September 20, 2021

‘Pets are the new kids and plants are the new pets’

New plant store Greens N’ Things opens Saturday

A new plant store will be in full bloom Saturday as Madison Hale and her mother, Colleen Van Gorp open Greens n’ Things at 210 N. Maple St.

Hale said her interest in plants has been life-long and there was little doubt she would pursue her fascination professionally. From her studies at Iowa State University to professional career in York, Nebraska, she has a breadth of experience she can bring to her new business.

“I’ve always enjoyed them,” Hale said of plants. “I went to Iowa State and got a degree in agronomy, worked for Pioneer and Dow Agrisciences in the USDA for about 10 years. I moved back to Iowa and started a family and the hours in agriculture didn’t really work out for starting a family, but my parents bought a farm with a greenhouse on it so it started from there, growing plants in the greenhouse and things kind of took off and started selling them online and now we’re selling them here.”

Hale also said the size of her business is a better fit for raising her nearly 2-year-old son.

“I’m a stay-at-home mom now, so I needed an area where I could control, my son could be here, he loves playing in the greenhouse and everything,” she said.

Greens n’ Things looks to offer anything and everything.

“We’re going to have a wide variety of houseplants all year ‘round and then in Fall and Winter time we’ll have some mums, Christmas cactus, concettas, that sort of thing,” Hale said. “And then in the Spring time we’ll have some seasonal plants for the Spring like geraniums, petunias, that sort of thing, but we’ll always have houseplants all year round and some succulents.”

Greens n’ Things will also have features that allow Hale to apply her expertise for newcomers and owners of plants in need of a check-up.

“In the backside, where it’s not finished yet, we’ll actually have a potting bar, where you can pick the pot you want, the plant you want, we can show you how to pot it, you can pot it yourself, so you don’t have to buy a bag of soil just for one plant,” Hale said. “It’s also a place where if you’re having an issue with the houseplant, you can bring it in, we can look at it, see if we can figure out what’s going on with it, since I have that degree. It does kind of identify the diseases and moisture and watering issues that are common in houseplants.”

For those looking to decorate their living space with plants and have never done it before, Hale knows the kind of questions to ask in order to guide them towards a successful purchase.

“How much lighting they would have in whatever area they were trying to decorate and then if they’re wanting more of a hard-to-kill plant or one that’s going to take a little bit more attention and then we’ll have it kind of spread out in our retail shelves and stuff like that,” Hale said. “If you have a low-light area you’re going to want this plant, if you have a high-light area, you’ll want this plant, that sort of thing.”

Hale’s decision to open a plant store on Maple Street comes as interest in owning and maintaining plants is increasing.

“A lot of people just love seeing the actual new growth come on the plant,” she said. “There’s a saying that’s been going around lately that, ‘Pets are the new kids and plants are the new pets.’ So it’s for the people that, they still want to be able to go out, do things, travel, but they still want that thing that they can nurture, take care of and see it grow and thrive.”

Greens n’ Things will be open Thursday through Monday 10 a.m. — 6 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 9 a.m. — 4 p.m.