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Longtime owner of East Lawrence’s Sunrise Garden Center places business and property up for sale

If there is one thing I know about gardening, it is that change is inevitable. For instance, I’ve observed that plants in my yard are green for about a week and then brown for much longer.

Well, change is in store for Sunrise Garden Center, the popular nursery and landscaping center at 15th and New York streets. But we’ll have to wait a bit longer to see exactly what the changes mean.

Longtime Sunrise owner Greg McDonald confirmed that he is retiring from the business and has placed the nearly three-acre property up for sale.

McDonald plans to keep the business open until he finds a buyer for the property and he hopes that the eventual buyer will want to keep the garden and nursery business open. But there are no guarantees on that.

“I think it can be very successful doing what it does today, but I think there are a lot of possibilities for people who have new ideas,” said McDonald.

The centerpiece of the property is a large greenhouse that McDonald said is about the size of a football field under glass. That’s enough space that if someone wanted to do some truck farming or shift the business over to more a specialty wholesale operation, it could do so, McDonald said.

Veteran commercial real estate broker Doug Brown of Lawrence’s McGrew Commercial is listing the property, and plans to market it to both retail and wholesale interests. But Brown said he plans to focus on marketing the property to people who want to use the greenhouse as a greenhouse in some way, shape or form. In other words, the plan isn’t to completely redevelop the site.

“We think that is the way to go with the success the business has had over the years,” Brown said. “It would be an attractive business for somebody to get into. It is a good business for Lawrence because it certainly has the green factor.”

As for McDonald, he has owned the business for the last 14 years, and he is ready to have more time to spend on other pursuits. But he said business at the garden center remains strong and that gardening remains very popular in the Lawrence area.

“This Mother’s Day was probably one of the best weekends we have ever had, and I know Memorial Day was the best Memorial Day weekend we’ve ever had,” McDonald said. “There are just so many people who enjoy doing things with the products that we sell.”

My neighbor tells me that some people even enjoy watering their plant products after they buy them. She reminds me of that frequently, for some reason.

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