MILWAUKEE — A new business has put down roots in Milwaukee's Bronzeville neighborhood.
When you walk into Maranta Plant Shop, the owners want you to feel like you have stepped into a green oasis.
"Bronzeville is such a beautiful space. MLK Drive, right in front of the MLK statue, we just thought this would be a perfect location," said co-founder and co-owner Mag Rodriguez.
"We offer all kinds of house plants: beginner-friendly, pet friendly, and even a few rare plants," said Michelle Alfaro, who is also the shop's co-founder and co-owner.
Friends Alfaro and Rodriguez run the place. Between Alfaro's passion for plants and Rodriguez's entrepreneurial skills, Maranta Plant Shop quickly flourished from a pop-up business in October 2020 to their new brick-and-mortar store.
"It's been a little bit crazy. It's the only word I can come up with," Rodriguez said.
"I have like 100+ plants at home, so when everyone else started getting into plants, it's really exciting to me. Like wow, I have people to nerd out with," Alfaro said.
After doing their research, the pair says they're the city's first black and brown-owned plant shop. The Small Business Administration found in 2019 that 13 percent of small businesses in Wisconsin were minority-owned.
"For us, it's so empowering because we know that we are a successful black and brown-owned business. I hope we can inspire another black or brown individual," said Rodriguez.
Plants can do more than spruce up your home. An article by the University of Washington Medicine says contact with plants can positively impact your health and well-being.
"In the past, I've had a lot of depression and anxiety and that's how my [passion for] plant[s] kick-started. I started surrounding myself with greenery and it has definitely played a huge role in my healing process," said Alfaro.
And if you're new to being a plant parent, don't worry. Alfaro and Rodriguez say be patient and they are happy to help.
"At the end of the day, we're here to be that resource. That's something that we saw was missing in our community," said Rodriguez.
"I just feel like we're forming friendships and bonds here," said Alfaro.
Maranta Plant Shop is located at 1739 N Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Dr.