Above: The Foisy family will be renovating the 75-year-old farmhouse that sits on the same property as their new greenhouse. “There’s so much character here; it’s just amazing,” said Deb Foisy, who plans to document the transformation on-line.
– Jennifer Lavallee Photos
by Jennifer Lavallee
Morinville News Correspondent
When Deb Foisy learned a greenhouse was for sale near the Town of Morinville, her interest was immediately piqued.
The business, which is formerly known as Fred’s Flowers, is located about three minutes west of Town.
“Our friend, Michiel Verheul, told us the greenhouse was for sale. So, my husband and I came and looked at the property and viewed Fred’s Flowers,” explained Foisy in an Aug. 29 interview. Verheul is the past President of the Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association (AGGA) and owner of another business in the area, High Q Greenhouses.
“We saw this as an amazing opportunity for our family,” reflected Foisy, adding “we were ready for this move. It was the right time.”
And so, that’s what they did.
Foisy, her husband, Cody, and their four kids packed up and made the trek east from their farm in Yellowhead County, about 135 kilometres away, ready to start a new adventure.
But, make no mistake—Foisy is no stranger to the biz. For the last seven years, she and her husband have been running a popular greenhouse and U-Pick Raspberry Farm on their land near the Hamlet of Wildwood. The old business was called Debs Greenhouse, a name they’re bringing with them to the new place as well.
Debs Greenhouse was a popular spot: “people were driving one to two to three hours to come and visit us all the time,” said the green thumb, who is also the current President of the AGGA and a regular speaker at industry conferences. Foisy says one reason the decision to move close to Morinville was a no-brainer for her, and her family, was the opportunity to be closer to a larger municipal centre and population—it meant growing the business.
Though she considers herself a grower first, Foisy also has another distinct talent, woodworking. Currently, the empty greenhouse has a collection of beautiful, rustic-looking shelves and display cases ready to be put into the right spots in their new home, all of them made by Foisy herself.
“We just moved in so there’s still lots to do, but…if I wasn’t the greenhouse lady, I’d be known as the woodworking lady, for sure. We build all these things, like this shelving, in the winter, and we use all Alberta lumber.”
The Foisys plan to debut the greenhouse this Fall by introducing a series of classes geared towards adults, teenagers, and even children.
“We do lots of classes in the Fall, and we centre them around plants. We also like to do things that are fun and trendy, like chalk painting and repurposing old things, and making succulent planters, and all kinds of cool things like that.”
“Kids are always almost welcome at our classes. Like, don’t get a babysitter, unless it’s a late evening class. Bring your kids along; they can come and play, and we’ll find something they can do so they can have a fun experience too.”
Over the winter, Foisy says she will have specific items for sale on her website, like hanging baskets and planter boxes, which will be ready for Spring pick-up. “It’s something that’s become really popular for us, and we only reserve a certain amount of space for custom orders,” she remarked, “it does fill up rather quickly.”
Debs Greenhouse will officially be opening in the Spring, however, with more classes and as a fully functioning greenhouse that sells flowers, hanging baskets and planters, succulents, vegetable transplants, and select shrubs and trees (by special order online).
By that time Foisy also hopes to have a new 3,000 square foot addition built on to the west side of her greenhouse.
“I’m just so excited to fill this place with flowers. It’s going to be beautiful,” exclaimed the entrepreneur, who says she is eager to lay down roots in her new community. “I don’t know yet what my market is going to be like here…I think my biggest challenge is going to be learning the names of all my new customers and what they want, because I really do try to do that.”
Despite taking on a significant family move and a new business venture, Foisy still found room on her to-do list to take on one more big project. She and her husband decided to add home renovations to the list as well.
The Foisys and their four kids moved into the farmhouse located on the same property as the greenhouse.
“I believe the house was built in the 1940s, and it’s a gorgeous home with great structure,” she said, “it’s got beautiful rooms, high ceilings, hardwood floors. But, it definitely needs some TLC.”
Foisy will be documenting the renovation on-line as the family transforms their new home, room-by-room. No stranger to social media, Foisy has her own Youtube channel and is very active on platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook (which is where she’ll be sharing the majority of her renovation project photos and stories, in an album called My Renovated Life).
“We’re new to the community,” remarked Foisy, “but this house has been here for 75-years. I hope to find out what it’s looked like over the years and some of its history. There’s so much character here; it’s just amazing.”
Debs Greenhouse is scheduled to fully open next April. For more information on upcoming Fall classes, Foisy recommends frequenting the greenhouse website (www.debsgreenhouse.com) and signing up for her e-newsletter.
Above: Deb Foisy says she plans to launch Fall Classes in the near future and will officially open the business this Spring, selling flowers, hanging baskets and planters, succulents, transplant vegetables, and possibly some limited shrubs and trees. Pictured here, Foisy shows off an example of one type of class she plans to host, making hanging succulent boxes.