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SHELLEY GRECO
Last updated 05:00 29/04/2014
Palmers

GARDEN CENTRE: Palmers will close down on May 11.

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A much loved garden centre in Glen Eden will close its doors for good next month.

Palmers has been at its current Great North Rd site for more than 50 years but trading will cease on May 11.

A sign outside the main entrance to the store states the closure is due to the landlord increasing the rent by 80 per cent, despite a 50 per cent increase six years ago.

The sign says the increase is ''not sustainable''.

A sign inside the store says ''It cost $42,000 last time to go to arbitration''.

Palmers is New Zealand owned and operated and, according to its website, has 14 stores throughout the country.Arthur William PalmerntsTnte started a plant nursery in Glen Eden in 1912.  

The business bloomed and New Zealand's first modern style garden centre was built on the current site in 1958. 

Arthur's four sons, Geoff, Stan, Frank and Howard also worked at the garden centre, along with his daughter Jessie's husband, George.

Mark and Tania Mesarich have been operating the store since 1999.

Hilary Jackson of Titirangi is among those interested to see what will happen to the site.''Why is the landlord making it so impossible for Mark and Tania to continue?,'' Jackson says.

''In the meantime, I have no doubt that many in the local community will miss this store. I am really sad for the owners.''

Jeni Little remembers walking around the store in the rain as a child when she was four or five.

''One of the staff gave me a huge leaf, maybe palm or giant rhubarb leaf, and let me use it like an umbrella. It was so exciting.

''That was 45 or so years ago - so sad to be losing this amazing centre that I have supported ever since.''

Tonic Spa and Arum Cafe, who share the same complex as the garden centre, will remain open for business.

State of the Art picture framers will also close on May 11.

It will open at a new premises at 3 Delta Ave, New Lynn on May 12.

The Western Leader has made repeated phone calls to Mark Mesarich, but messages have not been returned.

The site's landlord Robert Faesenkloet says lawyers have instructed him not to comment.

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- Western Leader

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