Snow's Garden and Landscaping Center has been serving Charlottesville, Lake Anna, Waynesboro and the surrounding area for almost 100 years.
The business was founded in 1912, when Leroy H. Snow and his new wife Maggie came to Charlottesville from Upstate New York with their newborn son. They started a "market garden" raising vegetables and garden plants and selling them to local stores and residents. Leroy had previously worked in a market garden, and this was an opportunity to put his green thumb to work with a business of his own.
Maggie's father owned land on Carlton Avenue, just southeast of downtown, and let Leroy and Maggie use it to plant and raise a variety of vegetables - everything from sweet potatoes to kale. They also raised and sold flowers and vegetable plants. They bought an old greenhouse located on Pantops Mountain and relocated it to the Carlton Avenue lot, where it stood until 1970.
In those early days, the business was simply known as "Snow's" or "Snow's lot." Later, they bought a large house on a half-acre lot on Carlton Avenue for $1,800 and turned it into Snow's first retail outlet.
It was a family business from the beginning. The Snow's first child, Leroy W. - who was born the same year that his parents started the business - remembered helping to raise vegetables and plants as a young boy, and delivering them to local stores and other customers.
In 1936, the younger Leroy Snow took over the business, by then called "Snow's Nursery," and expanded it to sell trees and shrubs along with landscaping and maintenance services - including a large-tree removal and replanting service. His wife, Viola, became the bookkeeper. (They also opened a florist business, then sold it in 1969.)
In 1950, Leroy W. started the "SnowKnows" radio program, giving advice and tips to weekend gardeners and do-it-yourself landscapers. The show continues today, 59 years later, on WINA 1070 AM radio every Saturday morning - making it the longest continuously running gardening show in America. Leroy's son Duane and now his grandson Corbin have hosted the show over the years.
In 1970, Leroy's son Duane graduated from Brigham Young University in Utah and returned home to Charlottesville with his wife Rena to work in the family business. In 1978, Duane and Rena took over management of what was then called "Snow's Garden and Landscape Center." In order to continue growing, they relocated the business to prime hilltop acreage that the Snow family owned on 1875 Avon Street Extended.
Snow's Garden and Landscape Center passed to the fourth generation of the Snow family when Duane and Rena retired. Duane and Rena's son, Corbin Snow, now serves as president.
Today, the business serves thousands of customers a year and employs almost 50 people, including seasonal employees.
Snow's has become an icon of Charlottesville and the surrounding area. It is renowned for its landscape design, the quality of its plants and other products, and the expertise of its staff. It stands ready to serve Central Virginia for generations to come.