PITTSVILLE – Parker Plant Depot is 77 acres of family fun providing a relaxing environment as well as year-round merchandise suited for any season.
“The farm had been in the family for almost 200 years,” said owner Tom Bell. “I take a lot of pride in this because it’s not only a business but there’s a lot of heritage here. The Parkers were kind of like pillars for the community of Pittsville. We are very proud of the property and very proud of our business.”
Parker was the maiden name of Bell’s mother whose family owned all 750 acres nearly 200 years ago. Bell explained that when the railroad was built through Pittsville in the 1930’s the depot downtown became the “hot spot” for the local farmers.
“So the train was a big part of Pittsville thus why we called it … Parker Plant Depot,” Bell said.
Bell and his wife, Paula, find it is important to provide a welcoming and relaxing environment for their guests as well as customers. The first thing they do upon a visitor entering the farm is offer them a cold beverage and to hang out on the depot station’s round about deck in a rocking chair.
“We have customers and we have neighbors, and people that are soon to be customers and friends,” Bell said. “They just come by and see the fellowship and they just sit down and rock for a while … there is no pressure for sales because I feel as though if they didn’t buy today and they had a good experience they will be back tomorrow.”
Parker Plant Depot provides vegetable plants, herbs, bedding plants, perennials, nursery items, grasses, hanging baskets, bulk mulch, bag mulch, top soil, trees and shrubs, dump truck service, bush hogging, custom lawn care, landscape design, horse hay, wrought iron, country flags, concrete statuary, and even Yankee Candles.
“The garden center has been very good to us,” Bell said. “We grow a little each year, no pun intended.”
Other seasonal services Parker Plant Depot provides is fall items, such as, mums, pumpkins, gourds, corn husks as well as hay rides.
“We’ve had schools come out and do like a fall day here where … we give a talk about plants and they get to look at the different ones and pot a plant to take it with them,” Bell said.
During the winter season, the farm provides a fire wood delivery service as well as hay. Although the Bells have something to offer for every season, they are still at work to provide other year-round activities for everybody to enjoy.
Most recently Parker Plant Depot has provided grounds for a flea market every Saturday starting at 6 a.m. and plans to have it extend through November.
“That’s a good wholesome family thing,” Bell said. “You want stuff that people can buy in these economic times that they give the item a second chance, and it is affordable to everyone and we are also getting a wide variety … we started that nine weeks ago and it has taken off like a rocket, it’s doing very well.”
There is also a year-round branch to the farm currently under construction and that is Paula’s Country Crafts. Another future item is on Sept. 10 of this year Parker Plant Depot is partnering up with Harley-Davidson of Seaford for a fundraiser. The event will include Wheels that Heal Car Club, Whitey’s Barbeque, the Powellville Volunteer Fire Company, and The Dr Is In Entertainment for a DJ and karaoke.
“That should be a good time here for all,” Bell said.
Another big plus to Parker Plant Depot is the garden center co-op that started last February. There are four garden centers involved, including Parker Plant Depot.
“What that enables us to do is we have more buying power and it makes my inventory four times stronger then what I have here on the yard,” Bell said.
For example, if a customer came to the farm asking for a fruit tree that was not available at Parker Plant Depot, then Bell would contact a partnering garden center and have the tree delivered there and sell it for the same price it was on the other co-op farm.
Last but not least is the familiar face of the farm dog, Mindy. Bell said Mindy plays an important role in the business because usually the first thing regular guests ask is, “where’s Mindy?”
“It is very important for people to feel comfortable here … we’re a family environment and that is what is dear to our heart — family,” Bell said. “We want people to come and just enjoy … if they just want to stop in and say hello and have a cold refreshment and pet the dog that’s good too. It takes money to live in this world but this world is not all about money either.”