ROCK VALLEY—Something new is sprouting in downtown Rock Valley.
Rooted Plant Shop opened Saturday, Jan. 9, bringing a wide range of houseplants and a coffee shop to Rock Valley shoppers.
Katie Van Zee is the owner of Rooted Plant Shop, which she initially opened in her hometown of Inwood in September.
Just three months in, the 22-year-old’s business has outgrown the space, and she has big plans for the new location in Rock Valley.
“We’ll be expanding into a full-service coffee shop which is one of the main reasons for moving to Rock Valley, to be able to serve a different crowd,” Van Zee said.
The new digs also come with additional space to display plants, pots, baskets, T-shirts and other related items.
“The building has really nice windows, so we’re able to have more of a variety of plants and pots,” Van Zee said. “We wanted to be able to help the people in Rock Valley and be able to serve more of this community.”
Van Zee is a certified green thumb — she has the horticulture degree to prove it. Her passion for plants and growing things started young, but she got a taste for houseplants while studying at Southeast Technical College in Sioux Falls, SD.
After graduating in 2018, she started a wedding floral business in Inwood called Indigo Row Floral Design, but still wanted to find a way to share houseplants with others.
“I wanted to have a space where I could educate people a little more on plants that was separate from Indigo Row,” Van Zee said. “I started Rooted basically so I could help educate people a little bit more about houseplants and so I could continue doing what I love.”
Starting Rooted Plant Shop in September during the coronavirus pandemic felt like going out on a limb to Van Zee, but everything is coming up roses so far.
Rooted Plant Shop specializes in houseplants that are hardy and low maintenance, an intentional move on Van Zee’s part. She wants to help people who might not ordinarily have plants find something they can keep alive and enjoy year after year.
“Most of the stuff that is in our store is easy to care for houseplants for people who don’t necessarily have a green thumb,” she said. “I chose the plants that we have in stock just for the ease of care.”
Rooted customers also can consult with Van Zee before purchasing a plant to find something best suited to survive and thrive in their home. Many of the most popular plants available at Rooted grow well in low light or are pet friendly, and Van Zee is excited to add a few new varieties at her larger location.
“We will be adding in more specialty plants, but still keeping our easy to care for houseplants,” she said. “We’ll also be able to have more pots available.”
Plant enthusiasts who cannot make it to Rock Valley also may shop Rooted’s inventory online at www.rootedplantshop.co.
“That is something we have been doing from the start and will continue to do as we move to this location. We’re able to ship basically anywhere in the United States,” Van Zee said.
Transplanting Rooted to Rock Valley also means Van Zee can lean into the educational aspect of the business. Rooted hosts events on the second Saturday of every month where a local vendor may have a pop-up in the shop or where Van Zee teaches small classes.
Past classes have covered aspects of caring for houseplants, like best practices for repotting. Van Zee said she hopes to continue these kinds of educational offerings at Rooted, but is waiting to see how the new location plays out first.
Plants have always been Van Zee’s forte, but she said that running a coffee shop is a new challenge for herself and her event coordinator and fellow coffee-fan Shanae Schulze, 21, originally of Arizona. The two have been taking barista classes to prepare, but also doing a lot of research.
“I say this about how I’ve learned to do everything with Indigo Row, too, a lot of it is a YouTube education,” Van Zee said. “We’re making sure we’re educated in a wide variety of things and that we’re bringing the best coffee possible to the town of Rock Valley.”
Rock Valley is served by a few cafes, but Van Zee said the combination of plants and coffee should make Rooted’s offerings a unique addition to the community. The coffee shop will serve coffee, tea and a selection of baked goods, some of which will be sourced from local bakeries.
Van Zee plans to hang onto Rooted’s old location on Main Street in Inwood and will use it as a consultation space for Indigo Row, which recently had its third anniversary.