What started as a hobby at his home in Franklinton has turned into a full-fledged business for Andrés Cárdenas.
Cárdenas will open BarTrop, a store specializing in exotic tropical plants, in late August at 3017 Indianola Ave. in Clintonville.
He already has an active online business, but decided that after growing plants in his friends’ patios and garages, he would have more space and control over growing conditions.
Cardenas is already in the space, setting up a 1,000-square-foot greenhouse in the basement and growing 3,000 to 5,000 plants and packing up goods downstairs.
“It’s kind of a microgreenhouse,” he said.
BarTrop is primarily an online business, but Cardenas plans to invite customers into the store.
However, he only hopes to use 150 square feet of the space above and sublease the remaining 1,250 square feet to a tenant, which means they would have to share the front door.
If that doesn’t work, he said he’ll sell merchandise out the back door.
Among the interesting styles of plants, Cardenas has several different types of orchids, aroids, and staghorn ferns.
Some of their selections also include basic houseplants.
Cardenas, a self-taught horticulturist, said tropical plants aren’t difficult to grow in Ohio, but they must have the right conditions.
He said he gives customers full instructions on how to care for the plants.
“We like to teach and educate people through our model,” he said.
In December 2019, Cárdenas quit his job in the world of finance to try the tropical plant business.
“I already had plans for 500 to 1,000 plants to come from Thailand,” he said.
Then COVID struck, ramping up Cárdenas’ planting efforts and keeping him out of harm’s way.
Shortly after the big pandemic announcement in 2020, Cárdenas made a pop-up appearance at the Columbus Makers Market, which was more successful than he expected.
“Within a couple of months, we had 2,000 likes on our Facebook page,” he said sadly.
Cardenas said he started with a strong local following, but now ships plants beyond central Ohio.
Her only employee, Trinity Tobe, said she is learning a lot at BarTrop.
“It’s my favorite job I’ve ever had, so far,” said Tobe, who studies horticulture at the University of Cincinnati.
Nancy Kuhel, executive director of the Clintonville Area Business Association, said she likes the sound of BarTrop, which will add to the strong mix of stores, including an art gallery, movie theater, pizza and ice cream, in that area. of Indianola.
“It’s nice to have someone who knows plants,” Kuhel said. “If you’ve ever been to my house, you probably know how cool I think this is.”
To learn more about BarTrop, visit facebook.com/bartropplants/.