The Phelan story begins in 1977 when Don and Sue Phelan set out to pursue their dream of owning their own business. After considering numerous possibilities, they decided to start a greenhouse in the Knob Hill area of Colorado Springs and called it Sunset Greenhouses. The location of their new greenhouse had an adjoining house, so a call went out to Sue's parents in northern Minnesota. Sue's parents, Lud and Anne Stupca, had recently retired and left without hesitation to see this new greenhouse in Colorado Springs. Soon Anne and Lud were living in the adjoining house and became caretakers of Sunset Greenhouses.
For years, Lud put in a modest 1,000 square foot vegetable garden—enough to feed family (and visitors). His organic gardening techniques were an inspiration to gardeners everywhere, and until the age of 90 he worked diligently to maintain plant vigor through composting and soil building. Anne canned and froze all the harvested produce after Lud distributed much to faithful Sunset customers.
Sue and Don were raising four children all this time, and as the kids grew the family business provided job opportunities. Some of the funniest stories are of Don and Sue employing their children. Imagine what you would do if you had lots of tedious tasks to be done and four capable teenagers looking for work. Many hands make for light work, right? Thank goodness they were family, otherwise there may have been a few labor law violations. All that work eventually paid off when Sunset's success paid for all four kids to attend college.
The success of Sunset Greenhouses helped finance expansion, and in 1981 Phelan Gardens was born. The hard work paid off and soon the greenhouse was ready for plants. Having several years of growing experience behind them, the Phelan family set out to fill their new space with life. Soon seedlings covered the benches and Sue was busy ordering and purchasing all the amenities a gardener might need.
Soon Phelan Gardens' tomatoes were the talk of the town and shipments of pottery, perennials, trees, and shrubs were flooding in. With both Phelan Gardens and Sunset Greenhouses flourishing, Sue and Don decided they could finally step back and admire what they had created. As they planned for their retirement years, they gave their children the opportunity to buy the business. Since 1998, brother and sister team, Mark and Monica have been the owners of the Phelan Corporation. Sunset Greenhouse still remains in the family, but is no longer under the umbrella of Phelan Corporation. It is separately owned and run by sister Valerie and her husband Ed Belding who proudly offer the same standard of quality plants. If you don't find what you are looking for at Phelan's, please visit Sunset Greenhouse.
After careful planning, 2003 saw another expansion as a new Garden Center was added to the Phelan Garden’s location. This new building with its high ceilings and ample floor space provides the opportunity to showcase garden accents and decor to ensure our customers’ gardens are still the most spectacular in town.
Everyone who proudly wears a green apron at Phelan's is considered part of the family. Here at Phelans we know that "Our customers’ success is our success.” Everyone at Phelan Gardens will make every effort to answer questions, get you excited about plants, and open your eyes to possibilities right inside your own garden gate.
To this day we continue to be devoted to all those who love playing in the dirt as much as we do.