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Fabulous Business: Cactus & Tropicals is so much more than a garden store

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It’s not just the selection of exotic and organic plants and vegetables available at locally owned Cactus & Tropicals that sets it apart from the competition. It’s not just the extremely friendly and knowledgeable staff to help customers with every yard and garden need that makes it so fabulous. It’s not just the convenient location and impeccably designed space that make it a queer favorite. Cactus & Tropicals was started in 1975 by Lorraine Miller, a philanthropic lesbian and a contributing member in the fight for equality for years.

Cactus & Tropicals is so much more than a traditional garden store. In addition to supporting a local and queer-friendly location, shoppers can visit the store to soak in tropical greenhouse with innovative fountains, pottery and designs to make any home or garden healthier and happier. Weddings and other events and garden and lawn services are also available through the store.

“We try to stay as sustainable as possible and have a wide array of xeriscape and minimal upkeep plants available,” said Kathy Harbin, the store’s general manager. “We’ve been involved in sustainability long before it became more popular. We also avoid using chemicals whenever possible.”

While garden trends may not be as fickle as fashion or interior design, low-watering plants arranged in pots and in gardens are growing trends. There is an enormous selection of low-maintenance plants at Cactus & Tropicals and they are all-season plants that can sustain all kinds of Utah weather. Some even can grow in plates that can be used to decorate the side of a house.

“We have a complete-service location that is really focused on being different and having that selection of products you can’t find somewhere else,” Harbin said. “Our employees are so creative, it’s really amazing, and they can help you with all the gardening tips and information you’ll need.”

While those with a particularly green thumb may take the opportunity to create their own stunning creations with the plants found in the gardens, there are pre-potted creations to help those still learning to master the green arts. Each creation is unique and no other replica will be created — no one has to know who created it!

“It’s all about that personal service. That welcoming environment while providing all the products and services you’ll need to make your home and yard the best it can be,” Harbin said.

For more information visit the Salt Lake store, 2735 S. 2000 East, or the Draper location, 12252 S. 1325 East, or visit cactusandtropicals.com.

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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