Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sutton's Lives!

Last year, longtime funky local Anchorage greenhouse Sutton's had for sale signs and they said they were going out of business.

Lesson 1:  Don't make assumptions without checking.

I didn't even go by Sutton's when I bought some seeds this summer.  I just assumed they were closed down.  I even told someone they were gone.  Today, I routed my bike ride by Sutton's to see how the property was transpiring.

Lesson 2:  Support your best local businesses.

I imagine that running a greenhouse is a real headache.  There's no time off during the summer at all, and lots of work to do in the off seasons as well.  So when you find a business you like, spend your money there, even if they might be a little more expensive than the big Outside franchises.  And don't assume that they will be more expensive.  Sutton's has always had this option I've never seen at the big box stores - buying by the plug.

What's a plug, you ask?  It's a tiny bit of earth in a seed tray with tiny cells good for one plant (though sometimes a couple more seeds get into one cell.)

Here's a plug tray of fennel.

Sutton's is a unique little greenhouse that just sort of grew over the years.  It doesn't follow any master designs laid out by plant marketers.  It doesn't look like any other greenhouse in Anchorage or most other places.

It's got its own style.

They even give a discount if you belong to the Alaska Botanical Garden, but I'd say, keep your card in your pocket and pay the price if you can afford it.  We want to keep these people in business this summer and thank them for offering a respite from large corporate retail.

There's still a for sale sign, but the lady I talked to said, "We're picky."  It seemed to me that it would be a perfect place for an organization that supports local citizens gardens and healthy eating.  She said there was a guy who was interested in buying who had the same idea.  

Lesson 3:  Spread they word so their work can live on and Sutton's doesn't get replaced with cookie-cutter apartments or condos.  Help them find a creative buyer.  

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