Dan Gifford, the owner of Lakewood Plant Company, grew his plant shop out of a need to find something to support his vocational program for adults with disabilities. LPC has become a space to give participants in the vocational program a place to work within the community. As LPC grows, Dan hopes to continue to find new ways to involve the community. Read more about Dan and LPC below.
Haley Mills: Where did you come up with the idea for Lakewood Plant Company?
Dan Gifford: A friend and I started a vocational program for adults with disabilities and we needed (and wanted) something for a program that would integrate our clients into the community. My dad, growing up, did indoor landscapes, so we thought it would be cool to do a greenhouse and then realized we couldn't do that at the time, based on the funds and the amount of work it would take. We thought of tropical plant retail, to begin with, hoping to move up from there.
HM: How did you end up in Lakewood?
DG: I love Lakewood - I grew up here. I went to college in Indiana and after that, I lived in Chicago, Austin, and Central American. When I moved back after 10 years, I spent a lot of time rediscovering the city. We thought the community would be receptive and there wasn't really anything else like it in the area so we thought it would be a good idea.
HM: What is the best part about owning a small business in Cleveland?
DG: I would say the community within the other small businesses, everyone is pretty willing to help. I think The Cleveland Flea really helps to perpetuate that because you get to know a lot of the other small business owners and share ideas.
HM: Where is your favorite place in Cleveland to take visitors?
DG: I love exploring Lakewood when friends come in from out of town. Mainly because I’m always pretty busy and I don’t get to check out new restaurants, bars, or shops and galleries. Usually, we start with Lakewood and then we go downtown and kind move to the east side if we have enough time. In the summer I love to take visitors to the beaches because everyone is so surprised that there are cool beaches in Cleveland.
HM: Where is somewhere in Cleveland that you haven’t been yet that you’ve been wanting to go?
DG: That's a good question. In Lakewood, The Vegan Doughnut Company just opened, and I’m excited to go there. I feel like just from social media I’m missing a lot of music and art gallery openings, so I want to try and stay a little bit more in tune to that.
HM: What is your favorite event in Cleveland?
DG: I think the first year of Incuya - that was a lot of fun. The Cleveland Flea is always a blast in the summer.
HM: Is there anything else you want people to know about The Lakewood Plant Company?
DG: We try to fill people in that we work a lot with people in the community that have disabilities and we try to give them the opportunity to do something different.
HM: What are some of the ways that you do that?
DG: The program is a couple of hours of work, either propagating (plant breeding) or some kind of work in the shop in the morning and then the afternoon is an activity like yoga, cycling, or a hike. We are working on ramping up our online sales. We hope to use that as another way for our clients to take a part in the shop. We offer local delivery and we take a team out to do the deliveries. Also, we’re hoping to open a Greenhouse soon!
We’ve picked out a few of our favorite plants that you definitely need in your home office during the cold winter months!
Order online and Lakewood Plant Company will deliver locally to: Lakewood ($5.00), Rocky River & Fairview Park ($10.00), Edgewater, Gordon Square, Ohio City, and Tremont ($10.00), and Downtown Cleveland ($15.00). Or you’re welcome to pick up in store, but we can’t guarantee you won’t buy more plants while you’re there!!