Wrapping up his last season, Tim Myers estimates he has sold 740 tons of strawberries over the last three decades.
The Strawberry Patch’s last day of business was May 24, after selling 22 tons of the berries just this year. Thirty years ago, Tim and his wife, Bonita, were looking for something they could do that would involve their family of four young children and generate some extra income. They made a decision to grow the berries after they visited another patch in North Augusta.
“We thought we were far enough away that we can carve out a niche here,” Tim said of the business on Hwy 25. A fellow strawberry farmer from Montezuma, Georgia helped the couple get started. “By ourselves, it would have probably been a little much to bite off.”
The venture paid off. Growing and selling strawberries gave the Myers children work experience and the opportunity to learn how to manage a business. The Strawberry Patch grew to the point that Tim was able to quit his day job.
Five years ago, they downsized from three to 1.5 acres. The move allowed the couple to sell more berries locally and worry less about transporting their product to other markets. Now both in their 60s, the couple has decided it’s time to retire. However, none of the grown children are in a position to assume the role of business owner.
“They have gone on to other things, missions and so forth, and feel like they have found their callings,” Tim said. “I can totally support that.”
News that the Myers were shutting down circulated by word-of-mouth after they announced it on their Facebook page. The business may not fall to the curbside though. Several people expressed interest in purchasing the business, but after all the work they have put into it, the couple doesn’t want to sell to just anybody. Tim said they are in talks with two gentlemen about buying it. For the Myers couple, selling the business means selling their home and building a new house on another part of their land. The strawberries are grown close to where they currently live. Tim said he would mentor the new owners at least for the first year. “We haven’t worked through the details, and when it comes down to it, I don’t know what will work out, but we are optimistic,” Tim said. “These folks are farmers so I think they know a little bit about the work involved. They might not be well trained in growing strawberries but could easily pick up on what they needed to on that.”
Growing strawberries is demanding work during the months of April and May. Tim said. And as he enters retirement, he will not miss the “back-breaking” work involved. However, his life revolved around The Strawberry Patch and he says he will miss the structure that growing the strawberries provided. He will also miss the satisfaction of growing a crop.
“I will probably get over it,” he said jokingly.
Tim edits for a publishing house and anticipates that he will expand his writing. He also enjoys woodworking and intends to focus more on it. Bonita will continue to raise collies. The couple also has 22 grandchildren scattered from Puerto Rico to Pennsylvania to Canada. They couple expect to travel and spend more time with family.
“We want to give the credit to the Lord for making so many things work out, just a lot of details that seem to have fallen in place. It’s been a blessing.” Tim said. “We would like to thank all of our customers. It has been a blessing to meet people and to relate to people. We’ve been overwhelmed with the expression of appreciation that people have given and we are thankful.”