70 Years’ Growth

Way back in 1947, when Roswell, New Mexico, was experiencing UFO trouble and a postage stamp cost three cents, Harvey Sprague, Sr., opened the doors on his eponymous business in Bangor. Initially focusing on car sales, the business started mowing lawns on the side to make a little extra money. That developed into planting services, which in turn grew into a greenhouse and expanded services.

Now, 70 years down the line, Sprague’s Nursery & Garden Center has become a full-service garden center incorporating 17 greenhouses, retail and wholesale facilities. It’s known for providing locally grown seedlings, annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs, according to Melissa Higgins, Sprague’s wholesale manager, but there’s bigger inventory at play—much bigger.

“One of the things that makes [Sprague’s] unique is we provide large trees and shrubs that you’d never find at a big box store,” she said. “You’d need machinery to move these things around. When we got that big oil spike a few years ago, many mom and pop stores had to close because they couldn’t afford to run a greenhouse all winter. We’re one of the only greenhouses that is still growing and propagating their own plant material.”

To celebrate its 70th anniversary, Sprague’s is holding a Shrub Crawl & Spring Plant Preview April 7-9 based on the success of a similar, more intimate event last year. Attendees can expect an expanded garden show-style event, said Higgins, featuring many of the vendors Sprague’s works with directly.

“People can come and check out who we buy from, and why we buy from them,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for people to come and learn, ask questions from the real experts in the industry.”

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