46-year-old Clarksville nursery is up for sale

April 03, 1997|By Dana Hedgpeth | Dana Hedgpeth,SUN STAFF

A 46-year-old Clarksville nursery is up for sale after its founder, who is terminally ill, closed the business.

The owners of Cherry Brae, a 22 1/2 -acre nursery, say they hope to find a buyer for the nursery soon. Founder George James Simpson, 68, and his son, David Simpson, have run the nursery together for the last 10 years.

The nursery is still running its wholesale operation but has been scaling down its retail section over the last few months, closing it in January.

The Simpson family has farmed in Clarksville since the early 1800s. George Simpson operated a produce stand at Lexington Market in Baltimore, then opened a nursery at the farm in the late 1940s. He is now seriously ill, relatives say.

Housing developments in the Clarksville area took surrounding farmland, and the nursery thrived because residential gardeners needed flowers and shrubs, said David Simpson. This past year, the nursery served 5,000 to 6,000 customers.

"We used to be considered way out in the boondocks, but now all the farms have disappeared," said David Simpson, 39. "It's sad to have to sell. We certainly would hate to see what's one of the last oases in the county gobbled up by more houses."

Simpson said he would like to keep the nursery running but simply can't do it without his father.

Neighbors say losing the nursery will be a disappointment.

"It's going to be a tremendous loss to the community to have the Simpsons' nursery go," said Wendy Savoy of Clarksville, who has shopped at the store for 15 years.

"They're kind of salt-of-the-earth people who are very caring," Savoy said. "Everybody around would always go to Cherry Brae's to get seedlings. And you know there's nothing like a Cherry Brae poinsettia at Christmastime.

"They're a part of what makes Clarksville special."

Pub Date: 4/03/97

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