CONWAY — McSherry’s Nursery and Garden Center changed hands on Dec. 20, 2019, when it was purchased by Jeff and Elaine O’Donal of O’Donal’s Nursery Inc. of Gorham, Maine.
The longtime garden center located at 2599 E. Main St. in Center Conway was sold by Gail McSherry, who has been assisted in the family business by her daughter, Paige Fox.
McSherry’s started in the early 1960s, according to Gail McSherry, who purchased the business from her parents, Tom and Dorothy McSherry in 1982 and operated it since then.
Former Fryeburg, Maine, selectman Rick Eastman said his grandfather Harold Eastman established a business there in the 1950s as a retail stand for Western Maine Nurseries of Fryeburg. Harold sold the business to his son, Robert, who sold it to the McSherrys, Rick said.
"I've known Jeff O'Donal since we were kids. He is a good man," Rick Eastman said Tuesday.
Gail McSherry noted: "We couldn't be more pleased than to have Jeff and Elaine purchase our business. There is no one else on this Earth that I would rather have than Jeff."
She said her father Tom McSherry, who lived in Fryeburg, and Jeff O'Donal's father, Royce O'Donal, were friends and colleagues in the Maine nursery community.
She said when she and Paige decided to put the nursery up for sale, she immediately called Jeff and asked if he would be interested. She said he called back in a half-hour, agreeing to the sale.
O’Donal’s Nursery has operated its growing and landscape design business in Gorham since 1950.
Jeff and Elaine O’Donal said they look forward to offering landscaping work, design and consulting, garden structuring tools and products, and offering gift shop items at their new location in the Mount Washington Valley.
"I am someone who likes the mountains and the outdoors who has always been an outdoorsman," Jeff said Tuesday. "I have always been interested in the area, so when Gail called my wife and I, we saw the opportunity there."
He said that he hopes many of the current staff will remain, and also will be bringing in a few from his Gorham store as well. Some layout changes are contemplated as well, including opening up the sight lines on the property and moving the bulk compost pile in order to offer different types of mulches that they currently sell at their Gorham store.
Other possible improvements include widening the delivery driveway and other actions which he says no doubt will require him to appear before the Conway Planning Board and also to get approval from the state Department of Transportation concerning access off Route 302.
The property has some wetland limitations that restrict overall development, with a brook dividing the property.
O'Donal said he sees the acquisition as a good business opportunity, noting he sees potential for serving the commercial and condominium markets.
"We will bring it into the present with new varieties and 'woodie' plants, which is my forte, along with the perennial plants that have been offered in the past," said O'Donal.
David Cianciolo of Badger Realty LLC managed the sale on behalf of McSherry’s.
Financing of the sale was arranged by Sue Perry of Union Bank. Attorney Andrew Dean of Cooper Cargill Chant conducted the closing on behalf of the lender; Alpine Title was the legal representative for the O’Donals, and attorney David Hastings represented McSherry's.
For more information, call the O'Donals at (207) 839-4262 or go to odonals.com.