SAN ANTONIO — Nestled in a row of shops along South Presa Street in San Antonio’s Southtown, sits Burgeon Plant Company.
“We always knew we wanted to do something-- we’ve talked about it forever, in agriculture, and this seemed like something we could do,” said co-owner Jasmine Garza.
Garza and her fiance Hector Rivera are the co-owners of Burgeon, a name they say means to flourish.
“We want it to mean something to people… when we found Burgeon, it means to flourish or to grow from a seed and so it kind of fit perfectly with what we’re trying to do here with the plant shop,” Rivera explained.
For both Rivera and Garza, an appreciation for plants and agriculture was taught at an early age.
“[My grandma] was really into plants, like extremely, like that was her thing, her hobby forever and she inspired my love for it,” Garza exclaimed.
So when Garza’s grandma became sick and entered hospice care, Garza turned to plants.
“I started noticing how the room you know when it transforms into a hospice room there’s like machinery and other stuff. And so I thought it’d be a fun idea to bring the green into her room, instead of making it more like hospital-ly. It was more comforting and therapeutic,” Garza recalled.
Following her grandma’s passing, plants became a source of comfort to Garza.
“After my grandmas passed it was something very therapeutic for me to see, you know the light, to look forward to seeing the growth. And it was really… I mean, plant therapy.”
With that realization, the couple set out to help and teach others. They began by flipping a trailer into a plant truck.
Halfway into their build, however, COVID-19 hit.
“We were like, ‘Oh my gosh! This is the worst time to start a business!’,” Garza exclaimed.
But they were determined. Garza and Rivera finished their build and began hosting socially distanced pop-up events.
As it turned out, a plant shop was exactly what some were looking for during such a difficult time.
“We had one customer. He’s shopped with us a few times already… and he told us that this was really helping with his depression. And like, you know, it meant a lot to both of us to hear that and to see and feel like we’re actually helping people, we’re not just selling plants,” Rivera said.
Now the couple is growing into a more permanent location in Southtown, where they can offer more plants, services, events (post-COVID-19 of course), and time devoted to teaching customers.
“We are really into educating people on how to take care of their plants,” Garza noted, adding that they encourage people in need of help caring for their plants to reach out to them on their Instagram page for tips.
Rivera, who is finishing up a degree in Plant and Soil Science, agreed, “We want them to feel like whenever they buy this plant when they take it home, we want them to feel comfortable with [it] to where you know, [they say] ‘I know what I need to know to keep these plants alive. And I feel comfortable taking care of this plant.’”
As they gear up to open Burgeon for a second time now at their new permanent location, the couple reflects on the importance of this achievement not just for them, but their families.
“[My mom] was a migrant worker and all her family, you know were field workers. And so for them, you know they were always, always like the workers. And so they were never the bosses, you know. So whenever, we came up with this idea, we said you know we want to be our own bosses… They were very supportive,” Rivera said.
Garza agreed, “Seeing the pride in my grandpa when I tell him about our shop and you know all our plants-- it’s something that I think for their generation growing up as humbly as they did, it seems like something that might have been unattainable for them, but with the hard work and everything that they gave… they worked incredibly hard to get us to where we are to be able to have those opportunities.”