After 16 years, Behnke Nurseries Co. closed its location on River Road in Potomac last month, citing increased rent.
The nursery, a mainstay of seasonal blooms, woody plants, houseplants and garden needs since 1998, just could not continue when the property owners, White Star Investment of Bethesda, raised the rent, said company Vice President Stephanie Behnke Fleming.
“Everybody was sad about [the closing],” Fleming said. “Unfortunately we had to do it.”
Fleming said the location at 9545 River Road employed as many as 30 people during peak times and about 10 during the slow season. Most were offered jobs in Behnke’s Beltsville location; five accepted, she said.
Behnke Nursery was started in 1930 by Fleming’s grandparents Rose and Albert Behnke on 11 acres in Beltsville, where the compamy still operates, Fleming said.
As a final goodbye, Behnke held a farewell party Thursday at the River Road location for all former employees. Many people attended, said Fleming, who called it a great way to say goodbye and thanks to those who helped make the Potomac business successful.
“Everyone is welcome to come to Beltsville,” Fleming said. “We are not closing — we are relocating.”
A call to White Star Investment, which lists the property in its online investment portfolio, was not immediately returned.