Joe Summers and his wife Tonya always wanted to open a garden shop of their own. Joe, who used to work at the Missouri Botanical Garden, is a professional horticulturist with a passion for water plants. During his time with the botanical garden, he said he cultivated a new lily hybrid, the Victoria Adventure, which you can find floating in the main lily pond in front of the Climatron. More recently, he was the vice president of operations at Anjon Manufacturing, a company that produces water garden supplies, such as pumps and pond kits. Joe said that he cut back to being a consultant for Anjon so he would have time to pursue his latest and most personal venture, Chalily Pond and Gardens.
The new shop in Manchester is not named after an exotic water lily, but after the Summers’ two children, Chas and Lillian.
"We'll have to name our third child 'Pond,'" Joe said to the Manchester Board of Aldermen when he got his permit for the new business.
Tonya said they’ve been looking for a location for their garden shop for some time.
“We wanted to buy in an area where people can see the ponds,” she said. They also wanted to be centrally located for West County gardeners, who the Summers said, are underserved when it comes to water gardening. They looked into several locations along Manchester Road and finally found the perfect spot at 14430 Manchester Road, west of Route 141 and across from Kohl’s.
The small, converted house on Manchester Road was previously an insurance office. The Summers only needed a few gallons of paint to transform the interior of the office, but it’s taking the work of a backhoe to renovate the front lawn. The Summers are digging a show pond in front of the shop to attract the attention of drivers just feet away on Manchester Road.
The 11-foot-by 18-foot pond will have a 5-foot-tall, double-sided waterfall and a stream for kids to race rubber ducks on Saturdays. The pond will be stocked with Koi fish and water plants, some of the store's merchandise. Fish tanks will be housed in the building’s detached garage and next to that they’ll set up tables for water plants. To entice shoppers to check out the store, Chalily will offer three free water hyacinth plants just for stopping by.
The Summers want to make Chalily a full-service garden shop for people interested in adding a water feature to their yard or attracting birds to their garden. One room of the store will be dedicated to gardening education, with books to read and videos to watch on water gardening. The shop stocks everything a gardener needs to create a pond, from patio-sized containers and pond liners, to pumps, fish and plants. Joe said a simple “whiskey barrel” water feature can be put together for about $120. Chalily also sells fish food and bird feeders.
The store is now open for business. Hours are 1 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
On the Horizon:
- ATA Martial Arts will open a new academy at 14439 Manchester Road, west of Highway 141, on May 2. The academy will teach martial arts, self defense and fitness to both children and adults.
- MassageLuxe, a St. Louis-based chain of spas that offer massage, facials and waxing services, will open a new location in the Manchester Highlands shopping plaza this fall. MassageLuxe currently has six locations in the St. Louis area and over 400 open or developing nationwide. The company was founded by Todd Beckman, who also started the Tan Company.
- The national economy will continue to strengthen according to a survey of 56 economists conducted by the is The Wall Street Journal. The survey predicts an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent and oil prices below $100 a barrel by December.