Local farmers have been selling to the Forest Lake area for three decades or more. But flood damage and other circumstances may cause the last vendor in the area to close up shop.
At the Forest Lake Gardens in Columbia, employees are busy trimming the extra branches from Christmas trees for customers. People come here year round for plants and peanuts, and this time of year, for fresh cut Christmas trees. When the historic flood hit the state in October, the Garden Center was hit hard.
Volunteer groups and members of the community helped the Garden Center get cleaned up and reopened. But when the bank that leases the property to the owner took stock of the damage, they told him they would not renew his lease. South Carolina Public Radio’s Laura Hunsberger has the story.
As of March 2016, the Forest Lake Garden Center in Forest Acres is here to stay. Joseph McDougall has purchased the property where has done business for more than a decade. McDougall says he is thankful to all the people who supported the business during this uncertain time and to the bank and city officials who worked with him to resolve the situation. He says the city may still need to put a road through the property at some point in the future, but officials have been talking with him about how to accomplish that while allowing the business to stay open.
In the meantime, McDougall may need to do demolition work on an old building that sits on the property during the spring season, so he’ll have slightly less inventory for a short while, but he expects to be back in full swing by summer. The business is currently open from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm on most days (Sundays, 10 am – 4pm).