Friday, July 8, 2016
By KALEA HALL
Mashorda has made the hard decision to close his business, Mashorda’s County Gardens at 5637 Mahoning Ave. after 20 years in business. “There comes a time in everyone’s life when you have to say when,” Mashorda said. Mashorda decided in February that his time was now.
Ray Mashorda is about to change his life.
That being said, it’s understandable that he would shed a few tears telling his story.
Mashorda has made the hard decision to close his business, Mashorda’s County Gardens at 5637 Mahoning Ave., after 20 years of helping people make eye-catching landscapes.
“There comes a time in everyone’s life when you have to say ‘when,’” Mashorda said.
Mashorda, 61, decided in February that his time is now.
The store’s liquidation sale will start July 14. All of the nursery stock will be 50 percent off, and all in-store and bagged items will be 25 percent off.
“There are some opportunities to sell my property and basically retire,” he said.
That doesn’t mean this process isn’t hard for Mashorda, who started in the gardening business at a young age with his father, the late Ray Mashorda.
His father opened his Country Gardens business in 1949 in Austintown. It closed in 1995 after he died.
“My dad just got into it,” Mashorda said. “He started out doing landscaping.”
The late Mashorda started the business with a fifth-grade education.
“At one time, he had the largest garden center in the area,” Mashorda said. “My father has been gone for 21 years, and people still come up to me and tell me how much they loved my dad and what a great guy he was and how kind-hearted he was. I have tried to live in those shoes for 21 years.”
After his father died, Mashorda knew he had to stay in the business. He moved to a new location up the street and opened his own garden center on 11⁄2 acres.
Today, he has 4 acres and says business has been good for him in these past 20 years.
“It’s hard work,” Mashorda said. “It’s every day.”
Mashorda, who left school in the 10th grade at 16 to work with his father, was taught work ethics and business knowledge. A main piece of advice he remembers from his father was to be honest.
“To be successful in this type of business, you have to have good knowledge, you have to have good connections, you have to have vision and a sense of trying to be able to look ahead at what’s coming,” Mashorda said.
As with any business, there are challenges. Garden centers have to deal with the weather, competition and finding the workers needed for the job.
“I have a good group of core employees,” Mashorda said. “Some of my employees have been with me for 18 years.”
The garden center sells annuals and perennials, nursery stock and bulk material of mulch, stone and soil.
In addition to the merchandise being on sale, everything else is on the market — including the land. Mashorda is marketing the property for $1.8 million with the Edward J. Lewis real-estate company of Youngstown. A few developers already have expressed interest in the property, which is across from the proposed Meijer grocery store.
Mashorda will run the sale on plants and other products for three to four weeks. He has no set-in-stone closing date as of now.
“There’s a lot of emotion walking away from what you spent your life doing,” he said. “I just decided this was ‘when.’ It was a tough decision. This was my opportunity to do something else.”
Mashorda doesn’t know exactly what that “something else” will be, but he does have some job opportunities.
“My real plan is to move to Florida and go to work for a while,” he said.