OTTAWA -- An Ottawa staple for 60 years, J.A. Laporte Flowers and Nursery is permanently closing its doors.

“We built a niche of offering customers 2,500 varieties of plants,” says co-owner Jean Laporte.

“Also, our knowledge of the plant world, how to look after them, things like that,” says Laporte's wife and co-owner Estelle Laporte. 

Known for their experience and attentive customer service, the owners of the beloved Orléans nursery tell CTV News that now is the right time to say goodbye.

“Deciding to close our business was difficult,” says Jean. “It was not a decision that was taken lightly by any means.”

While the ongoing pandemic has forced hundreds of businesses provincewide to shut their doors, the Laportes say the decision was about more than just that.

“Basically, for retirement,” says Jean, who admits that the pandemic helped put things into perspective.

Laporte made the announcement first on social media, and that’s when the messages from the community came flooding in.

“Thank you for all the wonderful years of supplies and great service. Live life at its fullest and benefit of your well deserved retirement,” wrote Larry Cyr.

“You have been so helpful since we moved into our brand new home in 1987. You helped to develop my love for gardening. Don’t know what I would have done without you. Thank you so much,” said Genevieve Billingsley.

“Great memories of going there as a kid in the 1970s with my family to buy plants. Enjoy your retirement,” Linda Brown said.

For more than 40 years, former Ottawa City Councillor Bob Monette had been a loyal customer of the east-end family business.

“We moved to Orléans in 1978, and since 1978 that's been our go-to place,” says Monette. “It will be a big loss for Orléans. For many families moving into Orléans, that's the first place that they go after they buy a home. Many families who have been here for many generations have supported and gone to Laporte’s. Not only for their products, but for the friendly environment every time you go there.”

Although the pair are looking forward to retirement, the Laportes say it is bittersweet.

“It will be strange in the spring, not working 18 hours a day,” says Estelle. “Being able to go out there and really smell the flowers, it’s going to be surreal.” 

For now, the Laportes have no plans to sell the 10-acre piece of land and say Orléans will always feel like home.

“Orléans is a great community,” says Jean. “Absolutely love this community. And we want to thank them for all those years.”

“We’re gonna miss them,” says Estelle. 

Missing them, too, will be customers like Wendy Morgan.

“When I look at my garden, memories of Laporte’s will always be with me,” she said.