Top Story, June 2013
Allison’s Greenhouse owners ready to retire
This year is the end of an era for many gardeners in Pulaski County and surrounding counties in Virginia with the announcement that a popular greenhouse business is for sale.
Walter and Emily Dobyns, owners of the business, have decided that it is time to retire and have advertised Allison’s Greenhouse in Dublin for sale. The family-owned business was founded by Emily’s father, J. Ralph Allison, with the help of her mother, Virginia, and operated for a while by Emily’s brother, Paul. Allison’s Greenhouse is known for its quality plants.
Walter and Emily bought the business from Paul in 1982 and moved it from the family farm in Draper, Va., to its current location on Route 100 just off Interstate 81 at Exit 98.
Emily’s mother had a special interest in herbs, which continue to be one of the popular types of plant being sold at the nursery.
“We’ve provided seasonal flowers, vegetables and containers to folks in Bland, Wythe, Pulaski, Montgomery, Floyd and Giles counties,” Walter said of their niche business.
He explained that people in this 50-mile radius of the nursery come each spring for bedding plants because of the growers’ reputation for quality. They have done little advertising, relying on satisfied customers to spread the news of their business by word of mouth.
During an interview at the greenhouse, Walter discussed their philosophy when asked about the effects of this unusual spring’s weather on their business.
“We’ve been in the business long enough to know you can’t rush Mother Nature,” Walter said.
He and Emily expressed the hope that the new owners, whoever they may be, will continue to serve their loyal customers as they have.
The couple finds it exciting that they are seeing a renewed interest in gardening and landscaping. They believe it is being driven, in part, by magazines and television shows about horticulture.
Walter, a retired middle school music teacher and band director, noted that he has no training in horticulture. He has learned from other growers, reading and attending various industry events.
He finds this to be an exciting time for the nursery business with new plants being discovered and lots of research that is creating new varieties of plants. He sees the industry growing toward a more educated customer base and a society that is more interested in natural life styles.
In today’s society where people tend to want everything “now,” nursery plants are filling a need for beauty earlier in the growing season than in the days “of our grandmothers,” as Walter called the time period, when they scattered the flower seeds and waited for them to grow. People wanting to grow and cook their own food are also a factor, he noted.
Allison’s Greenhouse is located at 5062 Woodlyn Street, Dublin, Va., on two acres of land and has a total of 14,484 square feet of heated greenhouse space in seven greenhouses, the Dobyns report. There are a number of other buildings and their home included in the sale offering.
More information is available at www.vagreenhouse.blogspot.com, by email at
or by calling (540) 674-6960.