The next chapter in the story of Geiger's Home & Garden brings the business' headquarters from Westport to New Canaan.
May 10 marked the official opening of Geiger's new nursery and landscaping operation at 259 Frogtown Road. The former home of Frogtown Farms & Nurseries, the three-acre parcel now will house Geiger's landscaping services, as well as a retail store.
Further, the hope of founder Frank Geiger is that the new facility can be a place that's more than just a business, but a kind of park for those seeking respite.
"I'm going to set it up like a little park out here," said Geiger, who bought the Westport-based business in 1973, though its history dates back 20 years prior. "I want to have a little place to sit ... a place for just a quiet time, not to make money."
Two ponds on the property are stocked with bass and trout, and Geiger hopes that senior citizens and kids will stop by with their fishing poles to enjoy the spot.
"It's a nice place, and we'll make real good use of it," he said.
"It's beautiful," said Mitch Schwartz, of Darien, who paid a visit for the opening celebration, which included a ribbon-cutting by First Selectman Robert Mallozzi, food and pony rides. "It's like a park. It's really nice. It just feels like you're in a little reserve."
"We looked at this place last year and it had a beautiful park-like setting," Joe Basone, manager of the facility, said. "Mr. Geiger is really concerned about the seniors and he wants to make this like a park.
"But we're going to be a full-line garden center, as well, with annuals and perennial trees and shrubs."
A staff of around 100 includes members of a full landscaping service, which is housed toward the back of the property, as well as mason and wood workers, craftsmen and four landscape architects. Along with general landscape work, the company also offers construction of peripheral outdoor areas, such as terraces, pool areas and more.
"Our main thing is landscape design," Basone said. "That's what we specialize in."
He noted the design work of Geiger's was central to its reputation. "That's our mainstay -- our design technique."
At the same time, he said, in New Canaan Geiger's will be offering a variety of retail items suited to horticultural, beginning with the spring season.
"In terms of retail, flowering trees, shrubs, roses," he said. "There's such a vast line of material here, but we specialize in landscape-size plants -- plants of good size that are going to fit right in with the existing landscape."
Architectural offices for Geiger's will be maintained in Greenwich, Fairfield, Westport and White Plains, N.Y., he said, though the nuts-and-bolts operation, as well as retail, now resides in New Canaan.
"We sold our Westport location, so we have to be out of there by September," he said. Plans are underway to develop the site at 1135 Post Road East.
But the future is on Frogtown, and employees agree.
"It's moved along really, really nicely," Jonathan Bowden, fine gardening specialist, said.
"Expanding our business into New Canaan just makes natural sense because we have an awful lot of clients in the area," he said, noting the unique and beautiful setting for the business.
"It's amazing," Kerry Wood, of Bridgeport, said of the new facility. "The grounds are really spectacular, so it's a great experience to not only buy your plants and flowers, but to see how they can be used in the setting."
Patrick McClellan, maintenance property supervisor, added, "I just think it's a great opportunity for the company and the town of New Canaan to see what we're about and all the services that we offer. We have educated employees, and we do things right by horticulture and the customers."
For information, visit www.GeigersHomeandGarden.com.
Jarret Liotta is a freelance writer.