Two miracles inspire new cannabis grow store in Lincoln Park

Marios Glitsos, right, and fiancé Brooke Joyce are opening Grow Your Own Garden Supply at 1801 W. Michigan St. in Lincoln Park. The store will specialize in cannabis cultivation. (Photo by Mark Nicklawske)

It took at least two miracles for longtime cannabis grower Marios Glitsos to open a new Duluth garden supply store.

First, Glitsos survived a major health crisis that saw him in hospice care for months and suddenly rebound from what appeared to be an unsuccessful surgery.

Then in May of 2023, the Minnesota lawmakers passed a bill making adult recreational cannabis use legal for the first time in modern state history.

The brush with death and dramatic state rule change inspired Glitsos to start a new project — a gardening store with a focus on the newly legalized plant.

Glitsos and his fiancé Brooke Joyce announced earlier this week they will open Grow Your Own Garden Supply at 1801 W. Michigan St. in Lincoln Park April 12. The store is located in the former Dinehery Fence & Ironworks warehouse, a 2,500-square-foot space fully renovated by building owner Alan Nelson of ALN Properties.

Dinehery Fence & Ironworks occupied 1801 W. Michigan St. for decades before closing last year. Brooke Joyce stands outside the building before its renovation. (Submitted photo)

“What a turnaround, right,” said Glitsos. “It took a little bit of imagination. I’m glad (Nelson’s) vision was as big as mine.”

For Glitsos, 44, an even bigger turnaround came with his health. A few years ago, he was diagnosed with liver disease and suffered kidney failure. His condition deteriorated enough that hospice care was necessary. He only pulled through after two major surgeries.

“I’ve got to be honest: It’s a miracle,” he said. “After that surgery in 2022, it didn’t really take and then a couple of months later – all of a sudden it did.”

Glitsos spent months working to regain his strength and contemplating his future. Coming from a family of Greek immigrants, Glitsos sold property he owned in Greece to invest in the new Duluth store.

The decision was fueled by youthful memories of gardening with his father and their trips to Gordy’s Market — now Gordy’s Gift and Garden Center — on Highway 53 in Hermantown.

“I thought if I did have limited time it would be with my fiancé and my child and the community around me that I grew up with,” he said. “Without (Brooke) — she was amazing support throughout all of it and has continued to be as she continues to let me do my dream here.”

Grow Your Own Garden Supply is designed to be a hub for gardeners of all kinds but with the 2023 state law changes, many people are expected to explore cannabis production for the first time. It’s a sea change for Minnesota horticulture.

Glitsos has been growing and breeding cannabis for more than 25 years. While the law changes presented him with numerous business opportunities, he decided his experience could be best used in a retail and educational setting.

“I really wanted to focus on the education side of things — and selling the pick axes, shovels and jeans rather than going back into the gold mine,” he said. “If we’re going to call it a gold rush.”

The store will be a place where gardeners can learn about things like seed varieties, proper soil fertilization and grow tent sizes. Everything needed to cultivate cannabis plants will be available along with advice from someone who has grown in the northland for the last two decades.

Marios Glitsos, right, and Brooke Joyce display a variety of cannabis seeds the store offers for planting. (Photo by Mark Nicklawske).

House plants, unique pottery, locally made gifts and a children’s corner will all be part of the store.

“Part of what we’re doing here is normalizing cannabis entirely,” said Glitsos.

Classes taught by a variety of Duluth gardeners will be a big feature at the store. Sustainable gardening, regional outdoor gardening, indoor container gardening and beekeeping are all potential educational topics.

“I think people need to realize you can grow anything everywhere here,” said Joyce. “You can grow your own vegetables on your kitchen counter if you want.”

Glitsos has studied everything from big grow operations in Humboldt County, California to simple basement hobby shops. He said his focus will be on teaching sustainable practices no matter the garden size or crop.

“I think that’s one of the big goals of all our classes,” he said. “It’s showing people how they can be growing sustainably and intelligently for the environment.”

Friend and former Duluth East classmate Patrick Finnegan, who established a hemp farm business north of Two Harbors in 2015, said the Glitsos store should be a great resource for local growers. He said he hopes to teach at the Duluth store.

“It’s a nice option to provide those opportunities for people to learn,” he said. “If you are doing a hemp or cannabis crop or vegetables or anything at home, it still is an investment. It’s become more of an expensive hobby, when in the past maybe it wasn’t.”

Finnegan said the store and its classes will help newcomers save time and money.

“So you can have more confidence in what you’re investing in,” he said. “Learn some stuff through some guys who are growers, guys who basically have done it wrong just enough times to get it right.”

Glitsos said he’s excited to be a part of a new era in cannabis cultivation.

“For a long time anyone with knowledge really couldn’t talk about it … it was detrimental in a lot of ways to do so,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to share.”

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