COLLEGEVILLE - Jenny Greenwald is looking to expand her business by adding a tent outside her florist shop on Main Street.

Besides that, she's looking to protest a little, too.

'My tent is more for protest than profit,' she said. 'If you're going to go to a tent, go to one that's more community-based.'

Starting Monday, Greenwald Flower and Plant Workshop will add a tent, the Greenwald Garden, selling locally-produced garden items and 'bedding' for plants. It will be open throughout the week and into weekends until the middle of June.

According to Greenwald and several other area flower businesses, tents that open up during the spring and summer months 'undercut' those who are established year-round.

'I'm all for fair and free competition,' she said. 'They're taking advantage of the seasonality and then packing up and going away.'

Although those tents might pay rent to the gas station or supermarket for the use of their parking lot for the three months they're around, Greenwald believes it's not beneficial to those businesses to do that.

'Business people don't have to be that cut-throat,' she said. 'The rent that (tents) are paying for three months, if they put somebody out of business who pays for 12 months up the street, then that makes the tax base in the area smaller.'

With a smaller tax base, companies in the area still around would have to pick up the slack, including the ones renting out their lots for flower tents, Greenwald said.

The tents are detrimental to grocery stores and hardware stores who also sell plants in the community, she said.

By adding a tent to her business, Greenwald said she'll be able to expand her business to items she normally doesn't carry, like pepper and tomato plants and other garden items.

'It's a two-fold thing,' she said. 'I'm trying to do this for the community. I'm trying to have those sales stay (in the community) and sell them products grown in the community.'

She said her new items will be from licensed growers on local, Collegeville farms.

Additionally, part of her proceeds will go toward the small businesses of the town, through the Perkiomen Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Collegeville Economic Development Corp.

Whether the Greenwald Garden will be an annual thing remains to be seen.

'We'll see if the community responds to it,' she said. 'And if zoning things change.'

Follow Frank Otto on Twitter @fottojourno.

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