LOGAN SQUARE — Terracotto Plants founder Cotto wants to spread the love as his shop celebrates its first year in Logan Square on Friday.
The shop at 3056 W. Diversey Ave. will celebrate its anniversary by giving away a plant to everyone who comes in to buy one, said Cotto, who uses one name. There will be finger foods for shoppers to enjoy.
The shop is open noon-8 p.m. Friday. It’s known for its house plants, plant care items and sense of community, with photos of customers’ dogs on the wall and a section where customers can leave or grab plant clippings. Cotto’s German shepherd often greets customers at the store.
The giveaway is to thank the community that’s supported the shop, Cotto said. Business was slow when Terracotto Plants opened — but things have changed, Cotto said.
“It’s been good,” he said. “Starting off last year with not much compared to what I have now, or how big the store is now — I was just a kid with his dreams, and then it just sort of all built up.
“As time went on, I just kept putting all I was making right back into the store, and eventually it turned into something a lot bigger.”
The Terracotto Plants team has been able to bring on Brian Jones, Cotto’s roommate and a cofounder of the business. And they recently hired another employee.
The extra help was needed as maintaining the shop became more of a challenge, he said.
“There were just a lot of curveballs thrown from every direction, and I just sort of just rolled with the punches. Anytime something else came up, I was just even more motivated to sell even more of my plants,” Cotto said. “It was challenging, but it was also kind of fun.”
Beyond sales, Terracotto has been host to terrarium-building classes and a plant swap. Cotto also goes to customers’ homes for plant consultations.
He was also able to partner with Ecaugenera, a grower from Ecuador who hosts pop-ups events, for an event at Terracotto Plants, he said.
“I never expected this, at least in the first year,” Cotto said. “I’d have people lining up to the store and everybody was really excited and …thankful, and my heart was so full.
“I like to think that people notice my passion and knowledge for plants, and I think that that’s one of the main reasons that they like to come back.”
Cotto would like to expand the shop into another part of its building, which would nearly double the size of Terracotto Plants. With that space, the team would be able to grow their own plants to sell.
“I’m glad I have this store to sort of surround myself with the complete opposite of all [the bad news in the world], and I hope people can feel the same way,” Cotto said. “I hope they can just stop by whenever they feel like they need to forget about things going on in the world.”
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