years ago. They worked out of an office on Toilsome Lane in East Hampton Village, and their plantings, which they are in the process of moving, are located in Sagaponack. "We started out in my basement, in a small little room — to move to Montauk Highway is pretty intense," Linda Silich said.
They always wished they could buy the property. This fall "the opportunity just kind of arose," she said. They are excited about the undertaking. Retail was not a component of their business in the past.
They have plans for a "new garden center and outdoor living center," which will offer a variety of items, from outdoor furniture, fire pits, outdoor kitchens — alternatives to their custom-designs — to supplies for the trade and do-it-yourselfers.
While Groundworks' offices have moved to the property, they aren't open to the public, yet. They are focused right now on repainting and rejuvenating the property. They are hoping to open by the spring. "In our business, spring is huge."
Are you happy to see Groundworks Landscaping @ Hrens set up at the former Jos. A. Hren Nurseries? Tell us in the comments below.