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Community Highlights: Meet Collin and Jen Grimes of Rooted Plant Supply

Today we’d like to introduce you to Collin and Jen Grimes.

Hi Collin and Jen, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
For some time, we had been dreaming of starting a plant business. We both worked full time, so it didn’t seem possible. But just as the talks of the dream and planning began, COVID hit and we all know what happened after that.

At the time, thinking of starting a business in the middle of a pandemic did not seem like the greatest idea so we put our dream on pause. We decided we needed to declutter our lives a bit and we chose a handful of plants from our earlier dreaming to be the first to go. We sold 30+ plants in less than 24 hours. Surprised would be an understatement at seeing people’s responses. We began praying about the plant business idea, wondering if it could actually be possible. We tried the 30 plant experiment once more and it was a success. So it began: the sometimes exciting, sometimes tedious, sometimes overwhelming journey of starting a business.

During the fall, we learned how to start a new business on the fly. We found a few places that let us set up as a pop-up. Every event or market we had, through God’s grace and help from friends and family, we started seeing this as a reality. If we did this, we wanted to do it full out. Not to just be a place where you can buy plants (because honestly, you can get them at a lot of places). We wanted to create an experience for everyone who came to Rooted. That is when the school bus idea came. The idea of having a bus turned into an actual greenhouse, filled to the brim with plants, creating that indoor jungle vibe, and bringing plant know-how to the communities in our area. Finding the perfect school bus (which happened to be located in Kansas) that met our needs and wants was challenging but we were not going to settle. After purchasing the bus and making the 4 day journey rom Kansas to Maryland, we ripped out the seats and began selling plants out of it as soon as we could. We steadily worked through the bus conversion process (which turned out to be more like building a tiny home!) so that we could ramp up our sales dates and focus energy on growing the business.

So here we are, summer of 2021 and we’ve been going to different venues every weekend, visiting markets, apartment complexes, breweries and more. We don’t know where this journey is going to take us but we are happy to be on it!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
As any small business, there are many obstacles and challenges. But what we have learned is that you have to keep going, taking one step at a time. Our main challenge has been with keeping plants on the bus and setting up everything before events. The goal is for plants to live on the bus 24/7 and to stay secured in place during travel. We’ve mostly achieved the first part of that goal, but we’re still figuring out how to make the setup/tear down/securing goal a reality.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
We are a husband-wife team selling plants out of a renovated school bus. What we believe sets us apart is the experience and service we give our customers.

We want whoever comes to our shop to know that they can be successful caring for a plant. A common thing we hear from people who walk onto our bus is “I kill every plant I have owned”. We challenge that. It is likely they were never told how to properly care for a plant or they had a plant that just wouldn’t work with the conditions in their home. We make sure to tell our customers the information they need for proper care and give recommendations tailored to them and their home/office. Happy customers with healthy plants bringing some beauty inside is our goal.

So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
We appreciate everyone who has reached out so far to collaborate or invite us to their markets! If you are interested in supporting us, we are always looking for other events or locations that will let us set up for the day! Even if you own a small business where we could set up outside or think your office complex could enjoy a plant day let us know! Please send us any recommendations you have or feel free to pass on our email/Instagram to your friends and colleagues if you think they would be interested. Word of mouth is the best way to support a local small business!

If you are interested in a collaboration, we are also looking for any small business or wholesalers that would potentially want to sell their products in our shop! Again feel free to contact us via email or Instagram!

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