New gardening store meets local need

By Katie Demeria

STRASBURG — Janet Heishman and her husband Ron have operated Gabalot Gardens on the outskirts of town for several years. Now they have made the move onto King Street.

Heishman said the “stars aligned” during the process of purchasing the former Artz Hardware store at 181 West King St. and Pot Town Organics will open there Saturday.

The couple closed on the 4,500-square foot space on June 6. Since then, they have been cleaning and preparing the store for the variety of organic gardening supplies they plan to offer.

“I want this to be a super happy space,” Heishman said.

At Gabalot Gardens, Heishman said she always suggests organic gardening tools her customers can use to grow their food in environmentally friendly ways.

“We have people coming in and saying, can you help me, I would like to do this as naturally as possible,” she said. “It’s been frustrating for me, people come in and they get advice, and I tell them, use this organic product, and they say, do you have that? And I say, well no.”

Usually she has to direct them online or to a larger city to purchase those products.

“I was aggravated because I could be selling them something and they could go away completely satisfied,” she said. “This will be a way for us to support these people.”

Many younger individuals, especially young mothers, Heishman pointed out, are particularly interested in growing naturally. Now Pot Town Organics will meet their needs.

Items will range from fertilizers and hydroponic systems to tools, gloves and grow lights. It will be open year-round.

Now that they are downtown, Heishman said she wants the space to be a place for locals. She hopes to feature local artwork or craft items.

“We’ve got local people, especially artists, who will be in here, too,” she said. “Anything from artwork to prints. We have somebody making natural soaps, too.”

And she plans on allowing instructors to teach classes in the building — a canning class is already in the works. She also works closely with Cristina’s Cafe, located just down the block, which directs customers to Heishman when they ask about the garden outside the restaurant.

While Heishman said she has several greenhouses at Gabalot Gardens, located at 373 Green Acre Drive, she may eventually build another in the extra rooms in the back of the King Street building.

Right now, Heishman said the big expense is going to be updating the building’s heating system. But eventually she plans to install solar panels in the roof, drawing power partially from that environmentally friendly source.

Pot Town Organics will also be hiring more employees, she added, in addition to the four who are already affiliated with Gabalot Gardens.

“Everyone has been so for this,” Heishman said of the town’s involvement. “The whole town has just been so supportive. Big time.”

A ribbon cutting will be held for Pot Town Organics at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or

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