Grow Vermont Springs into a Year of Business
Two Rutlanders Grow a Business from Seed
By Lauren Fabian | May 7th, 2019
“We need to have some of those for dinner!” Sabra Notte’s grandfather would yell as she snacked on snap peas in her Italian family’s giant garden. They grew all the dinner table essentials — including concord grapes from vines her grandfather brought with him when he moved from Massachusetts to Vermont.
Sabra’s grandfather passed away a few years ago, but the grape vines remain in the family as they prepare to transfer the heirloom from her grandfather’s house to her mother’s. While the gardening tradition continues on for Sabra, who with her partner Mike Steele, turned her passion into a business by opening a shop called Grow Vermont at 38 Wales Street in Downtown Rutland one year ago.
The indoor-outdoor growing supply store provides everything you need to start or continue your own gardening tradition. The inventory features organic and local products as well as variety of garden supplies including everything from soils to seeds, and even CBD.
“We have products that you can’t find at Home Depot or Walmart,” Sabra said. ”We carry Earth Juice fertilizers, Vegamatrix nutrients, and Fox Farm soils. We do a lot of research before we decide what we’re gonna carry. We have the best fertilizers at the best value, and the difference is we care — we wouldn’t carry products in the store that we wouldn’t use in our own garden.”
Grow Vermont also carries organic heirloom seeds, organic sprout seeds, a variety of nutrients and additives and more. Their most popular products are fabric grow bags that provide a plastic alternative not offered in most gardening departments. Neither are many of their fertilizers.
“Finding organic fertilizers that you and use both indoors and outdoors can be difficult,” Sabra said. “And being in Vermont, everybody’s all about growing as organically as possible.”
The couple work together to create a friendly environment that embodies the true mom and pop store service where you’re greeted with a smile and friendly conversation. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, the store encourages you to take a look at what they offer, ask questions about what you may need, and get expert recommendations in return.
“Mike is my online guru,” Sabra said. “He spends tons of time researching obscure yet effective gardening tips and tricks as well as the products — his recommendations stocked 98% of the store. Most people think, ‘Oh my god, there’s no way I could work with my other half.’ But I’m here, listening to the customers while he’s doing the research outside of his day job. When we’re home we bounce ideas off of each other. We’re a great team.”
The Rutland community has welcomed the store with open arms according to Sabra and Mike. They enjoy being downtown and try to give back to the community as much as possible.
“I like getting up every morning and coming to work,” Sabra said. “I like all of my customers and being able to have conversations with them.”
Grow Vermont also offers gardening supplies for growing cannabis plants such as PH test kits, spray bottles, fans, LED grow lights, and grow tents. July 2018’s legalization of recreational marijuana and homegrown cannabis in Vermont provided a niche market that the couple was eager to explore. Currently, this is the only store in Rutland city that caters to the homegrown market and folks travel from all over the state to purchase their products.
For those interested in the CBD offered in the store, Grow Vermont offers several ingestible options from local Vermont companies with no hidden ingredients.
“We try to support Vermonters and other local businesses, and we know where our products come from. We’re happy to help you find what works best for you,” Sabra said. “For example, the Seed Sheets from Middlebury work awesome, customers love them — we tried the herb one last year and it worked great.”
Grow Vermont has goals to eventually expand, but for now Sabra and Mike enjoy the fact that they are happy doing what they do, and just want to encourage others to do the same.
“You know with the electronics in the world now, we wanna get people outside with their kids to plant a garden, or even just have some plants around their house. Grow in anything and in anywhere, grow your own, Grow Vermont — we can help,” Sabra said.
On May 11th, Sabra and Mike will celebrate their one year anniversary with free treats courtesy of Happy Cow Cones from noon to 1:30pm. They will also have free giveaways at 2pm; including a just-for-kids garden tool set, Apollo garden tools organizers, children's cedar garden planters, 4-tier greenhouses, Mykos seed sample packs, and more.
As the weather warms up, Grow Vermont is a go-to destination for quality products and friendly service while you plot this year’s garden or freshen up your indoor plants. The store also holds several events, including a “Plant & Sip” where we plant succulents and decorate pretty pots and “Ask a Grow Coach” events for people who need specialized help growing from an expert.
For any questions, you can visit Mike and Sabra at Grow Vermont’s retail store on 38 Wales Street in Rutland, check out their Facebook Page to check out some of the great products they offer.