Q&A: Urban Roots Sprouts Success in Kirkwood

We put questions to Urban Roots owner Jenniffer Elliott about Kirkwood's newest garden center, what makes her business bloom and how she got her green thumb.

Locally owned and operated, Urban Roots Garden Center opened seven weeks ago and already is receiving buzz for its style and inventory. Patch sat down with owner Jenniffer Elliott to talk about the business at 915 S. Kirkwood Rd.

Patch: We love the name “Urban Roots.” Where did it come from?

Elliott: We knew we wanted our tagline to be “Setting Roots in Our Community.” It was important to us to really participate in helping green Kirkwood. We had several different names, so we decided to have a party with family and friends and Urban Roots won.

Patch: So how does a garden center set roots in the community?

Elliott: Right now we are partnering with …We’re going to send out an e-newsletter blast for an evening event in July, and a portion of proceeds from that night will go toward Project IDEA.

Patch: Why did you decide to open in Kirkwood?

I live in Kirkwood and I’ve been in the Kirkwood-Webster area for 15 years. I’ve been managing nurseries in St. Louis around this area, so this is where all my connections were, and it was important to me to keep it in Kirkwood. I thought Kirkwood really needed this, and we’re the only full-scale nursery here, so we’re proud of that.

Patch: What kind of response have you had?

Elliott: Oh, it’s been amazing. I mean we’ve been really blessed. I know so many people in this community who have really embraced us, and we joined the Chamber of Commerce which is probably the best thing we could have done. They’ve sent so many people here and they’ve really encouraged us.

Patch: How is Urban Roots different than other garden centers?

Elliott: I think we have more of an eclectic feel. It’s not just about the garden center, it’s really geared toward the home décor also, and we want to get geared toward that a little more as time goes on and we get established. But also I think a lot of it is our environment. It’s just a peaceful place.

Patch: Where did you get your green thumb?

Elliott: It probably originated with my great-grandmother who had a three-acre rose garden. We were there every weekend working for her. After that I went to school for literature, and when I was in school I was working at a nursery in Cape Girardeau and I loved it, so in my senior year I called my parents and broke the news that (literature) was not what I wanted to do.

Patch: What’s your favorite plant and why?

Oh gosh, that’s a really tough question. I really like a lot of plants.

Patch: Okay, what are your top favorites?

The stewartia tree and the black gum tree...The stewartia because it has a really unique bark and I’m a bark girl, and the black gum turns a scarlet flaming red in the fall. Both are neat structured trees and not very common...We carry both trees.

Patch: What are your popular sellers?

Right now it’s anything with colors and a lot of annuals. I think people after the winter just crave anything with colors. We have a very large selection of unusual annuals, trees and shrubs.

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