SPROUTS GREENHOUSE STORY
Sprout’s greenhouse was established in 1978 by Charles and Lynn Sprout. In 1974 Charlie and Lynn wanted to move out of the big city of Lander, Wyoming, and enjoy their roots of country living. Charlie Sprout grew up in Lyons Valley in Lander, and Lynn Griffin grew up outside of Riverton. They first met chicken judging when they were 13 and the seeds of love were born. Those seeds stayed dormant for quite a few years until they sprouted again in the summer of 1968 when they married. Charlie was a 6th grade teacher at Northside Elementary in Lander and Lynn stayed at home to take care of her little Sproutlings, (Frostie, Treva, and Griff). The big city life of Lander was a little too much for them so they decided to move to the country between Lander and Hudson. Teachers didn’t make a lot, so buying any place was going to be a work in progress. So, in the summer of 1974 the Sprout’s bought their dream home in what was known as Snavely Lane, 5 miles from Lander, where the present day greenhouse is located. The dream house was complete with an indoor outhouse, tar paper siding, and wall colors that were straight out of a horror movie. The landscaping consisted of six foot weeds, piles of junk, and a large half-burned down train depot which was the original train depot from Lander. The previous occupant ran a very old and successful business enterprise out of the house, which made remodeling a must! This business was kept secret to the Sprout’s children until the age of 16.
To have enough money to raise 3 kids, Charlie and Lynn had to come up with other ways to make money. Charlie would spray weeds for the county, and Lynn started raising a very large garden to sell produce. This quickly grew and they had a Truck Garden operation in the late 70’s. They grew tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, and other garden produce. To get a head start on the season, Charlie built a sun porch for Lynn to start seedlings in before going out to the gardens. Lynn was good at starting seeds and had extra plants. Thus, Sprout’s Greenhouse was born. The first plants were extra seedlings potted up in styrofoam cups and sold to teacher friends. The truck garden was great at first, but the laborers, the three Sprout kids, had a tendency to go on strike when the work needed to be done. One summer, Charlie helped a man in Lander build a greenhouse, but the man had no money to pay Charlie when the work was done. He instead gave Charlie the first greenhouse as payment. This was a glass greenhouse with a coal stoker inside. That next year in 1978, Sprouts Greenhouse was officially open for business with its first structure. Naming the business was luckily very easy (for some strange reason). The whole greenhouse was filled up with plants and before May came, Charlie and Lynn looked at each other and never thought they would sell all of the plants they grew inside. Much to their amazement they sold them all. Sprout’s was a viable business that quickly took flight. Over the next few years Charlie went to every greenhouse auction and bought up old greenhouses and reassembled them at the property. All the gardens were quickly covered up by greenhouses and the truck garden ended, much to the delight of the children.
During the 80’s and 90’s, Sprouts Greenhouse grew literally and physically. Greenhouses were added and business grew. Sprout’s became a full fledged garden center selling trees, shrubs, annuals, vegetables, and perennials. Most of the learning was trial and error. Both Charlie and Lynn had great agricultural knowledge growing up on farms and ranches, but did not have much horticulture knowledge. This knowledge grew quickly and both became experts in growing plants. Charlie was still teaching school, but was given the opportunity to take early retirement in 1992. The business had grown to a point to produce enough extra income to let him become full time in it. The Sprout children always had a job when they came home from school. They still were the primary work force, but they didn’t mind as much because now they were paid for their efforts. Frostie, Treva, and Griff all grew up working in the greenhouse after school and on weekends. This helped them all pay for college and give extra spending money in there pockets. When the kids all left for college, this created a loss of labor which was definitely felt by Charlie and Lynn. In 1998 the youngest Sprout, Griff, stepped back into the family business to see if it was something he wanted to do.
Griff liked the business and soon became business partners with Charlie and Lynn. Sprouts Greenhouse, LLC , was born in 2003 and each had equal shares in the business. This was a successful partnership and the business grew quickly. Sprout’s was becoming a destination for gardeners in Wyoming, as customers from every corner of the State would stop by in the spring to buy plants. Each year great effort was made to improve the business. Greenhouses would constantly get torn down and moved to create a better environment for customers and a better set up for growing. Tremendous effort would be taken to choose plants that would thrive in our tough climate. The Sprout’s were very serious about making every effort to provide the best plants, at the best price, and provide great service at the same time.
In 2006 the untimely death of Lynn was experienced. This was a great loss, as from the beginning she was backbone of much of what was done at Sprout’s. Charlie and Griff had to take up the slack in her absence and continue. Family business is not always easy, but they managed to pull together and create a very workable relationship in business and life. In January 2010, Griff bought the rest of Charlie’s shares in the business and Charlie went into retirement. Retirement for Charlie consists of getting up at 5 a.m. to check on greenhouses, drinking coffee, working at the greenhouse all day, and checking the greenhouses at night to make sure all the seedlings are okay. This is a lot less than he used to work, so for him it’s retirement. Griff runs the day to day activities of the business and works hard to carry on the tradition from which Sprouts Greenhouse came. Griff and his wife Joni are also very busy raising their son Justice and daughter Siena. At Sprout’s we believe in hard work, honesty, creating a sense of family, community, and fun in what we do. Also, we have a passion to get people growing. We say get off the couch (and the internet) and get into the yard! The best self help program is a garden!