Sunflower gardeners in Ashfield, Oregon, were stunned to find their garden center closed earlier this month.
The Ashland Sunflower Nursery closed to make way for a new location in Ashville, Oregon after one-month lease terms expired.
The nursery will continue to serve customers through the end of June.
Ashland Sunflowers owner Chris Evans says he was shocked to learn of the closure, which he says was the result of “federal and local policies that have been a nightmare for me.”
“I don’t want anyone to feel like we’re under siege.
We’re not,” he said.
Evans said he was able to reopen Sunflower in August with the help of a grant from the American Foundation for the Arts, but the facility is still undergoing renovations.
He said he will continue serving customers through this busy season.
“The sunflowers are going to be on display.
I’m going to take advantage of the fact that they are out of business,” Evans said.
“I’m not going to have to be afraid to open a new business.
The new owners are going, ‘I want a business in this city.'”
He added, “They’re trying to get us to make changes.”
The Sunflower Gardens, which is located on the Ashland River, was a hub for local artists and artists’ groups.
But with the closure of the Sunflower, Evans said it was time to focus on the next tenant.
“I want to do a better job with my community,” he added.
The move came just months after the Ashville City Council approved a $200,000 grant to help open a location in the city.
The project is set to open in the fall of 2019.
Follow Amber Lee on Twitter at @amarieehoward.