Ann Lewsader and Rodney Wilson met as co-workers at another business and agreed to start Green Envy Garden & Gifts. The partners say they strive to stock interesting and unique gift items as well as outdoor and interior plants.
ALBANY — A few months ago, Ann Lewsader and Rodney Wilson were out of work and wondering what they were going to do, Wilson said.
That was before they put their heads together to start Green Envy Garden & Gifts at Lancaster Village, 2353 Lake Park Drive. Since March, the partners have provided exterior and house plants as well as a variety of containers, and eclectic gifts.
For four years — until it closed — the partners had worked together at Dig Garden Center. Lewsader, an Indiana transplant, had been a pharmacy technician. Wilson, with his agriculture science degree, had worked in a local fitness club and before that with a large pig farm. Both loved working with plants and enjoyed being outdoors.
“I’m just not the type who can work in a box all day,” Wilson said. “I have to be outside doing something.”
For a while Lewsader and Wilson considered opening a seasonal kind of site — setting up from March through May when most outdoor plants are purchased, then folding their tent until the following year. Then they figured the sale of house plants and general gifts could float a permanent store during the off-season. Wilson said he’s been pleasantly surprised.
“I’m overwhelmed that the house plants are doing as well as they do,” Wilson said. “But none of the places in town have the varieties of things we have. All the house plants come from central Florida and I select them by hand. If I don’t like something, you won’t see it in here.”
Lewsader said that special care is taken to provide items not carried by other garden shops.
“We want to keep desirable, unique items without stepping on anyone else’s toes,” Lewsader said.
The partners estimate interior floor space at Green Envy at around 1,200 square feet with an additional 2,000 or so in their garden area. In the garden you’ll find Egyptian papyrus, pencil cactus, two varieties of carnivorous pitcher plants, “Borneo Giant” elephant ear plants, bird baths and numerous cement fixtures.
“The biggest thing people say when they come back here is that it’s so peaceful,” Lewsader said.