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A family tradition returns

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - In the tradition of Hank the Petunia King, his son is making a go of it again.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – Dennis Engh comes from good stock.

His family has been in the nursery business for nearly 100-years.

“My dad was Hank the Petunia King,” says Engh.

Hank the Petunia King had the market on nurseries in the early part of the twentieth century in Salt Lake County.

“He started when he was 8-years old and worked at the Salt Lake Floral on State Street,” recalls Engh.

Eventually his father opened his own nursery at 1005 South Main.

“I kid everyone saying I was born and raised in the greenhouse,” says Engh.

And the family business grew from that spot on Main Street. At one time, the Engh’s had nurseries scattered throughout the county and petunias were king.

“Most of the things we raised were petunias at the time,” says Engh. “They do real well here and they're fairly inexpensive for the amount of show you get out of them.”

The nurseries shut down after a fight with the banks over their property. About that time big box stores were moving in and customers followed the lower prices they offered. Dennis Engh was forced into retirement.

But now he's running Salt Lake City's NPS store operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Two years ago, the nursery was a small operation near 1655 South and 1900 West.

But Engh put his magic touch to work when he took over the operation. He’s turned the nursery into something Hank the Petunia would be proud of.

And he’s getting back at those big box stores by lowering prices.

“For example you can buy one tomato in a three inch pot here for 89 cents, it costs you $2.69 at Home Depot or Lowe's,” Engh proudly says.

For now, it's word of mouth that brings customers to this NPS garden store.

“I heard their garden center is amazing,” says Marlo Hodge. “I bought some flowers last year and they did very well so I'm back to purchase again.

Nancy Piper has been coming to the NPS garden store for several years and has noticed the difference.

“It’s much bigger,” she says. “The prices are great. You can't beat the prices.”

And that's what keeps Dennis Engh going, flowers and happy customers.

“This takes a lot of work and you're not going to get rich doing it,” he says. “But if you like it, you love it and you can't get away from it.”
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