Nursery opens at former root beer stand

A former Clark County landmark on Ohio 41 has been transformed into a nursery and landscaping business.

The Frostop Nursery and Landscaping, 3683 South Charleston Pike, opened last week at the building formerly known as the Route 41 Root Beer Stand.

The two-acre nursery opened in less than a month after the sale of the property closed on April 10, according to owner Jerry Dooley. The quick turnaround was due to hard work from their team and community members, Dooley said.

“They’re just so glad to have a positive, bright thing in their community,” Dooley said. “The traffic that we make here and the support we’ve gotten from the community is giving me hope that maybe we can survive a few years at it.”

Dooley, along with brothers Jeff and Don, operated the nursery at 2604 Springfield-Xenia Rd from 1978 to 2006, when it was sold to the current owners of Bonnie’s Nursery.

After working at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Jerry Dooley, 58, decided to get back into the nursery business.

The Frostop Root Beer Stand opened at that location in 1926 and the current building was constructed in 1955, Jerry Dooley said. The former root beer mug was removed from the building in 2005, but the name was too good to pass up, he added.

It has served in several different capacities since that time, including an antique business and an ice cream parlor.

Jerry Dooley met his wife, Gale, in the second grade at Reid School. He grew up on nearby Titus Road and cruised through the former Root Beer Stand in the 1970s. He called the new location “a homecoming.”

“Nothing else ever felt more right and fit better,” Jerry Dooley said.

They’re planning a grand opening on May 1 of next year after they finish building greenhouses to resume planting. They hope to have a broad range of annuals, perennials, bedding plants and fruit trees, Dooley said. They’ll also continue to make renovations to the building.

“We have the space and capabilities to do all of those things, it just takes some time to fund it to get it done,” Jerry Dooley said. “By next Mother’s Day, we hope to have a broad line of product where we can really serve our customers a little bit better than what we are right now.”

After items were stolen from the property last month, he spent three weeks sleeping in his car to watch over his property before they put up a fence.

The nursery will be opening as a drive-thru on Friday and Saturday nights in June to sell Frostop Root Beer and allow people to visit the business.

“The business feels like “déjà vu,” Jerry Dooley said, and is similar to the business the family opened near Possum School in Beatty.

“We took a place that needed some attention and it worked out very well for us,” he continued. “The notice and encouragement we’ve gotten from the neighborhood has been great.”

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