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Help Save Sprain Brook Nursery

By Colton Dirksen
August 21, 2012
File under: Business News, Business Profiles, Consumer Awareness, Green Practices, Sustainable Products

“Help us find a worthy home for Sprain Brook, an authentic organic nursery.  Please post or forward to those who may be interested.”

SPRAIN BROOK Nursery is an old-fashioned but beautiful Garden Center that has been in business since 1944. We have gone through a transformation in our approach to gardening moving from chemical to organic. We now grow all of our plants the natural way and use only organic products in our soil mix and use beneficial insects to control our insect problems.

SPRAIN BROOK Nursery was started in the spring of 1944. There were two original Lord and Burnham glass houses, a sash house and a shed built in the mid thirties. I was in the third grade. We lived in a red brick house that was part of the property. We had an old pot shed where we stored pots and raised chickens. In this humble beginning I spent life growing up and helping to build and expand a business. We built a Garden Center, added many more greenhouses, and when I got married we added another house for me to live I; we grew high quality bedding and indoor plants and developed a loyal customer base.

We peaked with sales at close to three million dollars. With this tough economy we are now under two million dollars. I am now 77 years old and, like my parents, I had hoped to live out my life and have SPRAIN BROOK Nursery take care of me until I die. I guess this is not meant to be. I am forced to sell and close down a Nursery that is very close to my heart. Agriculture is a way of life.

I have put a great deal of effort both physically and mentally into developing natural-based programs for every facet of gardening. Young families, who are concerned about the health of their children and pets, playing on lawns that use toxic products to achieve beauty, are the young generation that are embracing this alternative approach.

I am writing you to see if you would be interested in buying a Nursery that has joined the Green Revolution and grows and that advocates a Natural Approach to Gardening. I would hate to see the property go to housing.

The nursery is for sale. All types of options will be considered. Everything has got to be put on the table. 5-10 year leases with the option to buy, Outright sale of property and buildings. Fate will have to take its course as I pray for a good solution

We live in the Edgemont, NY school district which is considered one of the best in the country. Both my children and I went through the system and got a great education. I went on to Cornell, my daughter got her doctorate degree and is a psychologist and my son is a well-known, accomplished musician based in the Berkshires

It is a great facility in the midst of an affluent community called Scarsdale, New York. A suburb of New York City located in beautiful green Westchester County in a rich area with lots of homeowners who have the means and desire to maintain their property. The question is to find the right formula to tap into this market.

Sprainbrook has become the location to buy alternative organic products many hard to obtain in the normal market. Products like Employ, Daniels Fertilizer, Mike, Mineral Rock Dust. Coir, Live Lady Bugs and Nematodes. The list goes on and is long. Products that make the difference and account for the fantastic results that occur when you follow a comprehensive organic program. Products that have created results that convince all that use them that the Natural approach is the way to go.

I have a great loyal horticultural staff that has been with me for many years. They are considered to be the best in the industry and are a valuable resource for anyone wanting to buy the Nursery.

Our property has some of the richest soils in the country with fields of soil 18 inches or more deep, rich in organic soils. Fields that we built by yearly adding leaves as a mulch to surround our Nursery stock that we hilled in. This process has taken place over a 60-year period. Leaves are delivered to us each fall by gardeners and the town. An 8-10-inch layer of leaves is placed around root balls and containers of all our Nursery stock being carried over for the following spring. The leaves, as they decompose, keep the root balls warm over the winter. Receiving good air circulation the 8-inch layer of leaves break down the following year into a 1 inch layer of leaf mold. This is the process we have followed for more than 60 years and has built up a deep rich soil. My father called this product black gold.

We have watering systems throughout the nursery. The facility can easily be switched to growing vegetables for the local and New York market. The greenhouse range can support winter food crops as well as growing horticultural crops. There is no shortage of rich soil to grow healthy nutritious food or herbs in. We have mixed our own organic soil for years and customers travel great distances to purchase it. We have soil shredders, tractors and steam boilers to sterilize and mix our soils.

A customer who was growing Wheat Grass for Cancer control had tested the nutrient value in her leaves of the wheat grass by trying as many different soils she could find. . She found ours to be the best and now travels a great distance to purchase it. Packaging this product for the mass market could be a windfall for anyone with marketing capabilities. I truly believe it is the best organic soil available.

We have over 40,000 square feet of glass on an approximately 4-acre plot. Beautiful Unilock pathways lead to each area. We also have about 2,000 square feet of indoor retail selling space.

SPRAIN BROOK has built up a loyal customer following to the organic approach to gardening. Unfortunately although my customers are passionate with many young families buying into the concept they are still not enough to reach my three million dollar sales goal. The support is building and in time will grow but for me I have run out of time and resources. I consider the Natural approach to be the future for Garden Centers that are going to survive into the next century.

My dream was to not only to own a Nursery that followed the organic approach but that sold only products made in the USA. I know that in order for SPRAIN BROOK to become profitable again more variety has to be added to the mix. One would need to bring sales back to three million dollars so the business will reach profitability. This should be possible with the right fit. There are challenges to face but there also are solutions and opportunities.

Some additional possibilities that come to my mind are to increase Landscape services, add commercial landscape and maintenance, develop a re-wholesale outlet, modernize the Garden Center, develop an organic vegetable section to bring home owners in daily for the purchase of fresh organic produce just to name a few. It will take young blood, more money and ingenuity to develop and implement these ideas but the foundation with great structures is in place.

There are many Agricultural options available for SPRAIN BROOK to continue as an Agriculture entity. Real estate brokers feel the money is in the land not the business. I believe we need to keep rich agricultural land producing Agriculture products. It is what builds and sustains a nation.

I have written a book called ‘12 Steps To Natural Gardening’. It shows how and why I made the change to the Natural Approach and the amazing results I obtained since embracing an organic solution. I have developed a very loyal following to this approach. I have written programs for my customers to follow. I have tested my formulas in the field and my customers and I have had great success when implementing them.

If you have any interested in purchasing the nursery, I would love to send you a copy of my book. Read it both for its horticultural content and its philosophical message. The stories that follow each chapter will give you a sense what SPRAIN BROOK Nursery became. Read about our programs and the list of products and formulas we recommend. Visit our web site is a great horticultural web site, which was developed with the aid of many years of Horticultural experience. Read Krautter’s Korner and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

My greatest love and hope would be for SPRAIN BROOK to remain Agricultural. If you have any interest, we are ready to work out a deal. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and if interested please email me at
or call me on my cell 914-907 7882.

Thank you
Al Krautter

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