You may recognize the name Dowling Fruit Orchard, and if you don’t, you most likely passed by the long-standing family business traveling on the 60 freeway.
After a nearly 70 year run, they are closing their doors for good, NBC Palm Springs spoke to the family owners and customers who say they will miss their traveling pit stop.
“The whole lot? You’ve been here for about how many years? About 70 years.” questioned a long-time patron.
Many old-time customers reacting to the news that the Dowling Fruit Orchard will shut down permanently come November 30th.
“A lot of people knew Francis back in the day, that’s his dad, and Stella his mom, there’s a lot of history there, but now the land is sold and kind of out of our hands,” explained Shelly Dowling, Co-owner of Dowling Fruit Orchard.
After taking ownership and running the orchard for more than 45 years, it was hard for Dowling to find words when speaking to our camera.
“…It’s been a hard process,” explained an emotional John Dowling,” Co-owner of Dowling Fruit Orchard.
NBC Palm Springs spoke to the orchard back in February of 2020, asking if they were concerned about improvements on the freeway that would take away from their customer flow.
“They put the divider in for the west traffic and so then they have to go all the way up the freeway and turn around and come back and that really hurts us a lot too, that took like half our business away,” explained Beth French, Assistant Manager of Dowling Fruit Orchard.
Their concern is proving to be damaging to the business.
“That wall going up really hurt us, really bad,” said Shelly Dowling.
Loyal customers continue to shop while they can as they learn of a legacy coming to an end.
“This is like a landmark for us, so it’s going to be really sad driving by here and knowing that we can’t stop, as you can tell I purchase a lot of things here, it’s just my kids have come here over the years, it’s just something we do on the way out to palm springs,” said Dani Green, a longtime customer.
Customers share how long they have been stopping for a snack or two.
“A long time, 30, 40 years,” added Dan Espinoza.
As for what will happen to the long-standing orchard, that is still to be determined.
“We can speculate but I don’t know what they are going to do with it,” said John Dowling.
“We’ll see what God has in store and maybe try to help other folks, and maybe stay in the food business doing something, we don’t know yet,” added Shelly Dowling.