The coronavirus pandemic shut down events last year, leaving a Silver Spring, Maryland, event-based plant business scrambling.

Jeff Kushner’s business Plants Alive! has provided designer plants for presidential inaugurations and for the dressing rooms of singers like Elton John and Paul McCartney when they came to the D.C. area through the years, but when the coronavirus hit and events were canceled, he was in a tough spot.

“I laid everybody off,” Kushner said.

He didn’t know what to do with the hundreds and hundreds of plants waiting to be delivered for rent to canceled events including concerts, weddings and conventions at hotels.

Then, they had an idea.

“We decided ‘let’s stick our toe in the retail part,’” Kushner said. “Someone said ‘hey, you know millennials like plants.’”

They started small last spring by bringing some plants to local coffee shops for pop-up events for a few weekends.

But not all of the plants they had sitting in the greenhouse could be transported easily, since they had many larger plants for hotel and event spaces.

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