Metanoia

Metanoia, on Clay Street in downtown Mebane, will mark its first year in business on July 10.

Can a pair of roses grow a fern, a jade tree, or a rubber plant? Yes, when the two roses are Brittany and Adam Rose.

Joking aside, it’s been almost a year since the Roses opened their shop in downtown Mebane, selling common — and sometimes uncommon — house plants. Metanoia, a business plan rooted in the days of the Covid lockdowns and restrictions, has proven hardy, and will celebrate it’s one-year anniversary on July 10.

“A lot of our customers are first- time plant owners who just wanted to pick up a hobby throughout Covid, and they’ve just kind of stuck with it,” said Brittany, who grew up in Burlington. “Because they realize that it’s really not as hard as it seems. It just takes practice and you have to learn about the plants, just like you would anything else. You have to research and figure out what they like.”

The pandemic led to many people filling their sunrooms, balconies, living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchen windows with pots of plants and plant ‘clippings.’ Brittany was no different, and grew many plants at her home before transplanting them to her store.

“I’m not good with perennials or annuals,” she said. “I think there is a sense of calming with taking care of plants, and it’s a nice way to include some type of self-care and releasing the serotonin throughout your house that just brightens your environment.”

“She had had a few air plants and some succulents before Covid,” said Adam, who was raised in Mebane. “All at once Covid hit and I was working from home, we started getting more plants to keep around and add a little splash of green in some places. And they make for good Zoom backgrounds.”

Originally, the Roses sold their plants at farmers markets and other vendor events. Then they saw the space at 132 W. Clay St., and decided to jump in with both feet.

Their almost 1,800-square-foot shop also has supplies for creating terrariums, which Brittany originally pursued as a creative outlet, when she was caring for and growing succulents. But she then explored the world of tropical plants and the varieties of plants they offer, and her plant collection began to grow.

Along with selling plants, the Roses will help guide a customer through the process of picking the best plant for themselves. Brittany said this can require the customer to do some introspective exploration.

“We asked like a range of questions like, ‘In your experience, do you tend to show too much love or not enough love?’ That gives me a baseline of where to go from there on which way I could go. A lot of times they come back in and they’re ready to try a new plant,” she said.

“We also will ask you about the lighting in your home to and make sure that you’re getting a plant that will do well in the location that you’re wanting to put it in,” Adam said. “We also always ask about pets because there are some plants that are poisonous to pets and, being pet lovers ourselves, we don’t want to sell somebody a plant that could endanger them or let curiosity get the best of them.”

For that reason, Metanoia has a pet-friendly plants section so customers will easily know what plants are safe. The Roses said they research each plant they carry for ASPCA approval or warnings.

One of the challenges Metanoia’s owners has faced has been with keeping its shelves stocked with plants. Many local growers were unable to keep up with the demand for house plants, so they stopped selling at wholesale prices. The Roses found a wholesale supplier that was two hours away, which meant they were making weekly trips for plants. Forced to look outside of the immediate area, the Roses used suppliers as far away as California, before hooking up with suppliers in Florida.

It’s not uncommon for people to become obsessed with, or even addicted to, collecting house plants. And even though the Roses secretly hope people keep coming back to feed that need, they are aware of their responsibility to help their customers — new or repeat — make smart decisions when choosing plants.

“We won’t encourage you to get a plant well beyond your skill level,” Adam said. “We will try to guide you to something else, but a plant obsession is good for our business.”

Indoor and tropical plant sales could be considered a niche business. For their first business venture, the Roses said they had little idea of what to expect, or how they would know how successful it was. 

“We had listened to what other business owners were saying and their advice and their experiences,” Brittany said. “We realize that our market is such a unique market that it takes a special customer to come in and understand exactly what you’re getting. A lot of people come in and they liked the environment of it. According to us, we’re doing great. But we don’t have anything to compare it with.”

“We still have challenges, and we’re still trying to let people know that we’re here,” Adam added. “We still have people coming in that say they come downtown all the time and they didn’t know we were here.”

The Roses said they’ve been thoroughly impressed with the support of the downtown business community.

“We could not have chosen a better community to open with; we have been welcomed with open arms and everybody has been so nice and kind and it definitely gives you a sense of ease,” Brittany said. “Starting something like this and putting so much on the line, having people appreciate it and know that you’re appreciated by the community, and that you have legit people that support you.”

Even though the Roses have only one year under their belt, Brittany admits to having hopes for expansion at some point.

“My overall goal would be to actually open my own greenhouse,” she said. “I have endless ideas and I would love to watch them all come true. I definitely hope we expand and we keep growing. I don’t see us stopping anytime soon.”

“I think eventually we would like to get to the point that we’re able to grow more of our own plants ourselves,” Adam added. “Then people could come shop at the greenhouse or shop here (in the store).”

Metanoia is at 132 W. Clay St. in downtown Mebane. It will celebrate its first year in business on July 9, with a full day of celebrations. To learn more about the business, go to www.metanoiahome.com.