A longtime Alle-Kiski gardeningGuru is retiring.

Dave Vargo is the owner of Kiski Gardens Center in Allegheny Township. He announced his retirement last week.

A large banner outside his company reads “Time To Retire — Garden Center For Sale.”

Vargo, 68 said that he did the math, and told his son it was now time to retire after 41-years in horticulture.

“It’s tough. I really don’t want to go, but I have to go,” Vargo said. “Everything will be the same — except I just won’t be here seven days a week.”

All year round, full-service gardenCenter with seven greenhouses is located on 991 South Leechburg Hill Road. The business is available turn-key for $200,000

Vargo doesn’t own the building; he leases the property from Marvin Williams of Apollo. Vargo estimated that the monthly rent would be around $1,600 per month, but he didn’t have an exact figure.

Vargo stated that Spring inventory was already ordered.

“It’s a screaming deal,” said Vargo, adding that the sale includes all inventory and equipment — plus two 15-year-old resident sibling felines named Mary Kate and Ashley.

Linda Ban, manager of the garden center, stated that the cats have never been to another place.

“It’s all they know,”Ban spoke of the felines that provide rodent patrols on the grounds. “They’re good at mousing and getting chipmunks.”

Vargo said he’d love to see a landscaper buy the business because it’s a fixture in the Alle-Kiski Valley.

“People come from all over — Butler, Pittsburgh — it’s a good opportunity, and the goal is to keep it a garden center.”

Vargo learned to play the guitar as a teenager. gardenTony, his late uncle. He received a degree in horticulture at Penn State University. Vargo wrote columns about horticulture for years. gardeningValley News Dispatch, and other publications.

“I’ve never lived anywhere else,”Vargo, who lives near Gilpin, said: “It didn’t matter to me whatever came up — here I am. I stayed.”

Ban said the news of the sale and Vargo’s impending retirement came as a surprise.

“I guess I wasn’t ready for this,”Ban, who has managed the center from 1994 to this day, considers Vargo a friend.

Customers can expect that they will continue to shop even though the deal is over. gardenCenter is on the market.

“It will be open, business as usual,”Ban.

Maddie Mastalerz (16 years old), works part-time to water, plant, and help customers. Since she was a small girl, she has always been a regular customer at the store, especially when she visits the cats.

Kiski’s Leechburg Area High School student said that she hopes to meet someone. “as nice as Dave”The center is bought. ”Someone who works hard, treats his employees good and puts in the hours.”

The business is located on three acres and offers a year round Christmas shop, pet memorials as well as succulents, fountains for birds, bird food, pet supplies and wind chimes. It also has wind chimes and decor, windchimes and shrubs for trees, plants, flowers, and just about any other landscaping needs. gardeningYou have to.

Vargo stated that he will be focusing on his family and landscaping needs at his home during retirement.

“I’m going to miss the people and the growing,” Vargo said. “I like growing tomatoes the most — they just taste so good.”

Vargo stated that key employees will continue to be there and will mentor the new owner.

“It’s established. The new owner will be making money the day they turn the key,” Vargo said.

Joyce Hanz, a Tribune-Review staff journalist, is available. Joyce Hanz can be reached at 724-226-7725, [email protected], or via Twitter

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