Chester's 'Bountiful Gardens' Expanding
Chester business owner wins bid for Ash’s Flower Farm and plans to infuse new life into garden center.
If Lisa Miccolis has her way, Ash’s Flower Farm will bloom again—this time as Bountiful Gardens.
Miccolis was the winning bidder in Thursday's auction at the 135 Route 206 site, purchasing all the remaining inventory (plants, accessories, equipment) for $15,000.
“I will be working to reopen this location the right way, the way it was supposed to be,” said Miccolis, a Hillsborough resident who also owns Bountiful Gardens in Chester.
The state Department of Treasury seized the Route 206 property on Aug. 22 and scheduled the auction in an effort to recoup some of the estimated $289,000 in back taxes owed by Ronald Ash, who is listed as the business owner. Several wholesalers are also owed money by Ash’s Flower Farm.
Ash leased the property from West Essex Industrial Park, according to tax records. Miccolis pointed out that her name was on the original lease in 1997 but “I unfortunately trusted somebody.” She is in the process of trying to work out a new lease.
Although she has no firm timetable for opening her business on the site, she declared, “The first thing I’m doing is taking down those signs.”
“It’s going to be beautiful, like it used to be,” she said, pointing out that former customers might remember her as “the girl with the hat.”
Almost a dozen potential bidders attended Thursday morning’s auction, including the owners of several other landscape-related business. Most were interested in purchasing portions of what was left at the site, which would have been auctioned off if the sale for the bulk inventory had not been successful.
Bidding on the bulk inventory began at $5,000, with Miccolis winning out eventually over the only other bidder.
Belle Mead resident Brandy Nagle, who had shopped at the site over the years, has been driving by and watching the plants deteriorate since the state seized the property a few weeks ago.
“It made me sick to watch them die,” she said. “We loved the variety here. I’m excited it’s going to stay. You need competition.”