A well-known pet and garden store in East Longmeadow has been under the same ownership since 1985, but as of this past summer, it has new owners: the employees themselves.
A.W. Brown’s Hometown Pet and Garden Store has been a go-to business in East Longmeadow since 1970. Tom Wheeler took over in 1985 and brought the store from Maple Street to Shaker Road in the mid-1990s. Last year, Wheeler told Western Mass News it was time to retire.
“It all started several years ago when we started to think about the future of the company and what will be in the best interest of everybody, including the local community,” Tom Wheeler explained.
Wheeler had options on the table. He could sell the business or close up shop for good, but there was a third option for the near 70-year-old: let his own loyal employees take over. It was a difficult path he decided to take.