CLAYTON — Feller’s Greenhouse and Gift Shop has a new owner, but the business will retain the same name, according to Thomas Brandt who will be taking over operations of the business.
The sale became official on December 3, but longtime owners Tracy and Diana Feller plan to stick around to help with the transition of ownership until July or August 2016.
Brandt has never owned or operated his own business.
“This is a new venture,” Brandt said. “I am just really excited to be the new owner. I think Tracy and his wife have done a great job and I am excited to be a part of this community. We are going to keep the same name and we are not going to change anything. Everything is going to be the same. When everyone comes in, it will be a new owner but everything else will be the same.”
Located at 1885 Westbrook Road at the intersection of Taywood Road, the family business was started 44 years ago by Tracy Feller’s parents. Tracy started working for the business as a child and took over day to day operations 26 years ago with his wife Diana joining the business 24 years ago. The couple have been running the business together ever since.
The sale of business should be looked upon as a positive change, according to Tracy.
“Don’t be sad, be happy,” he said. “This has not been an easy decision to come to. Selling the business was one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever had to make. How do you tell your friends that you love and have supported that you are moving on? I’ve been doing this for about 44 years. Twenty four years ago the love of my life came along, and we have been writing our love story ever since. We couldn’t have done it without our customers. Your friendship, love and understanding means the world to us. You have always been here through thick and thin. Don’t worry. We will be here for a while to ensure a smooth transition.”
Tracy said a life lesson helped trigger the decision to sell the business. A friend was talking to him about ‘a thousand marbles’ and commented about Tracy having to work 60 or 70 hours a week to make ends meet. He said after considering the average person’s life span it helped him keep a good perspective on his own priorities.
Tracy’s friend talked about how the average person lives about 75 years. The friend multiplied 75 times 52 and came up with 3,900 which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. He got to thinking that if he lived to be 75, he only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So he went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. He ended up with 1,000 marbles. He took them home and put them inside a large clear plastic container next to the radio. Every Saturday since then he took one marble out and threw it away. The friend found that by watching the marbles diminish, he focused on the really important things in life.
“I guess he gave us a lot to think about,” Tracy said. “I had planned to go to work that morning. I’ve never had a Saturday off to take my wife out to breakfast. Before I run out of marbles I want to do that. We just want to have more time to do church activities, walk, talk, go to lunch, go to dinner and enjoy life. I’ve been doing this for 44 years. It is time for a change.”
The couple plans to eventually move out west.
“We are hoping to move to Arizona to be close to Tracy’s dad,” Diana said. “We all need more surprises in our lives. We have done some research and found a town named Surprise, Arizona. How fitting. We hope to end up there someday.”
Tracy and Diana together expressed their gratitude to their customers.
“Thank you for the loyalty and support, the fun and the memories. You will always be kept close and dear to our hearts and never, ever forgotten. Friends don’t move on, they just become friends forever. Most important of all, please welcome Thomas Brandt and his family and give them the love, respect, and support you have honored us with all these years. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”