Welcome to PLANTZ.com! It’s been an interesting road to get here, but we’re up…marketing, selling, and shipping some of the world’s finest foliage plants. We hope it’s going to make some people really happy.
Back in April 2011, the brother of a Tampa friend moved to Manhattan to live the bachelor life in NYC. We’ll call him Robby, mainly because that’s his real name. Robby was the only Manhattanite I knew, and I wanted to see if I could get a plant to him – a nice one, to brighten his studio apartment. A bigger and better one than he could get anywhere in the city. So, I commandeered one of my favorite palms – a Hawaiian-grown Kentia palm – sleeved it, boxed it, and sent it to Robby.
It was our first shot, and darned if it didn’t work.
We gave care instructions to Robby, told him about the wonderful sub-irrigation system and, checked on it from time to time, but Robby’s enthusiasm for the little oxygen producer waned. I lost track of Robby, and I know he killed the plant within a year.
Business in Tampa continued going well – we serve over 400 customers, some of the most high-profile companies in the market. Our service technicians manage thousands of plants in all kinds of environments, even some growing on walls. Additionally, around Thanksgiving every year most of our team puts on elf hats and delivers and installs Christmas and holiday decorations. Over 4,000 Poinsettias pass through our shop, and we do both live and silk holiday greenery. There’s something really special about the smell of a Fraser Fir at Christmastime.
In the summer of 2014, a couple things happened: I took a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii and I got a call from Cleveland. The trip to the Big Island was an eye-opener and I got a better understanding for the value of Hawaiian grown foliage (besides being a nice get-away for my wife Lynn and me). My favorite palm is grown there – the one Robby killed – and I wrote about it in The Journey of the Kentia Palm. Back in Tampa, we got a call from a woman in Ohio who wanted to send a gift plant – but not a little one. She wanted a nice, tall plant for her grandson who had just opened a new retail store. And so it started – the Lisa’s triumphant trip to Cleveland was our first commercial endeavor into what we call around here – “plants by mail”, or “PBM” for short. I wrote back then, too, of The Journey of the Lisa Cane – must have listened to Don’t Stop Believing a few times that summer.
A couple other things came together. We had recently relocated in Tampa from a less than half-acre rented facility just north of Tampa’s swanky Hyde Park area to a 2.5 acre piece of property we were able to buy, complete with greenhouses and deep wells, out by the Fairgrounds. It’s a little further from the action in Tampa, but the space, greenhouses, and water afforded us the ability to carry a little more inventory – maybe even keep a few extra plants around in case we got another “Cleveland” call. That, together with my always-encouraging team under lead cheerleader Sue Waltzer, who kept pushing and pushing me to pursue the “PBM” thing.
Web guys and dot coms. The birth of plants for sale online.
We’ve been working for many years now with Barry Powers (my “Web Guy”) and his marketing team at PowerOn Marketing. They’ve helped us solidify our plantz.us address as a go-to spot for anyone who wants office plants, plant rentals, or a plant wall in west central Florida. He held our hands through some really bad (self-imposed) SEO moves, and fixed it for us too. Over the years, I’ll bet we talked a thousand times about building out our site so we could sell plants online. “I’m not ready”, “I don’t have enough time”, “my tux didn’t come back from the cleaners” – I was full of excuses. But with additional inventory capacity, abundant sources for high-quality plants, and some confidence shipping them, we started building the site earlier this year.
Back when we decided to brand the company as PLANTZ, we bought plantz.us, and settled in on using it. I loved saying, “dot U-S, like in United States”, but it still wasn’t a .com. For years I’ve stalked plantz.com – watching its owners move it, hide it, use it to redirect to other “plant” sites, and ultimately try to auction it. It was held in some Bahamian corporation and there was no way to make an offer, no way to talk to someone on the phone and sell them on why they should give it to me for a couple hundred bucks. Ha! GoDaddy couldn’t even help. It surfaced in late spring and was offered for sale on an auction site, and I just couldn’t stomach the thought of someone else getting “my” .com; so, after a few beers over Memorial Day weekend, I pressed the “buy” button and after several days of transfers – domain and money – we are now the proud owners of plantz.com and we hope it will gain national recognition as the go-to online spot for the best foliage plants in the world.
House plants online – We’re open!
So, with a few IP entries, plantz.com is now open! And we hope to make you happy with a fabulous plant. And we’re not stopping here because we have three main goals for the site:
Help you select a plant that will best work for you.
Deliver it to your doorstep.
Give you confidence you can keep it alive.
We’ve started with ten plants – well, it’s down to nine because one didn’t make the cut. The plants are all high-quality shade-grown plants hand-picked by me from growers I trust. They are the best foliage plants available anywhere. We plan to add plants to the site – maybe a new one that we’ll feature each month and some planters too. And we’ll keep adding content and “how to” care tips along the way – using images and video to give you the best shot at maintaining your favorite plant.
Let me know what you think, and how we can make plantz.com even better.