Commerce

Local plant shop Pueblo serves as an oasis amid the Sonoran Desert

Posted 12/1/21

Michael Lanier began his plant selling business, Pueblo, in 2015 as a booth at a local farmer’s market.

Now, the business is located in what used to be an auto shop on Grand Avenue in …

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Commerce

Local plant shop Pueblo serves as an oasis amid the Sonoran Desert

Pueblo plant shop is located in west Phoenix, at 1025 NW Grand Ave.
Pueblo plant shop is located in west Phoenix, at 1025 NW Grand Ave.
(Photos by Kathryn Field)
Posted

Michael Lanier began his plant selling business, Pueblo, in 2015 as a booth at a local farmer’s market.

Now, the business is located in what used to be an auto shop on Grand Avenue in Phoenix, complete with an outdoor garden area, greenhouse and a coffee cart, and is one of the most popular plant shops in the Valley.

Alexa Tarriba, Pueblo’s social media manager, has worked at the establishment for almost half a year. She said that what sets Pueblo apart from other nurseries in Phoenix is its one on one approach, which allows for staff to spend time with their customers as they shop, educating them on what kinds of plants they might want to purchase and how to effectively take care of them.

“Phoenix has grown really fast recently, not a lot of people are aware of what they can grow here,” Tarriba said. “That’s why our garden has the things that it has, to show what can be grown here.”

Since Pueblo carries a number of plants that are not native to Arizona, educating customers is extremely important. In addition to plants specific to the Sonoran desert, the store includes plants that are usually found in more tropical, wet climates.

“Desert plants do better here, for sure, but some plants can be adapted to our desert,” she said.

Plants like Madagascar palms, plumeria, monstera and even pineapple plants are exhibited in Pueblo’s outdoor garden, an example of how many different plants can be grown in Arizona with the right strategies.

Even though a lot of these non-native plants require a lot of water, sustainability is a priority for Pueblo and its staff.

“Everything in here is sustainable and environmentally friendly,” Tarriba said. “We use natural energy, our water is as natural and efficient as it can be and low waste.”

The store also supports small businesses, selling work from local artists and creators alongside plants.

Pueblo isn’t simply a plant store. Behind the indoor portion of the shop, an outdoor garden includes a coffee cart and areas where people can sit and read, talk or just enjoy the scenery.

Joseph Cancelleri, a customer at Pueblo since early October, returns to the shop weekly because of the atmosphere, which he said feels akin to a book or record store.

“They also answer all my plant care questions, which has certainly helped me keep my own plants alive,” he said.

Tanya Rincon, another one of Pueblo’s regular customers, said she initially visited Pueblo because of their quality selection of plants, but continues to visit because of how welcoming the staff is.

“It has been so exciting watching their business grow and flourish the way it has,” Rincon said.

“You can tell there is a special level of care through the whole shop.”

Tarriba said that, as a queer-owned business, community involvement is a very important aspect of Pueblo’s success.

“It’s definitely a positive thing for our community to see, as silly as it sounds, queer people doing positive things for our community,” she said. “A lot of people are just not aware of that, and Pueblo is a really great example for other queer people to start their own thing.”

Pueblo has grown a lot since 2015, and Tarriba said that they hope to grow even more in the coming years.

“Community-wise, we plan to eventually be doing events here and bring in more people to just enjoy the space, not so much to just consume but to just be here and have an escape,” she said.

Editor’s Note: Kate Duffy is a student reporter at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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