Monday, March 7, 2011

Sugar Creek Garden Center - Where Growing Meets Growing

I promise I am not counting (yes I am).  But according to the calendar, spring is in 15 days, and with the warm weather we have had lately, those 19 days can't get here fast enough.  So this week I am excited to bring you Sugar Creek Garden Center, located on Hwy 160 in between Steele Creek and Tega Cay, SC.

Driving by you can't miss the beautiful handmade wooden sign, and their large greenhouse that accompanies an array of trees, shrubs, garden decor, plants and more.  I am sure there are 100 different names for them, but as I am new to all this "green" stuff please bear with me.  It is actually fitting that I write an article about them since there are not only a ton of different kinds of garden and nursery items as well as  landscaping services, they also offer plenty of knowledge and an ample amount of help for first timers (like myself).  I have always been intimated by Nursery and Garden centers for that very reason.  I was not born with a green thumb, but as learned from talking with the folks here you don’t have to be an expert at all.  In fact they focus on not only growing your garden but also "growing" your knowledge for plant life.
Behind the creativity and success, are husband and wife team, Jan and George Wallace, who are coming up on an exciting time as they get ready to celebrate their first anniversary of launching Sugar Creek Garden Center.  They broke ground in September of 2009, opened in March 2010 and have been going strong ever since. 
"It has been a great year." Jan says of reflecting on her first year.  “Everyone has been so welcoming,” From local potters clubs, garden groups even Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, the Sugar Creek Garden Center has been embraced by the community and has quickly grown to being a landmark in the Steele Creek area. 

Jan is no stranger to the agriculture lifestyle.  She began gardening as a child with her Mom, and received her plant biology degree from the University of Utah.  She has also worked with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources studying native fish and riparian areas and previously managed a local garden center where she was responsible for launching two new product lines including merchandising and creating point of sales displays. On top of all of that she  is also mother to son, Max and daughter Haley, ages 12 and 14. She tells me that being a Mom and a business owner is actually easier now that the shop is open.  For six months she and George came and went at different hours of the day and night, overseeing construction and business details.  Now that things are running smoothly she feels more of a balance between being a Mom and owning her own business.

While visiting with her, I took a good look around and could tell immediately that they are not fooling around with this place.  Both inside and outside offer a beautiful display and rows of plants, "baby" plants, potted plants, hanging plants, herbs, shrubs, trees, garden decor, gifts and much more.  The staff was extremely friendly and very knowledgeable along with excited about some new arrivals.  I could tell they really enjoy working in an environment where they can offer a great variety but also help each customer with specific needs.

Their location sits on seven acres of property located along the Sugar Creek basin which is where the name is derived.
“It felt like a good fit.” Jan says when I asked her about the name. 
“Besides, sugar is a staple in everyone’s family so it just made sense.”
One thing I did want to ask on my visit was how does Sugar Creek stays competitive with other stores Like Lowes that offer garden, nursery and landscaping options. 
“It comes down to habits.” Jan tells me honestly.  "Our struggle is breaking that habit - I want those customers to come here but it's hard to compete with their advertising - our plants are way better and we know what to do with them! 
Also, what sets Sugar Creek aside from the "Big Box Stores" are their unique selection and variety of plants and trees,  their hands on experience with personal design and installation along with their high end quality and knowledge. 

“If you have a plant and you are not sure why it is dying or you are not sure what to do with it, bring it in and we will help you.”  Adding plant maintenance and gardening assistance to their list of many things they provide.  They also offer free quotes on several other services such as stone edging, retaining walls, garden Beds and rock walls.
They also host space for several local natural artist's, their work and products making Sugar Creek a great place to find a unique gift as well.  Artist such as J.K Moyles Pottery, and delicious gourmet baking mixes by Rabbit Creek "offer a variety of items for your home, teachers gifts, holidays and more.

Local artist JK Moyles.
Rabbit Creek Baking Mixes and gifts

Being a part of the community is a big deal to both Jan and George and for that reason, they have committed
to being a family friendly operation and stay open year round. They offer fun things to do for kids as well as
adults. Future plans down the road include adding nature trails behind the Greenhouse and outdoor classrooms for summer classes and kids camps. They also offer a calendar of events coming up along with class scheduled if you are interested in learning more about gardening, or just want to do something fun this spring.
And of course I couldn’t leave without a little something “green” for myself. I thought I would start small and go with an herb (Basil, one of my favorites). So far so good, and with the freeze warning lifting April 15th soon I can add to my collection and maybe grow some more herbs, plants and of course grow so more green knowledge along the way.
For more information on Sugar Creek Garden Center, you can visit their link here:

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