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Business Spotlight: Grandfather Mountain Nursery Garden Center and Landscaping Uses an Old Fashioned, Hands On Approach with a Women’s Touch

by Madison V. Fisler

Owner Theresa Foxx is the driving force behind the business
Owner Theresa Foxx is the driving force behind the business

May 8, 2014. If you take a look around the Grandfather Mountain Nursery Garden Center and Landscaping, you will be greeted by the smell of flowers, the sights of spring and one very particularly fluffy puppy.

“Someone once said that the earth laughs in flowers, and I agree,” said Theresa Foxx, owner of the company. “I am grounded by everything here, no pun intended.”

Even among local businesses, Foxx is one of the few who can trace her roots back through the generations to her ancestral ties in this area.

“My family settled this area you know,” Foxx said. “Foscoe used to be called Foxx’s Cove, and in our mountain dialect it became Foscoe. I truly have, no pun intended, really deep roots in this community. I just love this area. We are a local business and we appreciate anything local.”

It all started decades ago. Foxx’s parents began the business in 1976, after owning a farm across the way for many years and finally deciding to open up a shop not far from the farm.

“My parents started the business in the 70s and you can see the old farm over there,” said Foxx, pointing across the street. “Dad wanted to sell some retail things and we planted a lot of hemlocks and rhododendrons, which were the go-to plants to use back then. I grew up doing this, and I absolutely hated it then but now I am a huge plant nerd.”

Foxx recounted her days on the farm and her early life growing up with a green thumb.

“I didn’t like it when I was younger, but I appreciate it now,” said Foxx with a laugh. “Working in the fields with machetes and lawn mowers wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do growing up, but then I grew up and it really instilled in me some valuable lessons.”

And those lessons have translated into a great mind for business.

“I started working here in ’89 and I would say in ’95 my parents got out of it and were doing other things. When I took it over, I did what I do best. We offer everything from landscaping and installs, to maintenance like mowing and retaining walls. We also do water features, outdoor patios and flagstone. We do a little bit of everything. I love the design work, I love interacting with people who have a passion for it, and I love that I learn something new every day.”

Looking around the nursery, passers by would notice that the business is very hands on.

“So much of this is done in the old fashioned way,” Foxx said. “I like doing everything by hand. That way I can see every individual plant. Doing things by hand helps us to maintain the quality of our products. It takes a lot of labor and time, but it is worth it.”

The crew approaches everything with a fine attention to detail, which is evident in many different ways including the hand-written signs that tell about each of the plants.

Working to help maintain this hands on approach are employees who have worked with Foxx for a long time, many for more than a decade.

“Everyone here is very hard working, they are dedicated to this and I am dedicated to them. They are not employees to me, they are family.”

As a woman owned business, Foxx takes great pride in what she does everyday.

“Being a woman owned business brings me a lot of pride. I am proud that I can keep a small business going. I employ mostly women and more women than men tend to come in here. I think that there is more attention to detail here which really sets us apart.”

Foxx also takes pride in her dedication to customer service.

“We don’t do cookie cutter anything,” Foxx said. “Every place you go to is completely different, everything is individual and we tailor everything to our cleints needs and wants. I listen, I pay attention and I do what will make them happy.”

With everything that the community has given her over the years, Foxx ensures that she gives back too.

“We do a lot of charity work,” Foxx said. “Along with giving back to nature I believe in giving back to my community. The community has been good to me in many ways and each year I choose who I give to. We have all been in bad situations and I think it is important to help when I can.”

But the most noticable thing about Foxx and her crew is the passion for what they do.

“People keep coming back to us because we have maximum product knowledge because we have been here for so long. We have staying power. There are many others who have come and gone, but we are here to stay. We have references from jobs we did 20 years ago that are still beautiful, and we still have great relationships with those customers. We love to have those relationships while making new ones.”

All services are tailored specifically to each client, from picking out the perfect plants to have on your porch to mapping out huge landscaping jobs, and even snow removal in the winter.

Being here this long, Foxx credits the success of the business with hard work and mountains of experience.

“Being here this long speaks volumes,” Foxx said. We have maximum product knowledge, experience teaches you more than a book ever can. I have been doing this for 38 years and when I combine the knowledge of everything that is here along with my parents, you have a combined knowledge of more than 400 years.”

“I always tell people to just come by,” Foxx said. “You have to come see the difference. We take the time that you need. We have a lot of patience and we have the product here that you can see, touch and smell. We have a lot of reference materials to help you find what you are looking for and a long list of satisfied customers. And we also have the cutest greeter!”

Grandfather Mountain Nursery, Garden Center and Landscaping is located at 11466 N.C. 105 in Banner Elk. For more information, call 828-963-5025 or visit the website here.

Photos by Ken Ketchie

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Most of the center’s staff, like Fabi, have been working here for more than a decade
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The center is just sprawling with beautiful plants and accessories
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The staff takes special care to educate customers on the plants with handwritten signs and handouts to ensure even the newest gardener can be successful
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The center takes pride in doing things the old fashioned way, right down to handwriting information on all of the plant signs
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The center boasts between 200-300 types of plants all summer long
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The beauty of the center comes from decades of experience and hours of hard work
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The center is sprawling with blooming plants and happy flowers
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The garden center has all the accessories you need to have the most beautiful garden this year
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The nursery and garden center is hard to miss, with bright colors and humorous signs
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The staff of Grandfather Nursery has “maximum plant knowledge” after years of experience
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The Grandfather Mountain nursery is in full bloom for the springtime