The doors are shutting for good on Sunday at a long-time Houston plant-lovers' destination.
The Cornelius Nursery at 1200 N. Dairy Ashford Drive has until Jan. 4 to vacate the three-acre site after a deal was recently sealed to sell the Energy Corridor-area property. Employees learned of the upcoming closure just three weeks ago from corporate officials at Fort Worth-based Calloway's Inc., the nursery company which Cornelius merged with in 1999. Carol Dreyer, manager at the Dairy Ashford garden center, confirmed the closure.
Circulating rumors have it that a high-rise of some sort is to be built on the location near the corner of North Dairy Ashford Drive and the Katy Freeway, but no one at the nursery, even Dreyer, or at corporate could confirm.
"No one really knows what's going on right now," Sam Weger, director of recruiting and training at Calloway's, said in a phone interview. "We do know the company is searching right now for another location, hopefully in the same area, to keep a second Cornelius open in Houston."
Weger was available for comments, while the rest of the Calloway's staff had the day off.
He said all full-time employees at the Dairy Ashford nursery are transferring to the Memorial-area Cornelius garden center at 2233 S. Voss Road, adding, "We hope to entice all of our customers to continue to shop there for now."
Meanwhile, the sign at Cornelius Dairy Ashford announces the store closing, along with sales from 30 to 50 percent off the entire inventory. As well, the latest post on the nursery's Facebook site notes "Merry Christmas!" with a photo close-up of red poinsettias.
A sad but fitting farewell from a Houston institution.