A new vision of becoming a more welcoming place with more plants plus coffee and ice cream is taking root at a Med City plant nursery.

Nick Sargent, who co-owns the two Sargent’s Gardens locations in Rochester, is in the middle of a three-phase plan to revamp Sargent’s On Second to transform it into a warm and hip urban garden center.

The seed for this concept came from visiting other garden centers in Canada and the US. After seeing what others had done, Sargent decided to create a new vibe for his Rochester business.

ALSO READ: Olmsted County sales tax didn't see drastic dip in 2020

“The industry is booming. It’s changing, for the better. Our customer demographic is shifting younger,” he said. “This was happening before, but it exploded during the COVID pandemic.”

Newsletter signup for email alerts

While the center at 1811 Second St SW is bustling during this busy spring season, he is preparing for future construction later this summer. The center has already been refreshed with new flooring, and the former floral area has been removed.

In preparation to expand the greenhouse and add parking, Sargent purchased the former Hick’s Electric building, which is next to the garden center at 1829 SW Second St.

First, some outdoor retail will be added behind the building, with Sargent’s parking taking over the ex-Hick spaces. Eventually, the building will be demolished as the greenhouse is expanded to the east and north.

“We’ll have vastly more space for house plants,” he said. “Our true greenhouse space will quadruple, at least.”

A huge new skylight will be added to the garden center to create “an atrium feel inside the store.” Work on that will begin later this summer.

Another big change will be the addition of a food business inside the center, where a partner will sell coffee and some food items plus ice cream.

“The details on that are coming together,” said Sargent. A symbiotic relationship with the garden center and food vendor makes sense as more and more apartments are being built in the Second Street neighborhood, he added.

That part of the upgrade could be up and running as early as the fall.

Sargent said the overall project is scheduled to be completed by 2023.