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Sunday, May 1, 2016

New Fulton County greenhouse has a long family history

Monday, May 7, 2012

Diana and Ashley Lewis arrange hanging baskets, with Chloe looking on. The Lewis family recently opened J and J Greenhouse and Florist on Highway 62, between Agnos and Ash Flat. The new store replaces the Lewis Greenhouse which the family operated at the site for more than 20 years. Photo by Richard Irby
Some people who stop in are new customers checking out a new, colorful business.

But to others, driving up to J and J Greenhouse and Florist is like dropping in on an old friend.

"A lot of people just say, 'We're glad you're back,' Ashley Lewis said.

J and J Greenhouse and Florist is a new name for the Lewis Greenhouse, which operated for more than 20 years on Highway 62-412, between Agnos and Ash Flat.

"We opened the first time in 1984, in an old building we added onto," Diana Lewis explained. "We were here until 2008, when we burned down the old place, planning to build a new building."

First, Diana and her husband, Larry, decided to take a little break, and probably would have stayed retired. But their sons, Jason and Jeremy, asked if they could join them as partners and revive the business.

So, Diana and Larry and Jason and Jeremy and Jeremy's wife, Ashley, and eight grandkids, ages two to 17, are busy with J and J's Greenhouse, Florist, Lawncare and Landscaping.

Asked what the family does in its spare time, Diana said, "Well, my daughter is a hair dresser."

Sure enough, in the brand new building that houses J and J, enough space was included for May's Beauty Salon, operated by May Duhme, the Lewis' daughter.

"It took a lot longer to get the building done than planned," Amanda said. "We did as much of the work as we could ourselves. We did a lot of painting -- a lot of painting."

While the store is still coming together, many people are stopping by, because it is suddenly spring and the outside grounds are bursting with vegetable plants, herbs, flowers, garden plants, hanging baskets and house plants of all kinds.

"We're getting good reviews so far," Diana said, as Larry and Jason unloaded a truck full of plants that arrived from Van Buren.

"We grew our own vegetable plants this year, and we've found some good suppliers for the other plants we sell, Diana said. "Next year, we'll have the greenhouses going full force and grow most everything. That's what people really knew us for before."

Diana admitted it was a little scary to invest in a new building and all the things that go with it, but she is confident of success.

"Like any family, we've been through a lot of good and bad, and we know, when you stick together and work together, it's hard to fail," said Lewis. "We have our faith, and all of our customers and neighbors from the old days. We're off to a good start."

According to Diana, she and her husband originally were going to open a flea market in the old building at the front of their property, but a relative urged them to start a greenhouse, because of their green thumbs.

When Diana says her family has a good work ethic, she's not kidding. Besides running the new business, Jason and Jeremy have other irons in the fire.

Jason Stevens is a Special Education Teacher at Highland, and, after nine years as Viola High Schools' Boys' Coach, Jeremy Lewis -- who also teaches Social Studies and History -- was recently hired to coach the boy's team at Highland.

"What I wanted to do was start a business, so my kids would have summer jobs," Diana remembers. "By the time we built the business up, they had college degrees and weren't interested in taking over. Now, years later, they've decided to come back."

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This is a wonderful place to shop! I recommend everyone to pay them a visit. An added plus is a haircut from May. I am so glad that Dianna and Family are back in business, best of luck and see you all soon.

-- Posted by Bigozarkhill on Tue, May 8, 2012, at 11:03 AM

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