Archived Outdoors

Cultivating dreams: Garden shop opens in Waynesville

Co-owners of the Cultivate Garden Shop (from left) Spencer & Courtney Tetrault and Amanda & Blake Yoder. Donated photo Co-owners of the Cultivate Garden Shop (from left) Spencer & Courtney Tetrault and Amanda & Blake Yoder. Donated photo

Just about a year ago, Spencer Tetrault was cruising along Depot Street in Waynesville when he noticed a “For Lease” sign in the window of an empty building. He immediately called his friend, Blake Yoder, and asked if he wanted to start a business. 

“It was a coin toss away from it being a record store,” Yoder chuckled. “But, none of us have the time to go hunt estate sales and flea markets for albums, so it was decided to make it a garden store.”

Cultivate Garden Shop is what came to fruition. Beyond a wide array of plant varieties and specialized tools, there’s a slew of curated products from soil and seeds to interior wares and more. In the back of the space is a taproom with a rotating selection of craft ales. The taproom doubles as the Baby Bird wine bar. 

“We have offerings ranging anywhere from the first-time apartment gardener who wants to grow herbs on their patio all the way to the market gardener,” Yoder said. “And, if you don’t garden, you can just come in and have a drink — sit down in a nice place and meet some nice people.”

Launched at the Whole Bloomin’ Thing Spring Festival in Frog Level last May, the store has already become a beloved addition to the historic district, a section of town quickly filling up with new businesses as of late.

“In some ways, I think it’s meaningful that we opened in Frog Level,” Yoder said. “It feels really exciting to be part of this groundswell of new spots emerging, this renaissance of the area.”

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The Cultivate Garden Shop features a large selection of plants, soils, seeds and specialized tools. Donated photo

At the helm for the day-to-day operations are Yoder and his wife, Amanda, with Tetrault and his wife, Courtney, also co-owners. To note, the Tetraults also own the highly popular Axe & Awl Leatherworks just up the hill on Depot Street. The Yoders run Gooseneck Farm and Coda Wood Studio.

“There’s just a big interest in gardening, plants and raising your own food here in Haywood County and Western North Carolina,” Blake said. “And we want this store to be able to meet the needs of people looking to do just that — this is a playfully elegant space and we want it to be more of an elevated experience when you walk in.”

For the Yoders, Amanda was raised in Raleigh, with Blake hailing from Charleston, South Carolina. Each grew up around gardening and farming, only to cross paths later in life while living and working in New York City.

“Amanda and I have always had a little bit of an affinity toward gardening,” Blake said. “And having lived in a city for a number of years, there’s not really any space to do that, but people are very crafty in figuring out ways to grow plants and raise vegetables in an urban setting.”

Eventually, the young couple realized the city life wasn’t for them anymore. With a keen interest in homesteading and a deep urge to be closer to family below the Mason-Dixon Line, the Yoders discovered Waynesville and relocated three years ago — Blake now working remote as a software engineer, Amanda a professional furniture maker in Asheville’s River Arts District.

And in their spare time, the Yoders finally made a longtime dream a reality by starting Gooseneck Farm, an agricultural endeavor that initially was meant to be for personal consumption, only to manifest itself into a business found at local farmers markets.

“We were growing produce mostly for ourselves, but then we had excess and would give it away to friends,” Blake said. “With learning how to homestead, everything has been trial and error. What works? What doesn’t? And we took all of that knowledge and data and applied it to the garden store.”

When asked just what it is about gardening and homesteading that truly appeals to him, Blake took a moment to pause and reflect on the question, a slight grin rolling across his face.

“My nine-to-five [job] is a digital disembodied experience. Gardening is an embodied experience towards something that’s real, physical and exists versus this sort of amorphous abstract idea of something,” Blake said. “Putting your fingers into the dirt and growing something is this check-and-balance in your life, to be aware of the here and now of what it means to be human.”

Blake admits that “it’s definitely a balancing act” for he and Amanda to hold down full-time jobs while co-managing a small business. But through all the blood, sweat and tears of creating something from nothing, the Yoders and Tetraults know that Cultivate is something worthwhile — this friendly, warm space that’s part garden shop, part community social hub.

“It’s great to see that we hit the vision we wanted to, that people are showing up and really engaging in what we set out to do,” Blake said. “We want to add a new color to the tapestry of Frog Level and Waynesville — we’re proud of this business and proud to be part of this community.”

Want to go?

The Cultivate Garden Shop is located at 250 Depot Street in the Historic Frog Level istrict in Waynesville.

Hours of operation for Cultivate are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Baby Bird, the wine bar inside of Cultivate, is open from 7-10:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays.

For more information, click on or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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