Hicks Nurseries is branching out — on site.
Driving by the Jericho Turnpike property in Westbury recently, I noticed a sign outside that read, “Watch as we grow to serve you better.”
So I stopped by — after calling, of course.
Turns out that Hicks Nurseries, a family-owned business and the oldest garden center on Long Island, is in the midst of upgrades that include adding 13 display gardens and a 1,300-square-foot "landscape inspiration center" to its property.
“It’s going to feel very new and fresh and clean … much better organized, better signage, the whole shebang,” said Nate Jackson, vice president of operations for Hicks, who said the changes are a “face-lift for the entire outdoor space.”
Located on a 24-acre site at 100 Jericho Tpke., the 165-year-old Hicks Nurseries sells nonelectric gardening tools such as rakes and shears, fertilizer, bird cages, pottery, patio furniture, plants, flowers, seeds and other items in its store, which also includes a cafe. Plants also are sold in an outdoor area. Hicks serves residential and commercial customers and offers full landscape design services.
Each September, part of Hicks’ store turns into a popular Christmas showroom, said Karen Musgrave, marketing and education specialist.
Many Long Islanders are familiar with the business’ annual Fall Festival, which runs from mid-September to the end of October and includes hayrides, roasted corn, live animals and pumpkins.
The festival's hayrides and food offerings will be improved due to the renovations, Jackson said. The construction project started at the end of July and should be done by Labor Day, he said.
The landscape inspiration center and new display gardens will occupy 1.85 acres, Musgrave said.
The center, which will replace a small trailer, will have a receptionist desk, customer area, cashiers and rooms for client meetings.
It will be surrounded by the 13 display gardens, at about 200 square feet each, on the site of the old nursery yard, Jackson said. Each display garden will feature a different theme such as formal, Zen, all-season blooming, spring blooming and deer-resistant.
Dirt walkways will be paved, and there will be improved flow for customer shopping, planting beds and irrigation, Jackson said.
The goal of the project is to help customers find what they need, from a basic plant to full-on landscape design, he said. “It’s about building an outdoor showroom where customers can come and find solutions,” he said.
A 12,000-foot warehouse for employee use also is being added behind the property, Musgrave said.
Jackson declined to disclose the cost of the construction project.
He said Hicks, a family business founded in 1853, is run by a sixth generation: Stephen Hicks, president, and his sister, Karen Hicks Courts, human resources director.
Grocery store musical chairs
A New Hyde Park shopping center that used to hold a Waldbaum’s is about to lose its third grocery store since 2015.
Located at 2475 Jericho Tpke. in the City Park Plaza shopping center, Super Fresh Food World is closing, as signs outside the store indicate.
The 42,000-square-foot space has been playing a sort of musical chairs with tenants for the past few years.
The Waldbaum’s was among 51 grocery stores on Long Island that closed after their parent company, Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2015.
Another store, Garden City Food, moved into the space in 2016.
In August 2017, Super Fresh Food World’s parent company, KNH Meat & Produce Inc., bought Garden City Food for $1.2 million, according to court documents in a lawsuit filed by a vendor. The documents list KNH’s owner as Hi Jong Lee.
Super Fresh Food World is part of the Staten Island-based Key Food Stores Co-operative Inc. of independently owned and operated stores.
But Key Food and others are tight-lipped with details about the store, including why it is closing and whether another grocery store is lined up.
An employee at the store, who would identify himself only as John, did confirm on Friday that the store was part of the Key Food cooperative.
“And we are closing but the final date is yet to be determined,” said John, who declined to say more.
Key Food also declined to comment. The shopping center’s owner, Garden City Park Associates LLC, which is affiliated with Castle Bay Management Services LLC in Rye, did not respond to calls for comment.