When Plantiitas first opened its storefront in late October, owners Anthony Diaz and Kevin Alcaraz didn’t expect to be welcomed with a line of customers around the building. But what the married couple, in life and in business, had started pre-pandemic, a little plant shop out of their apartment in Long Beach, has quickly evolved to become a full-fledged, curated plant and pot boutique near and dear to the Belmont Heights neighborhood.
So what is it about plants that people seem to be drawn to, especially during the pandemic? Diaz equates plant care with self-care and finds that being surrounded by greenery at home offers him a sense of comfort.
“I tend to run pretty busy, tend to move pretty quickly, so being able to come home to something that is a little bit comforting, surrounded by life instead of just structure, it’s really comforting for me,” said Diaz. “I think for a lot of people, we found solace in taking care of plants.”
Diaz, a sign language interpreter, and Alcaraz, a makeup artist, have both had to switch focus to their new careers as plant caretakers and purveyors. And this weekend, the two will celebrate the grand opening of their second outpost, a residency at NUDA Juice & Wellness Shop, at 407 Sixth St. in San Pedro.
“Plantiitas is definitely a piece of us,” said Diaz. “My husband’s from Mexico and I’m a first-generation Mexican American, Latino, Latinx, Chicano, Chicanx. We’re both queer, and so, you really see a lot of that represented here… It’s not an exaggeration or an interpretation of our culture… it’s very intersectional, I say that often.”
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