Left of Center with Joshua Maloni
Ever since Rachel Stepien opened The Plant Shack on Center Street in Lewiston mid-pandemic, she has been lauded as an ideal neighbor, businesswoman and philanthropist. So, when her storefront windows were briefly boarded up earlier this month, passersby were concerned.
Fortunately, the temporary coverings were not a sign of shuttering, but of blooming. The building, owned by Tom Deal of Deal Realty, was a recipient of a Niagara County façade grant.
"We have been working hard to update our building to reenergize that end of Center Street,” he said. “When you have a great tenant like Rachel (Plant Shack), you want to do everything possible to help them be successful."
Rachel Stepien poses with some of the items available inside her Lewiston location.
Exterior renovations are nearly complete. As the work has taken place, “A lot of people will just assume we’re closed, because nothing's in the window; but they'll come up and they'll peek through, and they'll see me sitting behind the desk, and then they'll make their way in,” Stepien said. “They figure it out, which I'm totally appreciative for.
“And we'll probably start, as it gets warmer, putting plants on the steps to make people aware that we are open, as well.”
Stepien, who also has a store in East Aurora, said the village has been an ideal fit.
“It's been going great,” she said. “I love Lewiston. The people here are great. The festivals here are great. The customers are great. We get a lot of tourists.
“I couldn't ask for a better town, between here and East Aurora. I literally am so lucky.”
Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Pauly said, “The Plant Shack has created ‘plant moms and dads’ throughout the region! Rachel and her staff are incredibly knowledgeable in all things plants. If you haven't had a chance to stop in since she opened a few years ago, then make it a priority to stop in. Not only are there plants for purchase, but a variety of plant pots and gift items. It is such a unique shop, and we are lucky to have it in Lewiston!”
Exterior renovation work is nearing completion at The Plant Shack.