The most recent addition to Oswego’s downtown, Greenspace Home Garden, is bringing new life and color to the Port City.
It is located at West Bridge and Third streets.
Greenspace offers urban gardening items such as container and vertical gardens, organic and heirloom vegetables, organic and ornamental herbs, seeds and much more.
Owner and sole employee Erica Holman said she invested all into opening the store, including money from her retirement savings and home equity, as well as a great amount of time and effort.
“Financially we’ve invested a lot, but it’s really been a lot of time, too. I didn’t realize how much physical labor it would take to get started,” Holman said.
She declined to disclose how much she invested.
Holman spent a year searching for the perfect location to begin her new business venture. She said she wanted a corner space in the heart of downtown to emphasize her urban gardening theme.
She is, renting the corner storefront located next to Paura’s Liquor Store, across from The Sting bar.
“[The renovations] were quite extensive,” Holman said. “Half of the store was a huge walk-in cooler, so that had to be taken out.
Everything was completely painted black, even half of the window. We had to do everything from patching the ceiling and the walls, putting down new floor, completely remodeling and rebuilding, and electric work. We made energy efficient lighting and had to fix some plumbing issues.”
The space was vacant for years, according to Holman, and was formerly occupied by Eurisko Technologies and Hollywood News.
“I’ve been surprised. The first month we definitely exceeded what we expected, so that’s a good thing. We already have regulars coming back to the store to see what is new. Every two weeks we have new items coming in, so I think those experts were wrong,” said Holman.
She plans to continue adding to her collection of items for sale according to season. Cactus will appear in the store soon to enable customers to create their own succulent bowls. After summer expires, the focus will lean more toward indoor plants in terrariums, and away from summer plants and garden vegetables, Holman said. She hopes to continue to offer edible bulbs such as saffron crocuses and kumquats.
Gift items are offered year-round, as well as gardening tools and canning supplies.
“But our main focus is small-space gardening, so we have a lot of container gardens and vertical gardens. The plants that we choose are suitable for container gardening,” said Holman.
Holman chose local family-owned farms as her suppliers for goods sold in her store. She offers pickles made in New York state using Finger Lakes whiskey as brine.
Jams and jellies sold in the store are supplied by Heller’s Farm in New York state. Red Schoolhouse Maple of Fulton supplies her maple syrup. The store also sells Beekman 1802 bath and body products from “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” who own a goat farm in Sharon Springs.
“It costs a lot more to sell locally sourced items. I could buy much cheaper things from larger farms and bring them in. But I really wanted this to be uniquely Oswego and create a community garden store,” Holman said.
Before opening her gardening business, Holman said she was vice president of operations for a lobbying group.
Subsequently, she fundraised for nonprofits, and when she and her husband moved to Oswego five years ago, she began working for Oswego County Opportunities.
But her passion has always been in gardening.
“I’ve been a life-long gardener. My mother is from Uruguay so I had the opportunity growing up to go live in different countries in the summer months with my parents. I think it was in Spain when I first started realizing there are formal gardens, and then there are small cooking gardens. They’re good at maximizing small spaces. I then started playing around, experimenting and creating my own small-space gardens,” Holman said.