Madisonville's Fleurish Grounds Garage-Turned-Plant Shop Is Getting a Brick-and-Mortar Storefront

After zoning issues threatened to shut down Christine Funke's Madisonville garage-based plant shop, the city helped her find a permanent storefront, which should be open this September

click to enlarge Madisonville's Fleurish Grounds Garage-Turned-Plant Shop Is Getting a Brick-and-Mortar Storefront
Photo: Provided by Fleurish Grounds

The Fleurish Grounds brick and mortar plant shop in Madisonville might be one of the best things to have grown out of COVID-19 for owner Christine Funke.

When the wedding photographer found herself out of work and stuck at home this spring, she began putting her time and energy into her houseplants and realized, “I’m sure if I’m redecorating my house right now, everyone else is doing it, too,” she says.

With this thought, Funke took to Instagram and began to take her collection of potted plants to the next level, selling them — social distantly — out of her home.  

As COVID restrictions lifted and she saw a need for people to get out and shop around, Funke flipped her garage into a bright and clean pop-up storefront where customers could come browse and purchase the plants in person. “I said, ‘It’s literally just my garage and if you don’t think it’s weird, then come on by,’ and people really like it!” 

The genesis of Fleurish Grounds actually dates back to June 2019, when it started as a mobile coffee cart and plant seller at farmers markets around town. 

This background along with the help of Funke’s friend and operational manager Stephanie Cable, plus the support of the city of Madisonville, allowed the garage shop to blossom into something bigger — a forthcoming storefront.

Funke faced the threat of being shut down because of the zoning issues that result from selling out of your place of residence (aka your garage), and zoning permits are hard to come by during a pandemic as the government, of course, has bigger problems. 

“But when the Madisonville City Council and Business Chamber heard that I might have to close down because I don't meet code, they reached out to me saying, ‘Hey, we need this in the community. We love what you're doing. We might have a storefront for you if you're interested.' It really touched the heart,” says Funke. “So now we get to stay!”

click to enlarge A selection of plants - Photo: Provided by Fleurish Grounds
Photo: Provided by Fleurish Grounds
A selection of plants

The new storefront is only a block away from Funke’s home, making the transition all the easier and more convenient. 

She plans to open the doors of her (non-garage) shop in early September. The new Fleurish Grounds will sell plants, pots and coffee grounds.

She has based her design and aesthetic around her West Coast roots, dubbing the look “modern coastal Midcentury.” Her plants range anywhere from $7 to $160, with the average customer spending around $20. Plants can be bought in pots made by local artists as well as artists from Funke’s hometown in California.

“I really try to keep inventory that fits everyone's style: a timeless style that can fit any home without breaking the bank,” she says.

With one storefront in the works, why stop there?

“The five-year plan is to have a second location where people can come in and enjoy some coffee and baked goods while buying plants as well. I want to make it really family-oriented and a fun space for people to be in for all ages,” says Funke, “Community is a big thing for me, especially in Madisonville because we just need it here.”

For those who are new to plant parenting, Funke recommends starting with ZZ plants, Snake plants and Pothos plants, saying, “This is your initiation point: Take care of these three and you can advance to the next stage. These are pretty unkillable.”

For more information on Fleurish Grounds and plant care in general, Funke invites everyone to slide into the dm’s at @fleurishgrounds on Instagram. 

Her garage store hours are currently 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at 5741 Bramble Ave., in Madisonville. 

Keep an eye on her Instagram account for updates on the official opening date of the storefront, as well as plant sales in the meantime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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