Happy Day Plants, a new indoor plant shop on Main Street, grows community through employment opportunities for individuals with special needs and ongoing plant education.
The new store, selling home greenery and gifts at 501 Main Street, opened Nov. 6. The 2,000 square foot interior is filled with various potted plants, a work station with two large tables and a “Potting Bar '' where customers can re-pot their purchases.
Happy Day Plants owner Jessica Birmingham, a long time carer and collector of plants, dreamed of owning her own store for several years, but waited until the time was right for her family of four kids and her husband. She started jotting down ideas for a business in her journal about four years ago and storing different furniture for her future shop in her family’s home garage.
“My family's very happy to have our space back because I kept saying, ‘Hey guys, someday if I open a plant shop, this is going in the shop.’ And they’d be like ‘Yeah, mom, whatever. Is this is ever going to happen?’” Birmingham said. “So it’s kind of fun to see all these things actually coming to life now.”
Birmingham set her dreams in motion after her eldest child, 19-year-old Bailey Birmingham graduated from high school in 2020. Bailey has down syndrome and Birmingham found that job opportunities were limited for her daughter.
Bailey found work with Ramble on Pearl, a Boulder boutique centered around employing adults with developmental disabilities, providing on-the-job training and assistance with securing permanent employment.
After a conversation with the Ramble on Pearl’s owner earlier this year, Birmingham realized her dream store could also serve individuals with special needs in the community.
“I was talking with their owner in February and she said, ‘You know, we just really need more businesses in this community — in this Boulder-Longmont area — that hire and train and provide work experience for adults with disabilities.’” Birmingham said. “ And I've always wanted to open a plant shop, but the timing was never right. We have four kids and our family's pretty busy but like a light bulb just went off that day.”
Serendipitously, the day she spoke to her daughter’s boss, Birmingham was connected with someone who wanted to help her with the business plan. While she was in her car listening to Christian music, a song called “Happy Day” played on the radio, inspiring the name for her plant shop.
Birmingham works toward making Happy Day Plants an employment vendor with the Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation(DVR), which allows her to create custom employment plans for hires with disabilities. She said she’s still early in the process since Happy Day plants recently opened.
However, Happy Day Plants is already working with the St. Vrain Valley School District to join the School to Work Alliance Program(SWAP), a program supporting disabled young adults transitioning from education to employment. SWAP is a collaborative initiative between the DVR and local school districts and the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES).
Birmingham can bring on new hires soon and in the meantime Bailey and her youngest daughter Ruby Birmingham are working as Happy Day Plants sales associates.
Megan Smith, Happy Day Plants team leader and full-time SVVSD special education teacher, will be work part-time to support staff with special needs. Smith grew up with a sister with Down Syndrome and as a paraprofessional before becoming a teacher.
“I'm really excited for the opportunities that Happy Day Plants is going to offer individuals with special needs, creating a safe environment for them to grow and really thrive,” Smith said. “In my experience working with individuals with special needs, I have just seen that they have so much to offer. I am just really excited that I feel like the shop is going to be a place that allows them to show their strengths and skills.”
Happy Day Plants will also serve as a gathering place and source of plant care education. The workstation can be reserved for small private plant events. Happy Day Plants also plans on holding classes and workshops on subjects such as plants for different lighting situations and propagation.
Birmingham added they are creating plant care cards to accompany customer purchases. Happy Day Plants is also available for one-on-one virtual or in person consultations on plant care.
“I don't want people to come in and spend money in my shop and get to know them only to send them home and not have them be successful with it,” Birmingham said. “Plants can be an investment. I just want to make sure that it's money well spent.”Customers who purchase a pot from Happy Day Plants have free access to the Potting Bar, using the store’s soil and work sink to repot their plant. The new store occupies the former Old Town Outfitters building, a retail store that was owned by Blake and Tamar Hendricks who also own the interactive pottery shop Crackpots next door. Birmingham said Happy Day Plants and Crackpots are talking about possible collaborations and joint promotions.