Santa Fe Greenhouses is closing after 29 years in business.
President and chief horticulturist David Salman, in a statement released last week, announced both the nursery and its mail order catalog were shutting down.
Located at 2904 Rufina St., the store was a local favorite known for its concentration on native and xeric plants and its own demonstration garden, planted in 1991.
Santa Fe Greenhouses also operated a sister store, High Country Gardens, on Albuquerque’s Osuna Road, which also has closed.
In a recent letter to the Journal’s business operation, Salman said the business had been struggling for four years. He kept it afloat, the letter states, by slashing payroll and watching expenses closely. He blamed the closing on the collapse of the housing market coupled with the severe drought.
In last week’s news release, Salman said: “A combination of factors including the severe, ongoing drought, a second year of regional forest fires this past May and June and the continuing economic recession resulted in very poor spring sales.”
“And the Salman family has decided not to continue the business in the face of continuing problems with the recession and drought.”
The drought and fires of 2012 produced a 20 percent drop in company-wide sales within eight weeks, Salman’s letter said.
The company will launch an online auction from Dec. 10-13 to sell off its greenhouse equipment, trucks and other assets. The Santa Fe property and business on Rufina Street are also for sale.
Salman said in his letter that by mid-April, business projections appeared to be on target for a break-even year.
The greenhouse generally makes about 60 percent of its profit in April, May and June, with the remaining nine months generating the rest.
But in August, Santa Fe Greenhouses announced plans to shut down for the winter with a closeout sale. At the time, Salman said he expected to re-open again in March.
Nearby competition from national chains offering lower prices such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot also hurt business.
Santa Fe Greenhouses was known for a pioneering palette of regionally adapted plants and for its winter seminar series starring some of the country’s premiere gardening experts. Its xeric demonstration gardens in Santa Fe were known throughout the region as a place where area gardeners could learn about and appreciate plants used in water-wise gardening.