Riverside Gardens located at 62951 Lasalle Rd in Montrose is back for its first full season since 2017. Established in 2004 by Cliff Holveck, the property has since been sold to David Coker and John Reams.
After trying their hand in the hemp business and finding little success, they decided for the 2021 season that the business model would return to the former layout of Riverside Gardens.
“We were sitting here thinking that we’re sitting on a fairly large asset that is producing no income. The logical answer was we’re a greenhouse, let’s turn it back into a greenhouse. Debra Beck has been instrumental because she brings to the table things that we couldn’t do,” Coker said.
In June 2020 the decision was made, and a key point was to have Beck take the lead.
Beck worked for Riverside Gardens under Holveck for 15 years. The challenge came when she started with Holveck and the model was already in place. Now she’s starting from scratch.
“I don’t think we could have done this without Debra,” Coker added. “She was critical.”
The plants for sale are a 50/50 split between seed starts grown in the nursery and those purchased from commercial nurseries.
During the marijuana and hemp boom, many large scale nurseries sold and so resources for smaller dealers like Riverside have been reduced. Beck sees the biggest difference in the three years that they had been closed is the prices are much higher.
Coker plans on having 10 employees during the season. Pricing will be competitive, but there isn’t a desire from the new owners to undercut the competition. Based on the customer traffic Coker has seen so far, he’s predicting a good year for the garden center.
For Beck, it’s been emotional to bring back Riverside Gardens. “It was a boo-hoo session when we closed, so to reopen and see our former customers has been very exciting,” said Beck, noting that long time employee Tammy Church has returned as well.
With the purchase of an additional two acres in the fall of 2020 for a total of ten acres, an RV park is being added. “We now have ten acres—of which a quarter mile is riverfront. We thought the nursery was great, but what could we do with the rest of it?” Coker said.
With the demand for RV resorts being high, the owners thought they had the perfect location with the riverfront and the ease of getting in and out of the property.
The owners are planning on having 42 total sites: 21 full service-with water and power-pull through sites and 21 limited service sites.
Along with a general store to sell basic necessities, the intent is to have limited services ready by July of 2021 if all goes well, with the special use permitting process with Montrose County.
It’s taking a little longer than anticipated due to complications. The nursery part of the property is grandfathered, while the rest is special use. Coker is hoping that process can wrap up soon.
The pond that was on the property has been filled and upgraded. “The intent was to make this a mix use, and with the nursery we can provide our own landscaping,” said Coker.
The park will be open year round.
The 21 full service pull through sites are designed so nothing has to be backed out. Another 21 limited service sites are reserved for campers. The intent is to have limited services ready by July.