Midtown Nursery growing strong roots in the community
By Kristan Huntley
Many may have thought Mike Earnest crazy when he decided to come out of semi-retirement and use his personal savings to begin Midtown Nursery. Three years later, Mike is still going strong, talking to customers and enjoying the outdoors, even in the Memphis heat.
Prior to beginning Midtown Nursery, Mike Earnest was in charge of the plant department at the East Gate Ike’s location. He helped grow the lawn and garden section to around $10,000. In the process, he gained a lot of knowledge about plant purchasing, how to work with vendors, and what works well in Memphis.
When the location at Central and Cooper came available, Mike thought that the space, though small, would be an ideal start for a plant business. With his own savings and building on relationships with local providers he met through Ike’s, he opened Midtown Nursery in March 2008. Since that time, business has steadily grown and Midtown Nursery is now the proud sponsor of both the Central Gardens and the Cooper-Young Yard of the Month programs. Mike loves being involved in the Midtown community and actively works to keep his sources as local as possible. If by chance there is something a customer asks for that he doesn’t carry, he tries to send the person to another local, small business so money stays in the area.
Last year Mike also opened up a Midtown Nursery in East Memphis on Poplar Ave. where Stringers Garden Center had been located. Though it has meant splitting time, the temporary expansion has allowed him to direct potential customers to the Midtown location and gain word of mouth exposure. The East Memphis location of Midtown Nursery closed June 27.
Midtown Nursery doesn’t just have plants. From containers to fertilizer to bird baths, there’s a bit of everything. Mike’s team also consists of Faye Garrner and Fran Terhorst who love to help with specialty items such as gifts and houseplants. They all adore Midtown and are passionate about the business. If you get a chance, stop by and say hi. And keep working on your yard, because if you get picked for Yard of the Month, you win a gift certificate at the Nursery!