Have Plants, Travel: A Kansas Woman Takes Her Business to the Streets

The wheels of the bus are making south-central Kansas greener. What started out as a way to save money for college is now a growing business for Renata Goosen — no pun intended.

Goosen runs Renata’s Garden, a mobile plant bus that she uses to sell plants and accessories wherever she is. What was once an old yellow school bus is now a tour company. It is painted white with native Kansas flowers, plants and bugs.

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

“I think it’s really fun to be like the works car,” Goosen said. “I walk around, it’s like, ‘Okay, the factory bus is in town… Let’s get some plants.’

“And I love this 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’ve always been exposed to nature,” Goosen said, “which was … really a great thing for me. And I got over it. I really loved plants.”

Goosen went to Kansas State to study horticulture. But after trying a few things here and there during internships and while working in a commercial greenhouse, she eventually returned to the plant sales business she had before college.

“It always annoyed me that people felt inadequately supported in their journey to growing plants,” she said.

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

Each plant she sells also comes with its own QR code that leads to her website. The site offers a comprehensive care guide for dozens of plants, from tomatoes and perennials to more traditional houseplants.

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

Customers of the plant bus find the personal exchange helpful compared to shopping in large plant markets.

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

To source these healthy plants, Goosen works with connections she made during her studies. She also uses her own greenhouse.

“For a small business, and I started with less than 1,000 square feet of grow space, I can’t keep up with the demand necessary to support my new business,” Goosen said.

“So it’s always great to have friends in the horticultural world to help me and I can help them. And the great thing about the horticulture industry is that we are all very… willing to work together to be successful.”

Goosen is considering adding harvested or reused pots and containers to their inventory in the future.

“I love seeing things come to life, new life being breathed into them,” Goosen said.

And maybe even develop it into a real shop window.

“Up to this point, I have a mobile business that can serve many communities,” Goosen said, “and it’s going to stay there even if I have a business.”

“So I know the bus will be around for a while. And I hope he becomes a flagship for gardening and plant care in the community.”

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

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