Crazy Ladies ribbon cutting

The three women who started Crazy Ladies Garden Center are pictured here getting ready to cut the ribbon on their new location on Sonoco Street in Louisiana. Holding the scissors is Charity Lesley, one left is Denise Touchette and on the right is Melissa Hernandez. Here’s they’re surrounded by family and friends during their opening weekend. Photo by Stan Schwartz

3 ladies open business with the help of family and friends

LOUISIANA—Having a little rain in one’s life is a good thing, especially when it comes to gardening. And sunshine is good, too, when you want your plants and vegetables to grow and thrive.

Over the weekend, three women brought their vision of a local garden center to life, amid rain and sunshine, when they held a ribbon cutting ceremony at their new location just off of Sonoco Drive, about a block south of Georgia Avenue. Only a sign out by the main drag through town gives any indication that this gem of a garden center is open for business. Charity Lesley, Melissa Hernandez and Denise Touchette are in their second year of running the Crazy Ladies Garden Center. Before they opened at this new location, they had a roadside stand out on Hwy. 54.

Charity’s husband, Mike, beamed with pride at the work his wife and the other two women have put into making this business a success. He was also proud of work he did in getting their greenhouse completed and building their new store. Mike is a former fire chief in Louisiana. And on Saturday, he was working the grill, cooking up some hotdogs and hamburgers to help bring in the crowd for the days festivities.

“I’ve got just a little more work to do on the roof,” Mike said, pointing to the store. He was anxious for Louisiana’s mayor to show up for the ribbon cutting. “She better,” he said with a smile, “she’s my sister.” It wasn’t long after that, that Kathy Smith pulled up, ready for the ceremony and possibly to buy a few items.

When asked why they decided to call the business Crazy Ladies Garden Center, Charity smiled and said when they discussed opening the garden business with their husbands, the women were told they were crazy for trying to do it.

“Within two weeks of that day,” Charity said, “we were open for business.” That was when they still had their roadside stand at Hwy. 54 and 7th Street. But that was just during the spring season. With this new venture, and their new large greenhouse, they will be open year round—Wednesday through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Once they get a feel for how much business they will have at their permanent location, Charity said, they might extend their hours to 6 p.m., and possibly add Tuesdays to the mix as well.

And there’s room to expand on the piece of property where the shop and greenhouse are located. Mike said there’s room for another greenhouse when they’re ready to grow. He added that they bought their current one used and he got it set up. The next one would go right next to the current one. In that first hour, a steady stream of people showed up to brows through the items for sale. Multiple family members were there to help out. It looked as though the three women were off to a great start.

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