Have plants, you will travel: a Kansas woman takes her business on the road

Bus wheels make South Central Kansas greener. What started as a way to save money for college is now a growing business for Renata Goosen, no pun intended.

Goosen operates Renata’s Garden, a mobile plant bus that she uses to sell plants and accessories from wherever she is during the day. What was once an old yellow school bus is now a traveling business. It is painted white with native Kansas flowers, plants, and insects.

And on the front and back, in capital letters, it reads: “PLANT BUS”.

“I think it’s really fun to be like the plant truck,” Goossen said. “I go out there and it’s like, ‘Okay, the plant bus is in town… Let’s go get some plants.'”

“And I love that accessibility to rural areas.”

Goosen often travels to smaller communities like El Dorado and her hometown of Potwin, where her love of plants began.

“I was always exposed to nature,” Goossen said, “which was…really a great thing for me. And I thrived on it. I really loved plants.”

Goosen went to the state of Kansas to study horticulture. But after trying a few things here and there during internships and while working in a commercial greenhouse, he eventually returned to the plant-selling business he owned before college.

“It really always bothered me that people felt inadequately supported in their plant-growing journey,” he said.

With that in mind, Goosen educates customers about their plants and plant care with their weekly “Unearth Horticulture” video series on their YouTube channel.

Each plant you sell also comes with its own QR code that leads to your website. The website has an extensive care guide for dozens of plants, from tomatoes and perennials to more traditional houseplants.

Goosen also often gives out her phone number so customers can call her with questions.

Plant bus customers find personal interaction helpful compared to shopping at big plant stores.

“I would like to go home and grow a collection of healthy plants so they don’t go home to die,” Yesi Perez said after visiting the bus.

To get those healthy plants, Goossen works with the connections he made while in college. She also uses her own greenhouse.

“For a small business, and I started with less than 1,000 square feet of growing space, I can’t meet the demand needed to support my new business,” Goossen said.

“So it’s always nice to have some friends in the horticultural world to help me, and I can help them. And that’s the great thing about the horticultural industry, is that we’re all very… willing to work together to have success”.

For the future, Goosen is considering incorporating reclaimed or repurposed pots and containers into its inventory.

“I love to see things come to life, new life, infused into them,” Goossen said.

And maybe even expand into an actual store.

“Until then, I have a mobile business that can serve many communities,” Goossen said, “and it will still be there even if I have a store.”

“So I know the bus is going to be around for a while. And I hope it becomes a flagship for supporting horticulture and plant care in the community.”

Copyright 2022 KMUW | NPR for Wichita. To see more, visit KMUW | NPR for Wichita.

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