Weekly Feature

2017-12-06 / Local News

Nursery owner retires after 60 years in business


Davis Davis After more than 60 years as owner and operator of Queen City Nursery and Garden Center on Harlem Road, 92-year-old Dave Davis has retired.

“I had great fun, learned a great deal and met interesting, noteworthy people,” he said.

Davis got his start in the nursery business after attending Hobart College to study science. He later transferred to Cornell University, where he studied plant pathology.

“After that, I decided I had enough school, so I got a job at a nursery down in Westchester County,” Davis said.

But after one year as a plant supervisor, he was fired for antagonizing the staff.

“I knew too much for them.”

The following day Davis was hired at another local nursery and worked there for a year and a half before having a moment of insight.

“I said to myself, ‘If I can do it for these people, why can’t I do it for myself?’”

In the early 1950s, he returned to Buffalo and purchased Queen City Nursery from a family. The nursery sold “all kinds of plants for your home,” and housed a distinctive selection of concrete statuary from all around the United States.

After completing many decades in business, Davis attributes some of the nursery’s success to his belief in hiring young individuals.

“I’ve always believed in hiring young people because of their spirit, their enthusiasm and their eagerness to learn,” said Davis.

Davis also was a mentor to young track and field athletes as president of the Niagara Chapter of the Amateur Athletic Union for 50 years. One student he became close with, Mike Shine, won a silver medal in the 1976 Summer Olympics held in Montreal.

“I sat in the stands, and I was in tears,” said Davis. “They were my kids. My feeling is, if I could be of some help to them, why not?”

Davis’ friend Terri Campbell said helping young individuals find who they are was, and still is, “his gift.”

“He always made them look for challenges, encouraged them all and supported them in their decisions to go to college,” said Campbell. “He helped them find what the really loved.”

Even though Davis is retired, his desire to help has remained strong.

“I’m still going to find a way to help young people be more creative, and I figure I’ve got 10 years to do that.”

The nursery, located at 4000 Harlem Road, will close its doors on Wednesday, Dec. 6. There will be a final auction that day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for remaining statuary. For questions about the auction, visit cashauction.com.

(Story ideas for this feature can be sent to Amherst Bee Associate Editor Keaton T. DePriest, Bee Publications, 5564 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14221, or call 204-4917.)

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