Small business owners grow community through local plant shop

The+Famous+In+Oregon+plant+and+hat+shop+brightens+up+the+corner+of+West+Broadway+where+Maggie%27s+boutique+used+to+be.+Tanner+and+Erika+Mitchell+stand+beneath+the+Famous+In+Oregon+sign+with+their+partner+Bekah+Hardick.+Famous+In+Oregon+opened+for+the+first+time+on+May+9%2C+2020.

Christi Norris

The Famous In Oregon plant and hat shop brightens up the corner of West Broadway where Maggie's boutique used to be. Tanner and Erika Mitchell stand beneath the Famous In Oregon sign with their partner Bekah Hardick. Famous In Oregon opened for the first time on May 9, 2020.

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Although COVID-19 brought about the end of many businesses on a local and national scale, the new plant shop “Famous in Oregon” in downtown Prosper grew within the community in an unexpected way.

Beginnings

 

 

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Erika and Tanner Mitchell have grown their business, Tanner The Planter, over the last two years, and their love for plants has brought them to new friends and opportunities despite the pandemic.

“Because of coronavirus, a lot of people realized they didn’t like their houses. They wanted to decorate with plants,” Erika said. “In March and April, our business for Tanner The Planter quadrupled, and that was around the time that we started looking for a place.”

Tanner, originally from a mountain town in Oregon, grew up surrounded by plants and trees.

“I love Texas, but it’s not pretty here,” Tanner said. “So, decorating with plants and bringing that part of Oregon here just made sense.”

According to the Mitchells, social media played a vital role in the growth of their business at the start.

“He (Tanner) changed his Instagram to where it was a plant Instagram where he was showing his own personal collection,” Erika said. “He started getting a following, and people started asking for advice and for help with their plants.”

Bekah Hardick fulfills orders for her trucker hat business. The “Hat Factory” sits at the back of Famous In Oregon on 102 W. Broadway St., Prosper. Hardick, often known as “Uncle Bekah” is one of the owners of Famous In Oregon, a new shop downtown.

Around the same time Tanner the Planter’s business was growing, Bekah Hardick also started Uncle Bekah’s Inappropriate Trucker Hats. Hardick’s business idea started while she was bartending in Key West, Florida.

“I had this really funny hat that I used to wear all the time, bartending and whatnot,” Hardick said. “People would always try to buy it off my head.”

This gave Hardick the idea to make her own hats with funny sayings.

“I made a couple once, and they sold really quickly, and it kind of happened organically,” Hardick said. “I was sick of working for people who were not very nice, and I was like you know what, screw it – I’m going to start making hats.”

The benefits of entrepreneurship have allowed Hardick to succeed and enjoy going to work every day. 

“(I like) the freedom of being able to work for myself,” Hardick said,  “(To) be my own boss and being able to take off when I want to take off.”

Famous In Oregon 

An aloe vera plant sits atop the counter at the plant shop Famous In Oregon. Famous In Oregon also offers themed trucker hats. The owners, Tanner and Erika Mitchell, said the store’s emphasis is on educating customers about how to properly care for house plants.

Famous In Oregon began with two small business owners becoming friends. 

When Hardick moved to Mckinney, she bonded with her boyfriend’s mom over outdoor plants, and since she was at home a lot, she had the time to take care of them and said she was blown away at how all the plants would change and grow every day.

“When I moved to Prosper, I didn’t have a lot of money to buy houseplants,” Hardick said. “I got on Facebook and asked ‘Bad Moms of Prosper,’ and I was like ‘Hey, I’m not a mom, but I need some plants,’ and then I met Tanner The Planter. I wasn’t as much into house plants before I met him, but then after I met him I became obsessed.”

Tanner The Planter had a booth at the Friday Night Markets in Celina where they met Hardick in person for the first time. 

“She came and bought like $400 worth of plants, and we just really hit it off,” Erika said. “The very first time we met her, she asked where we were from, and Tanner said Oregon, and she goes ‘oh I’m famous in Oregon.’ It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it because who would’ve ever guessed that we would name our shop that.”

Both Hardick and Tanner’s businesses began to outgrow their homes, and they both started to look for a location to use for storage and shipping. They thought it would be fun to share a space, and when they found out Maggie’s boutique was closing, they seized the opportunity together.

“Plant’s are famous in Oregon, and Hardick has a large following in Oregon,” Erika said. “When it came to naming the shop, we had a bunch of different ideas. We thought of Famous in Oregon, and we sent it to her and she was like, ‘that’s it.’”

After obtaining their lease on March 15, Tanner, Erika and Hardick got to work giving 102 W. Broadway a facelift, repainting walls, tearing up carpet and preparing for their grand opening on May 9. 

“Anything Tanner does, he does 100%,” Erika said. “Whether that’s how to run a plant shop or how to be a great stepdad, he’s going to go all in.”

According to the Mitchells, what sets Famous In Oregon apart from most plant suppliers is the focus the business has on educating customers on how to care for plants.

 

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“(Most plant suppliers’) instructions are so vague that it lends itself to a person killing their plants, and then they think they have a black thumb, and that they can’t take care of plants,” Tanner said. “I know what (plants have) done for me, and I know how much I enjoy it. So I want to be able to show people the few little tips and tricks to be able to have that.”

On the Tanner the Planter customer Facebook group, every plant they sell has a specific care video. Tanner also uploads the care videos to YouTube and Tik Tok so that anyone can learn how to care for their plants.

“Nobody does what we do as far as follow up and plant care goes,” Erika said. 

 

Hopes For The Future

 

 

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Looking forward, both Hardick and the Mitchells have more plans for their businesses and for their role in the community.

“I think Prosper really wants to maintain that small-town feel,” Tanner said. “I think this shop goes a long way towards maintaining that because everything else that’s being built right now is chains and franchises.”

All three owners said they love having a little piece of the community where they get to meet new people every day. In the future, they said they hope to open another Famous In Oregon location with more space for storage and possibly a greenhouse where they can grow some of their own plants.

Individually, Tanner the Planter, said he wants to offer more educational services and workshops, and Hardick plans to get more involved with plants and keep people laughing. Regardless of what they plan to do next, Famous in Oregon continues to flourish within the lives of the Mitchells and Hardick.  

“Tanner is really funny, a lot of people don’t know that – I mean he’s way funnier than he leads on,” Hardick said. “(Tanner and Erika are) just really good, kind-hearted people. I just like working with good people that truly want the best for others.”

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