Pike daughter opens new nursery

Dana Pike-Van Vlake, 44, has opened a nursery in Snellville called The Family Tree Garden Center.

Pike-Van Vlake grew up in the nursery business, as the daughter of the founder of Pike Family Nurseries.

The more than 50-year-old chain at one time had more than 20 stores across the southeast. In 2004, the Pike family sold most of their interest in the company to a private equity firm. The chain filed for bankruptcy in 2007 after the historic Georgia drought.

Armstrong Garden Centers of California bought the chain out of bankruptcy in 2008, and kept the remaining stores operating under the Pike name.

Though family members are no longer involved in the Pike chain, Pike-Van Vlake said she missed it.

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“Once you get the nursery business in your blood, it’s hard to leave it,” she said.

She bought the Snellville location – which was a former Pike’s store -- last summer. She said her intention was to treat it as an investment. But then she hatched the idea to open her own nursery.

The new garden center, at 1983 East Main Street, will host a grand opening Friday through Sunday. The first 50 customers each day will get a free plant, and annuals will be deeply discounted all weekend, she said.

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