Owners of historic Palatine garden center blame change in property tax status for closure
A third-generation family business in Palatine is now vacant after its owners say a change in how they are assessed for property taxes ruined them.
"We were supposed to be here, I thought for forever," Ken Kinsch, a former owner of the Kinsch Florist and Garden Center, told ABC 7.
Rubble is what's left of the suburban greenhouse and flower farm after more than 80 years in operation. The business at 301 W. Johnson St. was opened in 1938 by brothers Ed and Leo Kinsch. The current generation of owners, including Ken Kinsch, can now only look around in disbelief.
"It's very sad. This is always what was supposed to be in my family what's your family and we loved doing it. You know, I love people, my father liked doing it with my family. And it was a family tradition," he said. "We were the flower makers."
They grew those flowers until recently. Their 2019 Cook County property tax bill skyrocketed from just under $25,000 to $183,000, an increase of 640%. In 2020, they got another bill for $151,000.
After those big bills, the family decided they had to call it quits and shut down, hoping that if the land were considered vacant it would eventually lower the tax bills. Now five acres sits empty with overgrown weeds.
If classified as vacant, future tax bills could decrease. But what is going on with those current bills? The increase was due to the Cook County Assessor changing all of the land from "farm" to "commercial." Previously, only their small retail shop was designated "commercial."