Staff Write Tiffany Stoiber
KEARNEY — Abbie Castaneda pictured plants behind the large glass garage doors when the building was still just a barbecue joint.
“We would drive by this place all the time and I would want them to put it up for sale,” she said of the spot at 25th Street and Avenue B. “Then we drove by one day and there was a For Sale sign up.”
4Q Barbecue had closed officially and the owner put the building up for sale.
Nov. 4, Abbie and her husband Diego signed the paperwork and the place was theirs.
“It’s fate,” Abbie said simply.
After working out of a greenhouse behind their home and selling plants in the open air of markets, the Castanedas’ business, now to be called Rooted Plant Company, finally has a home it doesn’t have to share with the family.
Abbie’s love for horticulture took root while she and Diego were living in North Carolina, where he was stationed as a part of the Marine Corps.
“It became my outlet and kept me busy when he was out on the field,” Abbie explained.
She took the hobby with her when they moved to California, and when they returned home to Nebraska.
But, she says, it was easier to grow succulents in North Carolina than Nebraska.
A couple of years ago, they built a greenhouse in their backyard. Around the same time, Abbie also started selling what she had grown.
Though she started with succulents, Abbie also got into herbs and now houseplants, so Rooted offers a variety of lively greenery to flourish indoors.
Now that they have a storefront, they hope to offer even more.
“We’re looking forward to doing workshops and fun events, like hosting birthday parties every once in a while,” Abbie said. “We really want to emphasize small and local business, partner with other businesses and stock their products. We have a few we’re making plans with, and people can look forward to that.”
For example, Rooted will have local artisans’ pottery to house their plants, along with plant stands, hangers and other decor.
Renovations still are underway, but the Castanedas are eyeing an opening date in late February.
Transforming the space from a restaurant has proven to be no quick task.
However, toward the end of January, Diego had installed new bamboo flooring, the walls were a fresh, clean color and new finishes like crown molding and baseboards already were breathing new life into the space.
Diego said they chose bamboo flooring specifically for environmental reasons.
“It’s not your traditional wood floor that cuts down a bunch of trees,” he said. “It has a sustainable source.”
“We’re big on recycling and being sustainable,” Abbie added.
The Castanedas are passionate about making sure their customers find success with their own houseplants.
“We have a wealth of knowledge that as you’re purchasing a plant from us we’re able to pass on,” Diego explained. “If you have a question, you can pass it on to us. It doesn’t end at the point of sale.”
The couple has done plenty of research online and through books to figure out how best to make their plants grow, but a lot of their journey has been “trial and error.” So, they welcome their customers sending photos of a plant that seems to need some help, and they’ll try to diagnose the issue together.
They also plan to sell their own dirt and plant sprays, so that customers’ plants flourish at home and not just in the store.
Paired with in-store workshops, the Castanedas hope to help everyone become successful horticulturists.
“It’s like our website says,” Diego explained. “We’re turning everyone into plant people.”
Original article can be found here.