The next chapter in the story of Geiger's Home & Garden, in a move from its longtime home in Westport, is unfolding in New Canaan.

May 10 marked the official opening of Geiger's new nursery and landscaping operation on Frogtown Road in that town. The former home of Frogtown Farms & Nurseries, the three-acre parcel now will house Geiger's landscaping services, as well as a retail store.

The Westport property at 1135 Post Road East is to be redeveloped into a multi-use complex.

The hope of founder Frank Geiger is that the new garden center can be a place that's more than just a business, but a kind of park for those seeking respite.

"I'm going to set it up like a little park out here," said Geiger, who bought the Westport-based business in 1973, though its history dates back 20 years prior. "I want to have a little place to sit ... a place for just a quiet time, not to make money."

Two ponds on the property are stocked with bass and trout, and Geiger hopes that senior citizens and kids will stop by with their fishing poles to enjoy the spot.

"It's a nice place, and we'll make real good use of it," he said.

"It's beautiful," said Mitch Schwartz of Darien, who paid a visit for the opening celebration, which included a ribbon-cutting by New Canaan First Selectman Robert Mallozzi, food and pony rides. "It's like a park. It's really nice. It just feels like you're in a little reserve."

"We looked at this place last year and it had a beautiful park-like setting," said manager Joe Basone. "Mr. Geiger is really concerned about the seniors and he wants to make this like a park.

"But we're going to be a full-line garden center, as well, with annuals and perennial trees and shrubs."

A staff of around 100 includes a full landscaping service, which is housed toward the back of the property, as well as masons and wood workers, craftsmen and four landscape architects. Along with general landscape work, the company also offers construction of peripheral outdoor areas, such as terraces, pool areas and more.

"Our main thing is landscape design," Basone said. "That's what we specialize in."

He noted the design work of Geiger's was central to its reputation. "That's our mainstay -- our design technique."

At the same time, he said, in New Canaan Geiger's will be offering a variety of retail items suited to horticultural, beginning with the spring season.

"In terms of retail, flowering trees, shrubs, roses," he said. "There's such a vast line of material here, but we specialize in landscape-size plants -- plants of good size that are going to fit right in with the existing landscape."

Architectural offices for Geiger's will be maintained in Westport, Fairfield, Greenwich and White Plains, N.Y., he said, though the nuts-and-bolts operation, as well as retail, now resides in New Canaan.

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