For some, the grass is greener on the “other side” – but for one Fitchburg business, the “inside” is where the green is coming from.
For Fitchburg Farms LLC, the grass is “Greener on the Inside” — the name of the business’s new e-commerce store for indoor gardeners.
Fitchburg Farms accountant and chief financial officer April Smith told the Star the company launched its “Greener on the Inside” e-commerce store in mid-September to keep income steady year-round.
When winter comes, the physical Fitchburg Farms store closes, Smith said, so adding the e-commerce store is a way for customers to access products from home.
“The garden center is a seasonal deal,” she said.
Smith added that the shop is great for customers who plan on staying home to protect themselves from COVID-19, or are looking to take up indoor gardening as a way to still enjoy nature and keep occupied.
Greener on the Inside, led by Smith and Tyler Nauta, son of owner Mike Nauta, sends out plant orders from a shipping area inside the Fitchburg Farms space. The business plans to ship orders across the nation, Smith said, and has already received 30 orders in the first week of its launch.
The e-commerce store mainly sells plants that don’t require a lot of sunlight to survive the shipping process, Nauta said. Those mainly include succulents, pothos and ferns so far, he said.
The Greener on the Inside website also has an educational component, teaching customers how to build mini terrariums, grow fresh herbs growing in the kitchen and decorate an indoor space with miniature houseplants.
Smith said they modeled the Greener in the Inside shop after The Sill, a New York-based store which sells similar products.
Nauta and Smith said keeping plants safe during the delivery process has been an interesting challenge.
“It depends on the size of the plant,” Smith said. “We weigh out each plant and (measure) its height. From there, we take into consideration how delicate it is.”
The biggest obstacle is making sure the packaging doesn’t touch the plant’s leaves. Smith said staff anchor the plant with hot glue inside a grow pot in a box, which allows it to move freely. Employees also pack moss on top of the soil to keep the plant void of moisture.
Smith and Nauta both said there are benefits for people who keep plants in their homes – in addition to having a sustainable hobby, some plants like ferns help purify the air around its environment.
“We are bringing the passion of a local business to a wider audience,” he said.