Smithville nursery to lay off 250-plus as part of shut down

DEKALB COUNTY – A Texas-based grower plans to shut down its Smithville nursery and lay off the more than 250 workers.

The Berry Family of Nurseries, 1532 Vaughn Lane, Smithville, will close by Sept. 30, according to a mandatory notice filed late last week with the state. The total number of affected employees is 257.

Company officials did not return a request for comment. However, per a statement posted to its Facebook site, the company is expanding several of its locations “to better accommodate the retailer growth we have been awarded” but is also “reducing farm operations where necessary to maximize efficiency.”

Based in Irving, Texas, the Berry Family of Nurseries is the largest wholesale grower in the country, with operations in Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Oregon, Oklahoma, Texas and Tennessee, including a second tree operation on Short Mountain Road in Smithville. There was no word on if employees there were to be affected. Also this month, the Berry Family announced a shutdown of its Cornelius, Oregon, nursery.

Nursery centers make up one largest employment bases in the Upper Cumberland, especially in DeKalb and Warren counties, which are known as some of the biggest nursery producers in the state. More than 20 nursery-related businesses are listed on a DeKalb County website; the Berry Family’s Smithville operation, formally known as Zelenka, was established in 2003, according to company officials, and consists of 302 acres.

The company sells trees, shrubs, perennials, roses and ground covers.

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