Heading west on Greene County Route 67 from the hamlet of Freehold, NY, you’ll see the Catskill Creek on your left as you pass the local airstrip just before arriving at Story’s Nursery – growing since 1956. Started by George Story when Eisenhower was POTUS, the business quickly gained a reputation for producing high-quality trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, bedding plants and greenhouse crops.
Leading a local agri-business into its 63rd growing season, Ken & Susan Thompson have seen an entire spectrum of challenges, opportunities, successes, and tragedies since taking over in the late 1970s. The key to their success is the commitment to quality shared by their employees and embraced by their customers.
Stopping in on a Saturday in early spring, the parking lot is busy with a steady stream of vehicles, bringing customers hoping to encourage the late season snow to depart by purchasing new plants. The greenhouses are warm and inviting, and you can definitely feel anticipation in the air. The selection is amazing. The team here prides itself on offering a full range of everything that can grow and thrive in the Mountain, Valley, and River towns across our region, and customers seem to know they are in the right place.
While new faces appear each year, they tend to keep coming back – multiple generations of the same family – because this is where they come for growing things.
Sure, there have been challenges: The current home center was built 10 years ago after fire destroyed the old cash-out area, and the flooding of the Catskill Creek during Hurricane Irene in 2011 devastated the lion’s share of the trees and shrubs grown on the property. Still the Thompsons and their staff carefully steward their growing things, season after season, and the customers keep coming, new and returning, year after year.
New businesses tend to attract attention during their start-up years, but the trick to sustaining a growing business can be found by the simple principles that make for a successful “Growing” business, like Story’s.
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Topics: Success Stories