Greenpoint Store 252 Franklin Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY 11222, USA
- Seasonal indoor and outdoor plants.
- Handmade plant pots and containers by local makers.
- Plant advice in-store and online.
252 Franklin Street
WHAT WE LOVE
Nestled under a magnolia tree in North Brooklyn is the perfect plant shop for small space, urban gardeners. Established in 2018 by gardener and mathematician, Joe Ferrari, Tend Greenpoint has a perfectly edited selection of plants, potting soil, terracotta planters and tools. Plus great gardening advice in person or via their website. Conveniently located in Greenpoint between Willaimsburg and Long Island City.
"Owning a business is a constant learning – new customers, new products, new plants, new hurdles, etc. – and there’s never a day that ends the way I thought it would when I woke up. Yes, it’s stressful, but it’s my stress, not someone else’s."
What Makes Tend so unique? I opened Tend Greenpoint to be a hyper-local hub for small space gardeners. We’d sell just the essentials – a great potting mix, terracotta in every size and just the right tools, mixed with gorgeous locally made pottery and really great plants. All of that is set in an inspiring space with residential elements that gives apartment-dwellers some ideas for how to do it themselves. We’re about living with plants, not just collecting them.
The plant business is unique compared to say apparel or home goods. There’s a lot more conversation required to sell the plants. They’re living things that a group of people has already poured energy into and we want to send them off for a successful life. At our shop we like to understand the customer’s lifestyle and living situation before recommending a plant. We’ll gladly talk all day for the sake a successful matching of plant & parent and we’ll gladly state and restate the care instructions as many times as someone may need. In fact, the care instructions for each plant are even listed on the email receipt that each customers receives. I hope that retail continues to inch toward (or back to) that great in-store experience – and not just experiences for experience sake – conversations, bonding, trust, relationships.
Is there a story behind the shop name, “Tend”? A while back I had read or seen an interview with Martha Stewart where she mentioned that a phrase like “working in the garden” makes a passion sound more like a chore. And since we’re gardeners with a passion for caring for plants and our neighborhood, I knew I wanted to use an action word that felt positive. Credit to my boyfriend, JV for helping me to land on “tend” as that verb.
What are Tend’s best-selling or “must-have” products? While plants are far and away the attraction, handmade planters by mostly local artists are our most popular items. One artist that has graciously shared her work since the day we opened is Michiko Shimada , a Greenpoint-based ceramicist whose “Pouf” planters are made of fine terra cotta. In fact, we love her work so much that our own Tend candle line is poured into those same vessels.
Joe Ferrari, shopkeeper at Tend Greenpoint
What inspired you to open Tend Greenpoint? I’m sentimental in general, so I could answer this question so many different ways. In the gardening end of things, I grew up helping my parents with their gardens in Ulster County, upstate New York. My dad mostly tended to the vegetable patch while my mom worked on annual plantings around the property. By middle school they let me plan and tend a perennial garden at the back of the house – I’d make shopping lists for my dad when I knew he’d be going to a nursery. As for the retail side of things, when I was a kid, my godmother – my Aunt Wanda – ran and bought for a women’s clothing shop in Mahopac, NY. I always loved visiting her for long weekends where she’d let me work alongside her, though I wasn’t tall enough to see over the counter. My combined birthday and Christmas present from her every year was a shopping trip to one of the bigger malls – a dream for a kid raised in the 80s & 90s. Basically, I opened the shop because it’s what I know how to do and what I love to do.
What did you do before having your own shop? With a degree in Mathematics and no desire to teach, I had no idea which way to go after college. Part time side gigs in a record store (first favorite job) and then at Gap evolved over the years, and I left my last (second favorite) job at kate spade new york as Director of Ecommerce Operations in 2017. I was at kate spade during 8 years of rapid growth of both retail and ecommerce, and just before leaving I was working in-between the retail and the ecommerce teams to help chart a course to a more holistic plan for the customer experience with a digital influence.
Your favorite thing about owning an independent shop? I like to work and I like to be busy. Owning a business is a constant learning – new customers, new products, new plants, new hurdles, etc. – and there’s never a day that ends the way I thought it would when I woke up. Yes, it’s stressful, but it’s my stress, not someone else’s.
How has the pandemic changed your POV on the future of retail?
I can say for certain that Greenpoint, Brooklyn is a great place to have a shop. Our neighbors turned out for us as we pivoted our business to get through quarantine. They were patient as we relearned. They lifted me up when I went through personal loss at the start of the pandemic. The second we reopened our doors for in-store shopping, they came back, and they come back week after week. I guess I’d say that while we’ve always believed we were offering a service, the pandemic made me realize that our customers do truly need or want that service. We’re equally a part of each other’s lives.
WHAT THE SHOPKEEPER LOVES
Favorite Local businesses
Archestratus Books & Food s (Cookbooks, Kitchenware, Provisions and SANDWICHES!)
Drama Club (Apparel, Accessories, Gifts)
Upstate Stock (Knitwear, Fragrances, Provisions and CAMPFIRE LATTES!)
Copper and Plaid (Vintage Mid Century Furniture)
Davey’s Ice Cream (Ice Cream!)
Our Bookshop Saugerties, NY
The Secret Gardener Hudson, NY
Catskill Native Nursery Kerhonkson, NY
The Green Cottage High Falls, NY
FIG Home Co Manasquan, NJ
ON THE FUTURE OF RETAIL
"I still believe in-shop retail is here to stay. Yes, e-commerce is amazing at bringing products to people seamlessly and helps us to connect our local artists to folks all over the US. BUT, if being at home and waiting for deliveries was all anyone wanted, then why was our recent quarantining so bad? We missed personal interactions. We missed experiencing that joy of discovering new stores, new restaurants and new art along with our friends and neighbors."
Photos by Steve Viksjo and Tend, Greenpoint.