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Muhly & Cedar in Shrewsbury blooms out of pandemic

Muhly & Cedar in Shrewsbury blooms out of pandemic

  • Jen Lubman’s free spirit and eye for design led her to open her borough shop a little more than a year ago.
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Jen Lubman posts a picture to her Instagram account nearly every day. This time of year, the bright reds and oranges of the trees, accompanied by the wispy, dried grasses and flowers, fill the frame.

Her personal backyard looks like something you’d see at Longwood Gardens, even though she lives on just half an acre.

“I want people to understand you don’t have to be loaded to have a beautiful outdoor space,” says Jen, who has worked in botany and horticulture for more than 30 years. “People think plants and landscaping are for affluent people, and I don’t agree with that.”

Jen opened her shop, Muhly & Cedar, at 15 N. Main St. in Shrewsbury in late 2020, when the pandemic made houseplants all the rage and improving home landscapes became a new hobby for many.

“It was odd starting in the pandemic when there were a lot of unknowns, but I felt if I hadn’t jumped on the opportunity, it would have slipped through my hands,” she says. “I rely on my own gumption. If I feel like I should push myself to do it, I will.”

The jump into entrepreneurship

Jen has had many roles in her career, but her favorite was as the nursery manager at John Shelley’s Garden Center in Felton. There, she was exposed to some of the most diverse plants she’d ever seen.

She later worked over eight years for the Highway Administration in Maryland, overseeing contractors who planted materials along roadways.

On the side, she sold plants, planters, and holiday plant décor two days a week at Tumbleweeds in Glen Rock.

When she was laid off from her government job in 2018, she found the push she needed to take her side hustle and make it her career.

A growing business

Jen’s work can be seen throughout southern York County. She does container designs at area businesses when the shop is closed, and then welcomes guests to her plant classes, dried flower bar, and garden gift shop the rest of the week.

She also gives garden tours at her home and visits different facilities, such as the Shrewsbury Lutheran Village and other garden clubs, to do workshops and speaking engagements.

Unlike some plant-based businesses, Muhly & Cedar is open year-round — mainly because she still needs to “pay the mortgage.”

But all the work she does, while physical and dirty, is what she loves. The chance she took to start her business has paid off, and she sometimes has to pinch herself that a year later, her shop continues to thrive.

“I’ve gotten to know people over the years who know my work and know that I understand plants,” she says. “They’re the ones who come in here and really support what I’m doing.”

Muhly & Cedar is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. More information can be found on Facebook