From the road, everything looks as it should at on Route 59.
Pots of flowers, wooden gazebos and concrete statuary fill every open space in front of the store and greenhouse. Bloom-festooned flags, calling to drivers passing by, flap in the breeze.
The only clue that it’s not open for business – in fact, never opened this spring, an employee says – is the rope that keeps cars from entering the driveway. The sign in front, typically advertising sales, bears only a phone number – the home phone of owner Edward C. Rizzi.
Calls to Rizzi, who lives in Plainfield, were not returned, but records show he filed for bankruptcy in September 2010. Phones at Rizzi’s landscape supplies business in Naperville, his recycling and transfer business in Bolingbrook, and E.C. Rizzi & Associates, the corporate umbrella for the three businesses, have also been disconnected.
According to LoopNet, which gathers information about properties available for purchase, Rizzi’s Flower Garden went on the sale block in July 2010, with an asking price of $2.9 million. Less than three months later, it was categorized as “off market,” without explanation.
The listing said the 4.5-acre site at 16202 S. Route 59 was zoned for highway business uses and featured a 33,571-square-foot store/greenhouse. The property’s assessed value in 2010 was $265,209, with an annual property tax bill of $19,016.
Rizzi’s wife, Maureen, said she believed the closure would be “temporary,” but declined to discuss the situation further other than to confirm the garden center had been in business about 20 years.
Thursday afternoon the store was locked but an employee was on site watering the vast number of plants inside the greenhouse and on the property. The employee, who did not provide his name, said Rizzi’s never opened for the spring planting season, despite the huge amount of inventory on hand.
In addition to plants, flowers, shrubbery and grasses, there’s also a large pond containing dozens of koi fish.
Last year’s sales were badly hurt by the Route 59 construction, which made it difficult for customers to get into and out of the business, the employee said. That road work has since been completed, other than for a section between Renwick Road and Illinois 126.