Twin Gardens flower shop opens on site of former greenhouse

  • A small sampling of the beautiful offerings for sale at the newly opened Twin Gardens, 501 South Main St., Athol. Greg Vine

  • A small sampling of the beautiful offerings for sale at the newly opened Twin Gardens, 501 South Main St., Athol. Greg Vine

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 6/25/2019 9:45:18 PM

ATHOL – For more than a decade, 501 South Main St., the site once occupied by Ledges Greenhouse & Florist, sat vacant. Over time the greenhouses deteriorated, garden patches became overgrown with weeds, trees went without pruning, and various critters took up residence in the main building, which became increasingly dilapidated.

But this past spring, things began to change. Some of the greenhouses again became home to a variety of colorful flowering plants, renovations were begun on the retail space, landscaping was undertaken to beautify the lot, and humans replaced varmints in the main building.

While there is still much to be done, all of the improvements have been undertaken by Kim Kimball with the help of family and friends. As a result, area residents can once again visit the site to pick up floral arrangements, hanging plants, plants for home gardens and flower boxes, and much more. Fans of fresh produce will also soon be able to stop by to purchase goods grown by several nearby farms.

While the establishment, now known as Twin Gardens, had initially scheduled a grand opening event for early June, Kimball said, “We held off on it. We’re going to try for July so we can get all the fresh produce in. We have a band coming. It’s going to be fun.”

The “soft opening” of the business took place May 11, and the timing was not coincidental.

“It was the day before Mother’s Day,” Kimball explained, “because I had promised my mother before she passed away that I would make sure we were open on Mother’s Day.”

Kimball says her interest in running a flower/plant/produce business dates back to her childhood, when she would visit her grandparents in Dartmouth, Mass.

“When I was very little,” said said, “my grandparents lived on a farm and all the adults would gather out in the garden, and if you acted up they would put your hands in that soil to calm you down. And I just fell in love with it. It was the getting dirty – and it was okay – and you got to plant something and watch it grow. When I was six years old and the teacher asked me what I wanted to do, I told her I just wanted to play in the garden.”

Getting into the business, however, required a shift in focus for Kimball, who had been assistant manager at Mr. Mike’s convenience store for about six years.

Getting things up and running has been a lot of work, but, says Kimball, “All the way around it’s been very rewarding. When (property owner and Pete’s Tire Barns owner) Peter Gerry showed myself and my husband this site, there were no walls that hadn’t been damaged. There were squatters that lived here. And we shoveled out more animal scat than I think anybody could ever come across. It was really bad. It was like you walked into a ghost house, like something you’d see in a really bad sci-fi movie. We’ve invested a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this place. We started Dec. 31 and we’re still working on it today.”

In addition to offering produce from area farms, Kimball said some of the vegetables to be made available will eventually be grown on site.

Kimball said portions of the building will be available to those interested in renting space for classes and a room will also be set aside as a children’s play space.

She says making a profit has not been the main purpose of opening the doors while work is still progressing.

“With the soft opening,” she said, “we knew we weren’t going to make a lot of money, and that was okay. It was more important to show everybody in town that we all cared, that we all wanted to see this up and running.”

During her interview with the ADN, at least a half-dozen customers stopped in to check out the business and make some purchases. Each expressed support for the venture, complimented Kimball and the improvements that have been made, and seemed genuinely pleased that a business of Twin Garden’s kind was again open at the South Main Street location.

“Without my family, it wouldn’t have happened,” said Kimball, “it really wouldn’t have. But Peter and Nancy Gerry have been really amazing, too. This has been my dream for a long time, and now it’s coming true.”

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