Working 12 hours or more, seven days a week is taking its toll on the owners of Haddon's popular Avalon Nursery who have decided to sell the business and scale back their workload for health and lifestyle reasons.
Nursery owners David Winters and Joanna Williams have built up the nursery, redeveloping the site, overhauling the expansive gardens, building access from the Ballarat-Skipton Rail Trail and adding a cafe and shop area, over the past five and a half years but the current pace is playing havoc with Mr Winter's health in particular.
"Haddon is a very big, profitable business but at the end of the day you're no good if you haven't got your health," Mr Winters said.
The couple will move to Warrnambool where they have another Avalon Nursery retail outlet and will establish a five-acre advanced tree wholesale nursery.
Watch David Winters announce the sale of Avalon Nursery below
A little over six years ago Mr Winters spent four months in the Alfred Hospital where he had his stomach and spleen removed.
"You have a higher risk of stroke or heart attack after having your stomach and spleen removed so ... just having the wholesale and one retail outlet and downsizing down there will be a slower pace," he said.
The couple moved in to the Haddon Nursery after deciding to change their lives while Mr Winters was in hospital.
Previously he was a boilermaker working on pipeline projects across the country, running his own business, and when he fell ill the couple had an irrigation business in Moama.
While he recovered from surgery they looked at many different business options including fish and chip shops, caravan parks and motels before finding Avalon Nursery, where Ms Williams had previously worked, was on the market.
"When we bought it, the (old owners) were at the point of closing it down and we bought it and built it up from there.," he said.
"We came in to it with what we could borrow and built it from there. We took the leap, we had a vision - we could see it when we looked at Haddon how we could create it and open it.
It's still full-steam still full steam ahead and growing the nursery as time goes on with new infrastructure, plans around our native area and cafe and outdoor area. It may take some time to find the right buyerDavid Winters
"The first couple of years were hard. We had an unsecured loan at 14-15 per cent interest and invested all the money we had at the time. The first two years we couldn't do much with the gardens and we got knocked down a bit - people said the garden didn't look too good but we couldn't afford it and couldn't afford the people."
The growth in the business in one year was 17 years of the previous owner's takings and as the growth of Ballarat and the growth of the region kept getting bigger and bigger if we didn't grow then someone else potentially could open up in the area."
As customers continued to discover the new-look nursery and return, the couple poured all their money back in to the nursery to create what is there today.
And 18 months ago they bought a small nursery in one of Warrnambool's busiest CBD streets.
"We have a great team with everyone at Haddon and Warrnambool and our customers - you have helped us create an amazing place," he said.
"Unfortunately with health issues up and down like a yoyo , long days and seven days a week especially with no stomach and holding energy levels is really hard. Something has to give so we've decided to put Avalon on the market which will be very sad to see it go but we will find the right buyer to keep it growing strongly."
Mr Winters said there had been several parties contact their real estate agency Buxton within days of the nursery going on the market.
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"We've had a couple of interested people who are wanting to have a look at it."
But he admitted they will be particular about finding the right owner.
"It might take two days, two weeks or four years," he said. "So it's still full-steam still full steam ahead and growing the nursery as time goes on with new infrastructure, plans around our native area and cafe and outdoor area. It may take some time to find the right buyer."
The couple have taken pride in transforming the nursery and its gardens in to a community space where everyone is welcome and supporting many local community groups and causes.
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