Oak Cliff Mercantile building leased to garden store

The store is called Repotted, and owners Jamie Laws and Elizabeth Cummings are focused on selling Texas grown plants and natural gardening supplies.

They expect to open Sept. 18 in the old Oak Cliff Mercantile building, a converted Conoco station that was Oak Cliff real estate maven Ruth Chenoweth’s office for many years. It has been vacant since the Mercantile owners moved closer to family in Oklahoma almost five years ago.

Repotted’s owners want to sell organic plants whenever possible, but there are only three plant farms in Texas that are all organic, Laws says. And Repotted’s priority is to sell plants that are adaptive or native to Texas. Most big garden stores don’t do that, Laws says. They often buy plants from all over the place, so if someone goes in and buys something that was grown in Wisconsin, say, it might die after a few days in a Texas garden.

“There really aren’t very many good local garden stores in Dallas,” Laws says. “And only one that I know of is remotely organic.”

Laws and Cummings want to educate their customers about natural gardening. Their shop won’t sell chemicals or synthetic fertilizers. But they will carry natural gardening supplies.

“You really will have a nicer garden if you don’t use that (synthetic) stuff,” Laws says.

Laws is a CPA who lives in Winnetka Heights, and Cummings is a preservation architect who lives in Elmwood. Although neither has any formal background in gardening, they’re both avid gardners who learned from their moms. They both have kids and work from home. Laws was laid off from her fulltime job in July, so they thought this would be the perfect time to get a start a business.

Petal Pushers, the garden store in Cedar Hill, closed recently, and the owner sold Repotted her cash registers and some plant stands and othe fixtures.

We’ll get a sneak peek at Repotted next weekend as the owners are participating with a pop-up store in the Better Block project on West Davis. That project, by the way, got a mention in the Huffington Post this week.


WANT MORE?
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Oak Cliff.
Written By
More from Rachel Stone

This weekend: Bastille on Bishop, country music, Jessica Rabbit

Time to start mastering the art of French cooking or at least...
Read More
  • Rachel Stone

    Thanks so much for your comment, Jamie. I am looking forward to the store!

  • Jamie

    Woah! I didn’t realize there had been all this backlash! 🙂

    First, let me clarify that I spoke with Rachel over the phone and it was more conversational in nature. Rachel and I covered many topics in a short conversation and went back and forth between topics. Realizing she was with The Advocate, I should have better framed the conversation and treated it like an interview. My mistake!

    Second, we are customers of many of these garden centers mentioned here and have great respect for them. NHG has been my favorite garden center, hands down, for years! The point, for us, has been that we’d like to have something like that in Oak Cliff.

    It is very true that many companies have what we would consider “organic practices”, but they choose to not become federally certified due to the cost. This includes those who produce consumable goods. I did not say, nor mean to imply, that we were going to be using only “certified” organic suppliers.

    I would also like to clarify, while I’m at it, that even Home Depot and Lowes have come a long way over the years. Their selection is better; they carry more and more organic products, and even have more and more Texas grower labels on their plants each year. However, it is still common place to find a plant in such a garden center and it is labeled (by the grower) as “part-sun,” yet our “part-sun” means “fried.” Leslie’s key statement is “educating your customer.” That is hard to find in these places. But as I said, they are getting better, and I have found that some store locations even within these chains are better than others.

    I take responsibility for the way the “tone” of this piece may have come across. I certainly intended no offense and have the utmost respect for the retail garden centers in the DFW area that I have frequented for years. The main point I was trying to convey is that those of us down here in the Cliff would like a place on this side of the river, too.

  • Ellen Carter

    I can’t wait for Repotted to open. Kudos to you both, Jamie and Elizabeth. See you soon.

  • As an Oak Cliff biz owner and resident, I am really excited to see this addition to our neighborhood.
    Welcome!!
    I look forward to shopping there soon…………
    Jennifer

  • “There really aren’t very many good local garden stores in Dallas,” Laws says. “And only one that I know of is remotely organic.”

    Have you guys been garden center shopping in Dallas outside of Oak Cliff lately?? (Marianna’s going to be wayyyy nicer than I am about this one, sorry, lol). While we support all local garden centers and think it’s great for Oak Cliff to have something close to home, let’s get the facts straight here:

    1. There are a number of excellent independent garden centers in the Dallas/Ft.Worth area, that promote themselves as organic. North Haven Gardens, Redentas, Walton’s, Nicholson -Hardie, Rhode’s, Ruibals, Brumley’s, Covington’s, Shades of Green, Ron’s Organic Nursery, etc. etc. Most of the garden centers on that list are primarily organic garden centers. In fact, I’d say that almost all of the real independent’s in Dallas have an organic focus. And we’ve all been around for YEARS. At NHG, we carry a huge selection of organic products and organically grown plants. All of our own House brand NHG fertilizers are organic, etc. etc.

    2. There are a number of excellent Texas growers and organic growers. If you’re in the industry, and you do your research, you’ll know that. The majority of our plant material is local. Just one example is Nortex Greenhouses in Wylie (North Haven Garden’s sister company). The entire line of herbs and vegetables is grown organically…you might have seen our “Blue Label” herbs around town. Here at North Haven Gardens, we even grow some of our own plant material on property organically. We keep it as local and organic as we can.

    3. If you’re looking only for Federally certified organic growers…then I’m afraid you’ll have no choice but to source a good bit of your material out of state (those regulations can be cost prohibitive for many small growers, even if they follow all the proper guidelines and practices).

    And come on now…saying something like “if you buy a plant from Wisconsin, it might die in a couple of days” is just a bit silly. I can hand any homeowner in Dallas a Texas-tough and grown native and they can sure enough kill in three days from over-watering or lack of watering. Also understand that “Native” does not always mean the best plant for your situation. Good garden centers try to either grow or source as much of their plant material as locally as they can. It’s better for everyone involved. However, as you will find, there are certain plants that are better grown in other environments (due to climate or season)that you just have to bring in from “the outside”. If you know what you’re doing, choose the right plant material and then educate your customer on how to grow it properly, you’re serving them well.

    What I can assure you is that a professional horticulturist, and general manager of North Haven Gardens in Dallas, I will not try to give you any tax advice. 😉

  • Rachel Stone

    Thanks, Mariana. I got an email from Jamie Laws saying that she didn’t like that this blog focuses on the “only” thing. She says she doesn’t really know how many organic garden stores and plant farms there are (and neither to I, obviously).

    Here’s what she said:

    “We could only find three organic growers in Texas. That doesn’t mean that others don’t exist. Many of them are old school, so to speak, so you can’t find them online. Or maybe they ARE organic but just don’t use that label for themselves. I also don’t want to imply that there are no other organic garden centers because I’m sure there are, and they might take offense to me saying that. I just meant that the only one I personally know uses the word ‘organic’ in their advertising and marketing on a routine basis is Redenta’s. I just want to make the point that our overall gardening methodology is that to the extent possible, one should use natural and organic products on their lawn and garden, and buy plants that are known to withstand our heat and clay soil. If you can buy plants from a Texas grower you are a step closer to that. If it is a Texas grower using organic means, even better!”

  • Mariana Greene

    Gosh. Oak Cliff needs an indie garden shop, for sure. I dearly miss OC landscape designer Mike Munsterman’s lovely little shop that was off 12th and Zang. But North Texas has a number of wonderful independent garden retailers and more than one that is organic. If I started naming names, I would surely leave someone out and then I would have a great big foot in my mouth, too.

    As a crazy, passionate, lifelong fool gardener and born-and-reared-in-Oak Cliff consumer who spends way too much of my income on lovely plants for my Old East Dallas property, I am thrilled with the huge strides the Dallas area (including shops in Dallas, Collin, Tarrant, Rockwall, Denton Counties and beyond) has made in the last two decades as far as the garden inventory available to us. Dallas has a growing rep as a gardening town, and we’re going to make great strides in that rep next weekend when the N. American Garden Writers Association comes to town for its annual symposium. 400-plus people will be touring splendid, one-of-a-kind cottage and estate gardens in Old East Dallas, Lakewood, Oak Cliff, Park Cities and Preston Hollow. There’s a bonus day to see gardens in Fort Worth, too, for extra cash. ALL of these thrilling, inspirational gardens have been planted with inventory purchased right here in Texas. And don’t think they were all designed and created by landscape professionals who shopped at wholesale nurseries, either. They availed themselves of the great retail nurseries right here in North Texas.

    Mariana Greene
    Garden Editor, The Dallas Morning News

  • Dave

    Great Idea! Something that everyone in the neighborhood could use, and will add to the character the new Davis Corridor.