Monches Farm, a pastoral garden center near Holy Hill, is closing
Monches Farm, a popular nursery and gift shop near Holy Hill in Washington County, is closing after more than 35 years in business.
Owners Scott Sieckman and Matt Kastell, who made the spot a destination — with its field-grown perennials, pastoral charm and flock of exotic chickens wandering the grounds — will shut down on June 30.
Prompting the decision are a combination of factors, including shifting market trends and the seven-day-a-week physical burdens of the work, Kastell said Friday.
“It’s a very demanding business and, really, times have changed,” he said.
Monches Farm has been affected by competition from big-box stores with garden centers, by online retailers and by changing approaches to gardening, Kastell said.
“There are not really these gardens any more that people used to create years ago with a big variety of perennials and herbs and native grasses,” he said. “And that was our specialty.”
“The customers who had these more-elaborate gardens, they’re kind of dying off,” he said.
Kastell said several small nurseries have closed in the area. While Monches Farm is diversified — it includes a landscaping business and the gift store as well as the nursery — profits have shrunk.
“When it comes to the bottom line, 15 years ago we made more money than we’re making now,” Kastell said.
Also a factor was an unsolicited offer Sieckman and Kastell received for the 13.5-acre property, which includes the nursery, several buildings and a house, part of which dates to 1842. The buyers, a Mequon couple, made the purchase last October.
“They came and approached us, so that kind of pushed us to the point where we wanted to make a decision,” Kastell said.
He and Sieckman also operate Ramhorn Farm, a European farmstead-style wedding venue in Ozaukee County that in 2016 hosted filming for the ABC television show "The Bachelor."
Kastell, 56, said he and Sieckman, 60, will continue to grow plants for a small group of landscaping customers. They also hope to be able to stage open houses at Ramhorn Farm twice a year, selling plants in the spring and wreaths and other Christmas items in winter.
Beginning Tuesday, Monches Farm, 5890 Monches Road in the Town of Erin, will be open daily through June 30, with prices discounted.
Contact Rick Romell at (414) 224-2130 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @RickRomell