Berwick Garden Centre wanted to set up on a 2ha site in Dunbar, but high-street shop owners said they would whitewash windows and put up "To Let" signs in protest.
Managing director Nick Crabbie said planners rejected proposals for his 40-staff new garden centre wit £2m turnover from plants and gifts for two reasons.
"The council believed it would affect the viability and vitality of the high street. It was also against the use of employment land for retail use."
Crabbie, who has a £2.3m turnover garden centre nearly 50km away, said he was considering an appeal, which had to be lodged within three months.
At the height of the campaign local traders said there were 10 empty shops in Dunbar, south of Edinburgh, and five or six are up for sale (Horticulture Week 1 October).
"If this development goes ahead, this is what will happen –at least two thirds of the shops will be empty," said a rep.
The application had been approved by local planners but was later called in and referred to East Lothian Council’s planning committee.