Nursery is moving into old Wal-Mart garden center |

Nursery is moving into old Wal-Mart garden center

Becky Bosshart
Appeal Staff Writer

Vacant for years and attracting only sea gulls, the old Wal-Mart garden center will soon be occupied by a plant nursery.

Gene Munnings, owner of Gem Ventures, said Friday he his moving his home-based business into Max Baer Jr.’s vacant Wal-Mart garden center. Munnings plans to open May 21.

Baer, the former “Beverly Hillbillies” star who bought the property for $4.3 million in August 2003, said he’s allowing Munnings to use the center rent free until Baer develops his controversial Jethro’s Beverly Hillbillies Mansion and Casino.

Development of the planned casino has been delayed because of a dispute between Baer and the two other property owners within the Southgate Shopping Center. The shopping center rules prohibit the development of a casino. Baer bought the property because he believed the other two property owners in the center would amend the rules.

“I’m letting him use it temporarily,” Baer said Friday. “He (Munnings) asked if he could use it and I said yes. Over the years I’ve let a variety of people use it – just outside, not inside the building. As long as they appear to be legitimate and have insurance so I don’t get sued if someone falls on the property.”

But Baer was a little out of the loop on what Munnings plans to do with the garden center. Baer said the Carson City man asked him if he could use it for storage, and didn’t ask him about using it for a business. But Baer isn’t opposed to that – “I don’t think I’d find any big deal with it.

“But it isn’t going to be long-term. I want to put in there what I want to put in there.”

Carson City is also a little out of the loop with Munnings’ new venture. An official with the business license office said Friday she has no record of a request from him to move the address of his business. In order to open as a business in a different location, he would have to have various inspections and fill out another application.

Munnings, who has operated his landscaping business out of his home since 1997, said he will sell all types of flowers, shrubs, trees and fertilizers from the 2,000-square-foot garden center. This year he’s invested about $10,000 into Gem Ventures.

Shelly Aldean, president of the Glenbrook Co., a property owner in the shopping center, said she was aware of Munnings’ plan to open the nursery.

“We think its a gross underutilization of the space,” she said. “I think it’s wonderful for Gene that he has a place at a reasonable price to run his nursery, but my understanding is that it’s only a temporary use.”

Munnings said he is excited to put a property back into the use that it was designed for. Munnings is also prepared to answer any of the questions his customers may have about development of the old Wal-Mart building. Munnings supports Baer’s planned $50 million casino.

“He’s going to build his casino there,” Munnings said. “There ain’t no Wal-Mart there as far as he’s concerned. That’s what it’s going to be – there is no reason for deviations. I agree with him that his business should be there.”

But that debate has been raging for about two years, with little sign of abatement.

Munnings’ nursery at 4209 S. Carson St. will be open Saturdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. Weekday times have not been set. For information call 530-0946.

n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.


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