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Finding Her Own Fresh Air

Christina Carter started a plant business after developing a passion for them after her mother passed away. Now, she has a growing – pun intended – plant business and community of plant lovers affectionately dubbed the Plant People, which also happens to be the name of the store.

Christina Carter’s house has always been graced by plants. Her husband became a reluctant enabler of her plant hobby, and over time began to appreciate them. However, she noticed a shift in her passion in 2016 when her mother passed away.

“When you’re a kid, you don’t always appreciate why your momma has plants around,” she said. “I know there was an informal community of plant lovers among our parents, but I didn’t know how to connect to them. I always had a few plants, but after I lost my mom, I couldn’t go into any store with- out buying more plants. When my oldest sister made a visit and questioned how many plants I had, I told her, ‘I think I’ve just been missing momma.’ She told me that she had been doing the same thing, and that it started for her at the funeral. She had taken home the funeral plants and had kept them alive for years. I think for many people, plants help us connect with a person they miss or are grieving.”

Photo by Logan Walcher.

After making this realization in 2016, she began talking with friends and family. Four years later, Carter was running a shop with her friend, Brenda Flores.

“My business partner Brenda and our husbands were eating on our porch, and Plant People came alive over bloody marys and tacos,” she said. “Our jobs were put on hold because of COVID. Four years after my mother died in July 2020, we rolled the Tiny House out on the gravel lot at Tenth and Hudson.”

Although Flores left in May to pursue other work options, the two are still close, and Carter gives her credit for how much she was a part of their early days. Now in a bigger, brick and mortar location at 1212 N. Hudson Ave., Plant People just celebrated its two-year anniversary.

In a shop stocked with plants from easy-to-care-for to exotic, Carter said she wants to create relationship with her clients and know about their plants.

“I don’t want you to just come in and buy a plant,” she said. “I want to know about the plant you bought two weeks ago. I’m still interested. Your plant has eight new leaves? Send me a photo! Let’s celebrate!”

And she said she is always available for advice for plant care — a bonus you can’t get at any of the big box stores.

Carter knows about every plant in her shop, what each plant needs and which plants are hazardous to pets. And she continues to provide help and care notes after the plant has been purchased. She said she admits to constantly reading and learning to further her plant knowledge.

“We love our plants,” she said. “We love plants being part of our conversation and the way this has formed our community — Plant People.”

And, if she doesn’t have what her customers need, she tries to refer them to local plant shops in the area.

Standing among her greenery, musing about the community she has helped build, Carter said, “We need to find a breath of fresh air somewhere in this world that we live in, and this shop and these plants can be that for people.”

Photo by Logan Walcher.

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