Yawn supplements her inventory with plants from local growers.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Emilee Yawn has found a way to connect her love of greenery, art and community with the recently opened Plant Connector at 46-48 Eagle St.
The shop in the point of the flat-iron building offers a variety of houseplants, a lending library of gardening and design, exhibition space, and craft and artisan items, some tucked away in cabinet drawers that patrons are encouraged to open.
"The idea is that it is like a plant store but it's also a lot of locally made stuff and you can go through the drawers like a curiosity shop," Yawn said.
The "oddities" such as candles, essential oils, cards, totes, baskets and macrame plant hangars made by her mother. Local artists are represented but also items made by crafters Yawn has known in her travels.
She came to the city three years ago through Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art's Assets for Artists and decided to stay.
"I fell in love with the people because it's such an amazing amount of people that are awesome here," she said. "And I've really stayed because the community is so cool and great."
Yawn, who has a background in art, environmental design and architecture, knew she wanted to do something in the city and it took her some time to figure out what that would be. The Plant Connector offers her the opportunity to bring her many interests and connections into one space.
She started out largely with plants she'd grown at home but most of those are gone already as she's sold close to 300 since opening. She's supplemented her inventory from a couple greenhouses and local growers, including a woman in Williamstown who grows African violets.
"I did an adoption two weeks ago so I had 15 plants that people put in applications for and it was quite competitive," she said. "It's like a fun way to move plants as well and get people interested in stuff. It's mostly meant to be community space with a plants."
Yawn is also available for advice on keeping your plants healthy.
"I've had people bring in plants and ask me to fix them," she said. "I have a little space at home that's dedicated to that ... I have a jade plant I'm trying to repair."
The lending library — comprised of Yawn's and donated books — shares space with a small "black hole" gallery. A slightly larger space in the shop will have rotating exhibitions by local artists, many with gardening, plant or nature themes.
"That's kind of the idea for the gallery but I'm really open to anything," she said.
The ability to use the space for community is limited at the moment because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, but Yawn is hoping the shop will become a place for people to gather, maybe have a coffee and enjoy local art and, of course, the greenery.
"Quite a few people drive up from Pittsfield and people come from Williamstown," Yawn said. "So it's really nice to start seeing people come to North Adams, but I wholeheartedly believe this place is meant to serve North Adams residents, not tourists."
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