Welcome to the #HOMETOWNHUSTLE – a SweetwaterNOW exclusive series where we highlight hardworking individuals in our community.
This week, I had a chance to catch up with Laura Owens. Laura and her husband Stan are the owners of the little slice of heaven in Green River otherwise known as Riverside Nursery.
Laura started out as an employee at Riverside Nursery in the spring of 2002. “I loved it from the day I started! I always loved being out in my yard and gardening. So when I started working at the nursery, I couldn’t wait to learn more,” said Laura.
Years later Laura became the manager of Riverside Nursery, and in July of 2017, Laura and Stan bought the nursery from Bill and Laurie Lewis.
“It was kind of scary because we are almost at retirement age, but instead we bought a business. It was more my dream than Stan’s but he has been so supportive,” explained Laura.
When Stan is not working at Tata, he is down at the nursery. Laura and Stan’s children are all grown now but they still help out when needed along with all of the grandchildren. “It’s a family business!” Even their siblings and nephews help out when needed.
Laura and Stan are especially thankful for the previous owners who still mentor them both and offer support when they need it. They have remained Laura and Stan’s, close friends.
“We feel very lucky to have been able to purchase Riverside. Bill and Laurie did such a wonderful job with it! We are so blessed to be able to continue with what they built. I’ve learned so much from them. They are very special friends.”
“I will always be grateful Bill trusted me to be his manager for so many years because that is how I learned to run the business.”
And let me tell you, Bill trusted the right person to do the job. If you haven’t stopped by Riverside to just take a look around, you are missing out. You can just drop by and walk through the gardens or sit by the fountain – that really is a thing people do!
Laura, Stan, and the rest of the crew have done a wonderful job. Even with it being closer to the end of the season for Riverside, it still a beautiful place to be.
Riverside Nursery is open April to about mid-September, so it starts to slow down quite a bit this time of year, but they are still hard at work helping customers solve problems, plus they have some killer end of season sales.
The springtime is when it’s really hustling down at Riverside. They start stocking their gift store items, garden decor, and some home decor.
“Even though we aren’t open in March, many of our customers stop in early to see the newest fairy garden supplies. We love it! I tell them the gate isn’t locked just push it open and come on in!”
For Laura and Stan, business success is about loving what you’re doing, helping customers solve problems, and helping them create the garden of their dreams – all while making friends along the way.
One of Laura’s favorite aspects of being the owner of the nursery is the customers. They have so many loyal customers who have become of Laura and Stan’s dearest friends. “We love and appreciate them so much. We would not be here if it not for them.”
“Each spring we get so very excited to see all of our customers after the winter. It’s like seeing great friends you haven’t seen in a while, and you just want to hug them all!”
RUNNING RIVERSIDE NURSERY IN 3 WORDS…
Fun, exhausting, and rewarding.
When I asked Laura about the biggest challenge of being the owner of Riverside, her answer did not surprise me – THE WEATHER. As you can imagine keeping everything alive in a nursery in the unpredictable Wyoming weather is a feat in itself. There are many days in the springs when they must care for the plants from sun up to sundown.
“When we have all of our trees, shrubs, and perennials, and the weather turns cold in the springs – like it often does here, we have to cover everything up to protect it. It’s a big job. Even the plants in the greenhouse need extra care when it’s cold and wet,” explained Laura.
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Laura also relies on her employees quite a bit to help with the heavy work. Working at a nursery is not just watering plants, it’s also very physical work. “Just stop by and watch us unload a tree truck in the spring!”
Plus, the employees at Riverside have to be able to answer questions, carry out big items, plant special orders for customers, and much more. “We rely on our employees heavily, they are great and we couldn’t do it without them!”
One of Laura’s past employees even recently got married at the nursery!
Throughout the years of running the nursery, Laura and Stan have gathered a few wise words of advice they’d like to share with aspiring business owners…
“Love what you’re doing. You don’t want to spend most of your time doing anything you don’t enjoy.”