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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Logan Square Duo Turns Solo Pop-Ups Into Shared Plants And Crafts Store: ‘We’re Making Something Beautiful In The Neighborhood’

Terracotto Plants and Pixie & The Boy, 3056 W. Diversey Ave., is run by two creatives who only met a couple of months ago.

Trish Carnevale and Cotto, owners of a plant and gift shop at 3056 W. Diversey Ave.
Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago
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LOGAN SQUARE — When a former greenhouse worker and a crafter met earlier this summer, both were brainstorming how to expand their businesses.

Now, they’ve combined their dreams into one shop, opening Terracotto Plants and Pixie & The Boy inside a long-vacant storefront at 3056 W. Diversey Ave.

Cotto, who goes by one name, is behind the Terracotto Plants part of the operation, which is devoted to house plants and other gifts. Trish Carnevale is the accessories and housewares maker behind Pixie & The Boy. The grand opening of the blended store is Saturday.

“I took up nihilism, and I decided life is too short to not do what you love,” Cotto said.

A banner reading, “No risk, no magic,” is a nod to the leap the owners took to open the Logan Square store. The two were strangers a couple of months ago; now, they’re running a brick-and-mortar business together.

“When you walk through those doors, you’re going to feel happier,” Carnevale said. “Everything is colorful and green and bright. We want the neighborhood … to experience it and love it as much as we do.”

Credit: Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago
Plants at the shop, 3056 W. Diversey Ave.

Cotto and Carnevale met through Elsbeth Cool, owner of Four Star Family Cyclery across the street. Both ran pop-up shops in back of the bike shop. Carnevale is a longtime friend of Cool’s, while Cotto met Cool on Facebook after losing his job at a local greenhouse.

Cotto and Carnevale were looking to take their passions to the next level. Cotto wanted to open his own plant shop, and Carnevale wanted a more permanent home for her handmade crafts after a few years of selling them mostly online.

Serendipitously, the storefront across the street from the bike shop was available, so they immediately snatched it up. The location was perfect, as Carnevale lives nearby and Cotto is a lifelong resident of Logan Square and Avondale.

“Doing this alone would be kinda scary, so we were both on the same page,” Cotto said. “I remember bringing up the idea of being partners and opening up a shop, and she was super on board, and I was like, ‘This is who I’m probably going to open up this shop with.'”

Over the past couple of months, the two have transformed the corner storefront into an inviting shop brimming with house plants and gifts. Cotto moved into the apartment upstairs to be closer to the business. Now, when customers request a plant or a cutting they don’t carry in the shop but Cotto personally owns, he can run upstairs and grab it for them, he said.

“I love the fact that we’re making something beautiful in the neighborhood and contributing to the neighborhood,” Carnevale said.

Credit: Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago
Some of the housewares at the shop, 3056 W. Diversey Ave.

The duo plans to roll out classes and events for making terrariums, jewelry, candles and other crafts.

Cotto offers potting services at home and in store. The shop also has a “take a cutting, leave a cutting” section, which will allow neighbors to grow their own plants at home.

Cotto said house plants have helped him through depression. Before working at the greenhouse, he was making “really good money” working for a paint company while studying neuroscience at DePaul University, but he was unhappy, he said.

Plants “helped me remain hopeful. I figured I have to be here for these guys to survive. They’re kinda like my children,” he said.

Cotto was working on building a life around plants around the same time Carnevale was itching to go back to full-time work. She launched Pixie & The Boy when her 8-year-old son was younger, but as he went off to school, she wanted to expand her business, she said.

While the shop came together quickly, it was a project years in the making.

“This isn’t just a plant shop … we’ve always had our hearts set on this, and we finally were able to find a way to express that love and interest,” Cotto said.

Credit: Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago
The outside of the shop.

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