Thursday, June 27, 2013

Town & Country Gardens plans remodel for 50th anniversary

Town & Country Gardens owner John Crook
Town & Country Gardens' 50th anniversary will be next year, and for the occasion owner John Crook hopes to have a remodel done that will expand the business both in size and purpose.

Crook's father, Howard, started the nursery in 1964 on three acres of ground south of Idaho Falls. Today, Town and Country covers seven acres, with 11,000 square feet of green house space, 8,000 in shade house and 8,000 in storage.

Having survived the last five years, when the market for landscaping collapsed alongside new home construction, Crook said they are on an even keel. The plan for expansion is one that has been in the works for a long time. The front buildings will be torn down to make room for more parking and the front of the business will be where the shade houses now are. There will be more pooling in the greenhouses, and better climate control for the really hot times of the year.

Crook had thought the remodel would be farther advanced, but the architects and engineers have have presented him with surprises from time to time. At one point they were telling him that it would be more expensive to remodel than it would be to tear everything down and rebuild, but they have since learned they don't have to meet any different codes in the county to put the buildings to new uses.

As if Crook doesn't have enough on his mind, he is also opening a fudge and popcorn shop, Aunt Annie's Kitchen, in the Teton Spectrum near the Edwards Cinema. He said he got the idea from someone he met last year during a meeting in Chicago.

Two-thirds of the building's 1,200 square feet will be devoted to kitchen space, the other third to retail. There will be close to 50 flavors of popcorn, 30 flavors of taffy,12 flavors of fudge and 10 different brands of root beer.

"I think it's going to do well," Crook said.