Just a block east of Boxcar Coffee Roasters on Pearl Street’s east end, the new Terracotta Plant Shop features nothing but houseplants — blooming plants, hanging plants, drought-tolerant ones and humidity-loving ones — approximately 250 varieties on any given day. It also sells macramé hangings and, of course, plenty of terra cotta pots.
Terracotta Plant Shop, owned by Eben Metivier and his girlfriend Adria Buonocore, officially opened its 1739 Pearl Street location on December 11, but the pair started selling plants from a little stand out of their South Boulder home last June. They put out 12 plants the first day and sold out; they took all that money and bought even more plants the next week.
After only 10 weeks of front-yard plant stand success, the operation got so big that they needed a commercial space. It didn’t take long to find the space, and because the city plans to tear the building down in spring, their lease only runs through the end of April, both short-term and sliding-scale — a perfect fit to test the waters.
“We got the Christmas rush,” says Eben, “and really haven’t seen it drop off. People have been really excited about plants.”
Its website, which catalogues everything the shop has, groups the plants by categories of water, light and ease of care-taking, and Eben, who runs the shop daily, always makes sure that customers leave with plants in the best shape, even if it means adding some extra soil to the pots.
Healing in nature
Adria and Eben moved from San Francisco to Boulder in April 2020, right as the pandemic took hold. Adria, unhappy at her hospital job as an ER nurse, wanted a change and both craved more access to nature.
Eben, a craniosacral therapist, was practicing and assistant-teaching in San Francisco, but upon coming to Boulder had to rethink his day job since touching people’s heads for an hour at a time during Covid didn’t fly as well as before.
“In craniosacral therapy, as a practitioner you really learn how to take care of yourself,” says Eben, “And so I wanted a job that felt good.”
Eben grew up gardening with his mother in Maine and always wanted to do something with plants but never dreamt it would manifest as a shop.
Adria, who has a Master’s degree in health care data analysis, has continued to work in that field, transitioning out of the ICU realm, and also works with Eben daily to keep Terracotta rolling.
“Eben and I started selling plants during a time when the world seemed to stop turning,” writes Adria to BLDRfly. “I quickly realized this was more than just a hobby. It was a way to reconnect with people and a means to start thinking about possibilities rather than restrictions.”
Spending 15 minutes in the shop, you can easily tell how the space represents not just a fitting endeavor but a healing experience, getting lost among the leaves and the large mirror that almost doubles the visual space they take up.
The pair gets most of their plants wholesale, handpicking them locally at wholesale nurseries, and also gets some shipped from Florida. They’ve had such success that already the pair has begun to look for their next space.
Terracotta Plant Shop has also partnered with a greenhouse in Southern California and began shipping plants directly from there to people’s houses on a national scale and plan to continue this business alongside running the local Boulder hub.
Header image: Terracotta Plant Shop on Pearl Street. Image: Tatyana Sharpton.