By Wendy Nugent
NEWTON—Potwin resident Renata Goossen says her plant business, Renata’s Garden, is growing.
While most businesses are either online or have brick-and-mortar buildings, Goossen’s travels on several tires, as it’s on a renovated school bus.
Recently, she had her bus parked and was selling plants in her grandfather’s business parking lot at the Goossen Law Office, 116 E. Broadway in Newton. Her mom, Kristine Goossen, stood next to a Renata’s Garden sign by the bus to keep it from blowing over in the Kansas wind one warm December day.
The young entrepreneur plans to continue selling her plants and supplies within a 30-mile radius of Potwin, including Newton, come spring.
“I started the business officially in July of this year,” Goossen said.
The college graduate unofficially started selling plants when she was in high school out of her greenhouse.
“I became interested because of 4-H,” she said about her love of growing plants. “I was a big-time 4-H’er in Butler County.”
The horticulture agent in Butler County got Goossen involved in plants, and then she graduated from K-State last May with a bachelor of science degree in horticulture production.
The horticulture opportunities at KSU were great, as K-State is a Tree City USA, Goossen said. The main idea of that is to encourage planting on campus and taking care of the trees.
The Horticulture Club there is a tight knit group of 60, Goossen said.
“I had the opportunity to be president of that during my last year at K-State,” she said. “The greatest thing about K-State horticulture is the opportunity for extracurricular.”
At least one of the things the group did was plant trees on campus.
Goossen is taking her knowledge from KSU and putting it to use in her business. Mid-December was her first opportunity to take her bus out with plants and now she won’t sell from the bus until March 12, which is her official start date for spring, depending on the weather.
Goossen plans to grow everything she sells herself and plans to start her seed propagation the last week of December.
She wants people to think of her business as a garden center on wheels, and starting in March, she’ll sell potted vegetables, herbs, interior plants and cut flowers. Goossen doesn’t plan to carry certain plants her first year, like woody shrubs and perennials. She will have, however, items for people to have garden experiences no matter where they live, such as an apartment setting.
“I want you to have access to horticulture,” she said. “My main mission is to spread the love of all things that grow. In order to do that, I need horticulture accessible to everyone.”
The business will have a diverse product line.
“I want to make sure everyone has access and information needed to grow those plants,” Goossen said.
Besides the bus pop-ups, Goossen’s business model will include horticulture education workshops and she plans to have some in the next few months. Those will be listed on her social media and website.
“I think that there’s really something to growing plants that can bring joy to people,” Goossen said, adding people can go into horticulture in a variety of career areas, like horticulture therapy in nursing homes and prisons. “There’s something about growing things that gives people a good feel. That’s what I want other people to feel. Along with the idea of accessibility, the idea of my business, I would like to take it to different towns.”
Those include Newton, El Dorado, Wichita and Marion. This gives her flexibility rather than a storefront, so she can bring the business to the people. She’d like to have Wichita, El Dorado and Newton on a weekly or bi-weekly rotation.
“I will be popping up wherever someone wants me to pop up,” Goossen said, adding she’s had businesses contact her already about popping up near their locations. “I’m a very flexible business model. I’m open to doing any kind of collaboration really, especially local businesses.”
Goossen said she’s learning how important supporting local business is and that she wants to do philanthropic activities, as well as helping children become interested in plants.
“It will be a process,” she said. “What I love about it is its accessibility.”
Those wanting more information can visit her website at renatasgarden.com. The business also is on various social media outlets, like Facebook and Instagram, as well as youtube.com. Those wishing to subscribe to her newsletter can do so on her website.