Linder’s says goodbye


Linder’s Garden Center will likely be closed by mid-November.

Linder’s Garden Center on Larpenteur Avenue was flooded with customers on Oct. 11. After 100 years, the business is closing up shop. (photos by Linda E. Andersen/Review)

Merchandise at the garden center is 50 percent off.

Business announces it will close within weeks

After more than 100 years in business, Linder’s Greenhouses will be saying its final farewell to the Twin Cities Area.

“The Linder family has made the decision to close Linder’s Greenhouses Inc.,” the company announced last week. “We will be having an orderly wind down of the business in the coming weeks. We would like to thank all of our customers, our staff and the Twin Cities community for their support in our 100+ years of business.”

Owner Dave Linder said the family’s decision to close the business wasn’t what they’d hoped for.

“Our hand was kind of forced,” Linder said, explaining that this past spring’s unseasonably cool, wet weather was the most significant factor in the decision to shut down. Linder said the company had made major marketing investments prior to the spring, with expectations of favorable weather and a recovering economy. But because of poor weather and a still struggling economy, the company wasn’t able to get any return on its investment.

The main Linder’s Garden Center is located at 270 W. Larpenteur Ave., and the company had over 50 pop-up flower markets in retail parking lots around the metro during the spring months.

Soon after the announcement was made, the company’s Facebook page was flooded with comments from disappointed customers who said they’ll be sad to see Linder’s go.

“I can’t imagine spring without Linder’s,” wrote one commenter.

“This is a HUGE blow to the community,” wrote another.

Linder said he’s received a lot of feedback from customers who are saddened by the decision to close, but said telling the company’s employees was the most wrenching.

“That was definitely the hardest part,” Linder said, noting that some of the employees had worked for the company for more than 20 years. The company employed roughly 50 full-time employees, and during the gardening season employed a total of about 1,500 full- and part-time employees.

A last hoorah

The Linder’s Garden Center has been a popular destination during the traditional growing season, but throughout the winter holiday season as well.

In past years, the center had been decorated with hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights and scores of display trees, and Linder’s also hosted a popular fall festival each year.

Everything is currently 50 percent off at the garden center as the company clears out its merchandise. Customers flocked to the center in the days following the announcement that the business will close.

“It’s just sad,” said Sue of White Bear Lake, who was loading up pot planters in her car on Friday. “Where are people going to get flowers?” she wondered, adding that she was surprised that the closing seemed to occur so suddenly.

Another customer, Bette Danielson, who was loading up a cart inside the store, said she, too, was shocked when her mother in Richfield called her to tell her Linder’s was closing. Danielson, who lives on the East Side of St. Paul, said she buys almost all her annuals from Linder’s each spring, as well as her perennials.

“I know a lot of customers will be at a loss,” Danielson said, adding that she was also eager to get back to the garden center one last time to see the beloved parrot, Baby, who lives there.

“He always says hello, and he whistles,” Danielson said with a smile.

Linder said that the parrot will be taken care of and mentioned that members of the Linder family, as well as other employees, have expressed interest in taking him home. However, Linder said it’s also possible that Baby might be moved to another public environment since that is what he has become accustomed to.

Linder said that much of the inventory at the garden center was sold in just the first few days after the business announced it would close. Judging from the merchandise that remained, he said Linder’s will likely be closed by mid-November.

A business that grew

Linder’s, a three-generation, family-owned business, was started by Albert Linder in 1910.

Originally, Albert grew celery and other vegetables to sell to local buyers, but he began growing flowers and phasing out the vegetables in the following years.

Albert’s sons, Peter and Walter, grew the flower growing operation and built greenhouses where they could sell them. The business was passed down to Albert’s grandchildren -- Dave, Rob, Pete and Lill -- who continued to expand the business to its current state.

The company’s longstanding, strong presence in the Twin Cities has been undeniable, with the springtime satellite locations, a 52-acre production site in Lake Elmo, and its expansive garden center.

Linder said his family is grateful to all its employees and loyal customers who helped the business survive for 100 years.

“We just want to give a huge thanks to the entire community for allowing us to serve them all these years,” Linder said.

Alex Holmquist can be reached at aholmquist@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813.

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