Saxton's Nears Closing of 84-Year-Old Family Business
The garden center, in Downtown Plymouth for almost 80 years, will shut its doors Oct. 31.
Update: Saxton's now continues to offer sales and service in the area behind its previous showroom. You can read Plymouth-Canton Patch's coverage on the new location here.
Saxton's Garden Center triggers memories of decades-old images with its old-fashioned storefront sign. The faint smell of motor oil is discernable inside, among the neat rows of lawnmowers and snow blowers.
A Michigan business since 1928 and in Plymouth since before 1937, Saxton's will close Oct. 31.
Alan Saxton, an owner, said they decided in September to close the store.
"Money," he said about the reason for closing. "We had a bad winter in terms of sales. And we had a hot and dry summer."
Saxton said he didn't want to close, but those conditions left the store with little income.
After his father, William Saxton, died in June, Saxton said his mother, Valerie, thought closing the store would be an option. His mother and brother Craig are also owners of the store, he said.
Saxton’s Farm Supply
"I've worked here on and off since I was about 5 years old," said Saxton, who is 64.
He said his grandfather, Dean Saxton, opened the first store, which sold feed to farmers, in Redford in September, 1928. Saxton's moved to Northville and then Plymouth, near the Mayflower Meeting House.
Saxton said the company moved to the current location when they outgrew the first Plymouth location. His grandfather purchased the building in about 1937 from owners who lost the building during the Depression, Saxton said, and called it Saxton's Farm Supply.
A brick wall inside Saxton’s separates the left and ride sides of the store.
"Everything east of the brick wall was the original," Saxton said.
More than feed
Saxton said his grandfather sold Massey-Harris farm tractors in the new location. The store took another turn in the late '40s when they built the addition.
He said his father persuaded his grandfather to change from farm to lawn mowing supplies.
"They were growing more homes around here than growing corn," Saxton said.
Although he lives in Ypsilanti now, Saxton said his family and his grandparents lived above the store for about 25 years.
Closing and customers
"We've had about eight people who would like to buy the property," Saxton said.
He said they've had offers from restaurant owners, investors, retailers and a microbrewery that is interested in leasing.
"If we could sell the building, we'd like to do so," he said.
Before the closing announcement, Saxton said they were making $1,000 to $3,000 per day. After the announcement, he said it jumped to about $3,500 to $5,000 per day.
Ferris Mills, 75, of Plymouth, was in Saxton’s to replace his weed wacker line.
“I was born and raised here, so I hate to see it go,” he said.