Soft Opening (570 Manhattan Ave.) is one of Greenpoint’s latest additions and offers refuge from the always-on tech world in a thoughtfully curated plant shop abundant with nature you can bring home. You can also catch Soft Opening at the Greenpointers Samhain Fall Market happening this Sunday, Oct. 28.
The shop’s name is intentionally mysterious according to the owner, Kristin McLaughlin. “I love the way the words Soft Opening can mean different things to different people. A new bud or blossom can be a soft opening. An art reception can be a soft opening,” she said.
This sentiment is reflected by the personal approach of the store, where the custom plant selection caters to the varying layouts of NYC apartments. “I like to give people advice on what I think can work for them… I don’t want you to take a plant home to die and for you to give up again. I want people to succeed with them,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin’s enthusiasm for plants is tangible in Soft Opening. The storefront brims over with life. Once inside, customers are met with jazzy music, luscious greenery, and glowing purple grow lights, complementing the plant mural painted by McLaughlin’s friend Terry Urban, whose artwork is currently featured in the store.
In addition to helping customers choose plants that can thrive in their home’s lighting, McLaughlin instructs her customers on how to best care for their specific plants. “I want to help build people’s confidence in maintaining plants because I think it directly equates to happiness. I can attest to that,” she said of her mission.
Succulents and cacti are popular purchases among new plant owners. McLaughlin’s advice on caring for these plants: “They don’t want to be watered and fussed with; they kind of just want to be left alone. In our effort to please or make our plants healthy, we’re killing them by overwatering them.”
McLaughlin is a Pacific Northwest native and has called Greenpoint home for five years. Her mother and grandmother passed down their love of plants to her. “I was always surrounded by green and took it totally for granted, and then coming out here I started to realize how much I missed it,” she said. Between savings from her second job as a bartender and a partnership with one of her best plant customers, Matt Marcus of Three Kings Tattoo (572 Manhattan Ave.), she was able to bring her dream store to life.
Soft Opening also showcases other local businesses that incorporate a natural wellness theme. These include Rosewolf Collective and Joan Gray, among others. As the business evolves you can expect pop-ups and workshops, and new art showcases every other Friday until 10 PM.