John McAveeney, the owner of Sunshine Acres Nursery and Garden Center, along with his wife Maureen, literally grew up in the nursery business. His parents ran a nursery in New Hampshire for over 60 years and John has been in the business himself since 1957.
This is the seventh year of operation for the Chester nursery, located on Route 11 on the road to Springfield. Open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sunshine Acres has grown into the largest garden center in the Okemo Valley region, with five greenhouses and an extensive variety of plants and gardening supplies. Every year the McAveeneys bring in new varieties of plants and flowers, and this year is no exception. They are a certified Proven Winners nursery, which is the largest private label brand in the nation.
New this year also is the addition of Anita Basso, a well-known Chester resident, to the sales staff.
No matter what type of gardening you prefer, Sunshine Acres can meet your needs. They carry Knockout Brand rose bushes in red, yellow and pink colors. They have a full line of vegetables and herbs, which is an expanding part of the gardening business, John noted, as more people are involved in raising at least some of their own food on a regular basis.
The center also carries manure, mulch and soil, and a collection of fruit trees and berry bushes. They are famous for their extra large, colorful hanging baskets, and this year they have again expanded their line of perennials.
"The weather this spring has gotten the growing season off to a slow start," John said, "but we're really looking forward to Memorial Day Weekend, which is the startup of the summer growing season."
Sunshine Acres can be reached at 875-4911.