News Flash

Businesses of the Month

Posted on: December 1, 2023

December 2023: Almo's Flower & Garden Center

almos7

almos13Back when he was a kid, Andre Daigle would pedal his bike the three miles from his home on Mt. Washington Street in Lowell to 313 Willard Street in Dracut to pump gas at his father’s station.

In addition to the gas station, Albert Daigle Sr. operated several other businesses at the site, including Almo’s Flower & Garden Center, which he opened in 1973.

These days, Andy owns Almo’s Flower & Garden Center as it celebrates 50 years in business, and he has turned the business into one of the most popular garden centers in the Merrimack Valley.

almos7Almo’s Flower & Garden Center is Dracut Economic Development’s Business of the Month for December 2023.

 “I was pumping gas when I was 12,” Andy says. “I would have to ride my bike here or take a cab. I used to have to pay my sister to do my paper route so I could come here and not get paid.”

Andy took over management of Almo’s in 1986 at the age of 22. He bought the business in 2007 and doesn’t need his bicycle to get to work anymore. He lives next door.

“In ’86, I owned my own landscaping company, so I started bringing leftover mulch here to Almo’s and selling it,” he says.

almos6Now 59, Andy represents the third generation of Daigles running businesses at that location.

The Daigles have operated a variety of enterprises at the Willard Street site for close to a century. Andy’s grandfather, Albert L. Daigle, bought the property and opened an ice-cream stand where he also sold chickens. At the back of the property, Albert L. showed movies, and his son, Albert A. Daigle Sr., sold popcorn. That popcorn vendor would go on to become a CPA, start his own tax business, add an insurance agency a few years later, and then open Almo’s Flower & Garden Center with his brother, Maurice (hence the name Almo’s), all on the same plot of land where they all still stand.

Other businesses the elder Daigles operated on the site over the years include a variety store and fruit stand, a trucking company and a small-engine repair shop.almos2

Daigle Tax Service is now run by Andy’s brother, Al Jr., and the insurance agency by his sisters, Diane Kwiecinski and Nicole Dion.

Andy and his five employees stay busy year-round at Almo’s.

Though December is not the craziest time – according to Andy, May and September claim that distinction – it is nevertheless a busy month, as, in addition to Christmas trees, Almo’s sells wreaths, kissing balls and other holiday items, all of which are decorated on the premises.

Like all providers of Christmas trees, Almo’s is restricted by a shortage of fir trees the last few years in Canada, where production has been down over the past few years due to, among other factors, drought, forest fires and farmers aging out.

almos10“We used to get 17,000 trees, but this year we’re getting 9,700,” Andy said. “And we used to get trees as tall as 16 feet, but now we’re getting 4 to 9 feet.”

In addition to selling trees at the Dracut location, Almo’s acts as a wholesaler for other retailers as far away as Cohasset, and they provide trees and other Christmas items for fundraisers run by Boy Scouts, dance studios and other organizations both inside and outside Dracut.

Many Christmas decorations at Almo’s are adorned with bows that are produced in-house by Linda Baker.

Other items you can purchase at Almo’s at certain times of the year include:

-- Gnomes

-- Grass seed

-- Fertilizer

-- Rose arbor swings

-- Seven kinds of mulchalmos3

almos5-- Products for your fairy garden

-- Firewood

-- Loam

-- A full line of plants and shrubs

-- Perennials

-- Trees

Andy also supplies other farms in the area with items they need. For instance, the rainy summer was not conducive to a strong pumpkin crop in this region, so he trucked in 22 trailers of pumpkins this fall, each trailer weighing 40,000 pounds.

If you walk around the grounds at Almo’s, you’ll see sheds containing different seasonal items -- one contains lawn ornaments, another gardening equipment, for instance – but you can also buy the sheds.

One thing Almo’s has that you might not find elsewhere is Amish-made items. A few times a year, Andy makes the pilgrimage to Amish country in Pennsylvania, where his face has become a familiar and welcome one.

“We’ve been heavy into Amish furniture the last few years,” Andy said, especially since the Amish started making much of their furniture with polyethylene rather than wood, making it much more resistant to the whims of New England’s weather.

almos6In addition to furniture, Almo’s is well-stocked with other Amish-made products, including festive holiday items.almos1

With 47 years and counting working at 313 Willard Street, Andy foresees a time when Almo’s may no longer remain in the family.

“I’ve been doing it for a long time,” he said.

He has two kids – Andre Jr., a Navy veteran who works at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and Kaitlin, who runs the Boardwalk Café in Hampton, N.H. (and a grandson, 2-year-old Demetrius) -- neither of whom has a desire to follow in dad’s footsteps.

But that’s all in the future. For now, it’s all Christmas all the time at Almo’s.

For more information on Almo’s call 978-453-2121, or email Andy Daigle at andy_d@almos.net.

 

CAPTIONS

Get your firewood at Almo’s Flower & Garden Center. (COURTESY ALMO’S)

Amish-made statuary is known for the finely carved details. It’s available at Almo’s. (COURTESY ALMO’S)

In what was a bad year for pumpkins in this region, Almo’s Flower & Garden Center provided many local farms with their pumpkins, bringing them in from Amish country. (COURTESY ALMO’S)

Among the Amish-made items Almo’s stocks are Adirondack chairs made of durable polyethylene. (COURTESY ALMO’S)

Highly detailed figurines and ornaments made by the Amish. (DRACUT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PHOTO)

Almo’s has your lawn and garden needs all year-round. (DRACUT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PHOTO)

Get your Peanuts figurines at Almo’s. (DRACUT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PHOTO)

Andrew Daigle shows one of Almo’s quality Christmas trees. (DRACUT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PHOTO)

Get your firewood at Almo’s Flower & Garden Center. (COURTESY ALMO’S)

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Businesses of the Month

Dracut Appliance Center logo

February 2024: Dracut Appliance Center

Posted on: February 1, 2024
From left, Maria, Marco, Oto and Marcella Albanese. (ALBANESE BROTHERS PHOTO)

January 2024: Albanese Brothers

Posted on: January 1, 2024
Nallie Pastures

NOVEMBER 2023: NALLIE PASTURES

Posted on: November 1, 2023
Ron Kolek prepares for his “Ghost Chronicles International” radio program. (COURTESY FACEBOOK)

October 2023: New England Ghost Project

Posted on: October 1, 2023
Dadiala Family Dentistry

August 2023: Dadiala Family Dentistry

Posted on: August 1, 2023
8: Tea and a protein bowl with more than 30 grams of protein (COURTESY NUTRITION JUNCTION)

July 2023: Nutrition Junction

Posted on: July 2, 2023
Kids show off their artwork at Hammar’s Studio. (COURTESY HAMMAR’S STUDIO)

JUNE 2023: HAMMAR'S STUDIO

Posted on: June 1, 2023
Lenzi’s is a favorite destination spot in the Merrimack Valley. (DRACUT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PHOTO)

May 2023: Lenzi's Catering

Posted on: May 1, 2023
Kal Hamze at Kal's Automotive Center

April 2023: Kal's Automotive Center

Posted on: April 12, 2023

March 2023: Daigle Tax Service

Posted on: April 12, 2023

January 2023: SMART Defense Tactics

Posted on: April 12, 2023

December 2022: Enterprise Bank

Posted on: April 12, 2023

November 2022: The Arbors at Dracut

Posted on: April 12, 2023

September 2022: Brox Farm

Posted on: April 12, 2023

July 2022: Scola's Restaurant

Posted on: April 12, 2023

June 2022: Shaw Farm

Posted on: April 12, 2023

May 2022: Farmer Dave's

Posted on: April 12, 2023

January 2022: Essex Silver-Line

Posted on: April 12, 2023

December 2021: Lily Mack Farm

Posted on: April 12, 2023