Local business The Plant Gays aims to start its own Green(ery) Revolution


David Erbe and Aidan Robinson, co-owners of The Plant Gays, are repotting plants at their East Market shop, one of the many services offered in-store. Credit: Jen Brown Photography, courtesy David Erbe

For those of us who feel outside our proud plant parent community or have a knack for picking plants, The Plant Gays may be of help.

The local plant shop at 212 Kelton Avenue in East Market is run by two fresh graduates from Ohio State University known as Plant Gaze. The couple promotes a variety of plant-related services, from plant repotting to home consultations.

David Erbe, owner of The Plant Gays, says the idea started as a simple 3D printing hobby of making silicone molds and concrete planters to pass the time during quarantine. Since then, this hobby has turned into a successful business with a physical store where locals can purchase items such as houseplants and breeding stations.

“We also offer home design services,” says Erbe. “If people are interested, we go out into their homes and see what kind of space and lighting they are using, plants for their space, interior design furniture, etc. They can choose what they’re looking for.”

Aidan Robinson, co-owner of The Plant Gays, said the business model changed over time as they continued to grow. In September 2020, he started an Instagram account and after gaining a following, the two began thinking about how to turn their hobby into a business, and two months later started selling products online.

“I started doing it as a hobby during lockdown because I had some free time. I built planters and breeding stations that you can see on our website. is,” Erbe said. “So I started by selling those items first.

Herve and Robinson didn’t cross paths until that fateful Tinder match, even though they earned degrees in landscape architecture and urban and regional planning, respectively, from Ohio, Herve said. .

Herbe said the two officially met after learning they were graduating from Knowlton School of Architecture a year apart. A romance developed as their similarities in interests became apparent.

Hervé spoke of her long-term partnership, both business and romance with Robinson, now over five years.

Since opening its first retail store five months ago, Erbe said The Plant Gays has been able to sell a wider range of products and the move to the East Market has increased the visibility of the business.

“I like being in stores and seeing people’s faces,” Hervé said. “Plants not only make people happy, but they also have therapeutic effects and I think they can be a good hobby for many people.”

Robinson, who works full-time as an interior designer for a furniture company, often hears from clients that they want a plant shop that offers plant-related services such as planting tips and repotting.

“We’ve heard a lot from clients and people buying from us that there’s a fundamental lack of a market that they can consult at home, especially when it comes to plants,” Robinson said. “And in terms of plants, there has been a very high demand last year, especially since the pandemic.

Now that retail stores are up and running, Robinson said he’s looking forward to seeing the duo reach out to more people.

“We’ve had time to settle in where we started, so we’re excited to be back in the market setting, as we feel we’ll be able to reach a broader range of communities.

Plant Gay is preparing to perform at the Columbus Coffee Festival and has partnered with the festival for several years to sell succulents and other botanicals in festival-branded mugs to customers, Erbe said. Stated.

Robinson says plants aren’t as intimidating as many people think and can be relaxing.

“For many people, plants are very intimidating,” said Robinson. “For myself alone, just having such an organic element in our space has helped ease a lot of anxiety. But for me, it’s like shifting that paradigm.” It’s really manageable, not as difficult as people think. But I think a lot of people just need that kind of expertise to navigate their daily journey with plants.”

The Plant Gays booth will be at the Columbus Coffee Festival on Saturday from 9am-6pm.