Two longtime friends overcome the odds to introduce deVINE Plantery, a boutique plant shop in Maplewood, NJ. BY NATALIE TSUR PHOTOGRAPHY BY PETER BONACCI
ISSUE NO. 1
N S I D E D E V I N E P L A N T E R Y , childhood friends and business partners Kelly Brown and Maya Haynie prepare to open for the day. It’s 10:00 a.m. and Beyoncé’s “Find Your Way Back” plays overhead as they tend to their newest arrival, the variegated peace lily. It’s with this sort of energy and devotion that this 2020-born brick-and-mortar store in Maplewood, NJ has survived. But for Brown and Haynie, they’re simply doing what they love. In 2018, the duo wouldn’t have imagined returning to their hometown of Maplewood as owners of deVINE Plantery. The two were college students then, living in Philadelphia, where they were introduced to the active plant industry. The city alone is home to 400 community gardens. “At first, window shopping for plants was a way for me to de-stress after a long day,” Haynie told me. “I would go to a plant shop after work and peruse.” It wasn’t long before Brown started coming along, and the two began investing their time and money. It felt good to take care of something, Haynie said, explaining the purview of the pitch for deVINE in late March 2020, notably at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.