WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Independent, family-owned businesses are not that common anymore, especially those that survive through multiple generations.
Smith’s Gardentown has been supplying and helping North Texas green thumbs since being founded in 1949 by C.O. Smith Sr., and his son Curtis W. Smith. It is now being operated by third-generation family members Katherine Smith and Steve Smith, with a fourth-generation also participating. Owner Katherine Smith said it’s a tough business and keeping it all in the family has helped it survive the good and bad years.
“It’s one of the few businesses where all of your inventory can die if you ignore it for a day or two,” Smith said. “So, you’ve got to be here all of the time, many long hours, and unless you’ve got some ownership interest in, you know it’s just not going to happen.”
On Tuesday, State Representative James Frank announced Smith’s Gardentown as a Texas Treasure Business Award winner which goes to a business that has provided employment opportunities and support to the state’s economy for 50 years or more. Frank said it is rare to have a business last this long.
“It points to a very successful business because businesses can’t make it that long unless they’ve been successful,” Frank said. “It’s pretty rare, I’ve only done I think three of these and I’ve got six counties, over seven years.”
Smith said Smith’s has survived three of the worst natural disasters that can hit a nursery, a massive hail storm in the fifties, a tornado in the seventies and the drought of this century.
“We’ve had several major disasters that we’ve had to overcome, yet we are still here,” Smith said. “That’s thanks to our great employees and our great customers and the great people of this community. So, we can’t say enough about how glad we are to still be here.”
With 70 years already behind them, Smith hopes they can continue to serve the people for generations to come.
The Texas Treasure Business Awards are coordinated through the Texas Historical Commission and a special decal identifying the business as a Texas treasure will be displayed at Smith’s Gardentown.