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TerraSalis to sprout 'pop-up' store

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - TerraSalis Garden Center in Malden closed its retail operation in 2010 because that part of its business just didn't make sense on paper.

It was creating a red line in a black business, said Bill Mills, its manager.

"We found it prohibitively expensive to run a retail operation," Mills said.

So the company, which had operated from its Malden location since 1985 with an expansive show garden and a large house filled with garden furniture and accessories, shuttered the doors to daily retail customers.

As expected, the garden design, landscaping and maintenance business grew once TerraSalis refocused its efforts there.

But something was missing.

"We missed our customers and they missed us," Mills said. "We felt bad that we had stopped working on our display garden. Our property probably should look as good as our customers'."

Enter TerraSalis Garden Center, version 2013.

The display gardens are coming back to life, with hard work by employees.

And starting Saturday and continuing on Saturdays only into June, TerraSalis will operate as a "pop-up," open just 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"For once a week, we can do this, in a specialized way," Mills said.

"It's much more minimal," he added. "We're using about a third of our retail space. We're not going to have as much stuff. One Saturday, we may have a crop of 'X,' and when it's gone, there will be something else."

Customers will see some familiar faces, such as Alison Verey, who tended plants at the retail spot. Mills hopes they'll meet people they might not know, too, and make connections that will continue to feed the landscaping and design part of the business.

"I realized lots of people know me," Mills said, "but how do we get our other people in contact with the public?"

Among them is Chris Knorr, a landscape designer who can help take clients to steps beyond just thinking about plants.

"Something we like to do is encourage people to get out there and use it (their yards)," Knorr said. That might include furniture, walls or paths that make the space easy to use.

TerraSalis' stock in trade has always been plants and plant varieties that are more unusual, and Mills said that hasn't changed.

"We know many of our plant purveyors personally, and we know growers around the country," he said.

TerraSalis employees also have been busy growing plants from seed or cutting in its greenhouses.

"Many of these are predestined for customers, but the rest we will sell," Mills said.

The garden center is at 4797 Midland Drive in Malden. For information, visit www.terrasalis.com, the center's Facebook page, or call 304-925-4754.

"If this is successful, we'll do it again in September and October and then maybe again at Christmas," Mills said.

Contact writer Monica Orosz at monica@dailymail.com or 304-348-4830.     

 


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