Austin Harned and Ajay Hein’s shared love for plants and all things natural like crystals led the pair to open Quartz Botanicals, now located at 810 15th Avenue in East Moline. Even on a snowy day, customers bustled about, checking out familiar pothos and unusual orchids in the brightly lit store, amid sparkly geodes and one of a kind jewelry. The store recently opened in East Moline after opening briefly at a location in downtown Moline in December.
“We started out doing markets and pop-ups like the Mercado on Fifth, then we opened up a store in Moline,” says Harned. “It was roughly 250, 300 square feet and then we just outgrew that space right away. Now we have about 1200 square feet of shopping space.”
The store carries much more than the plants shoppers might find grocery store’s floral department. “We have a range of houseplants, from common to rare. We try to source a wide variety of species of cultivars,” says Hein. They grow and propagate many of their own plants, while others come in from other parts of the world. Plants that aren’t native to the Midwest are gently acclimated to the local climate before they’re put out on the showroom floor. Anthuriums are one of those rare, showy beauties that need to adjust to living in our area. “They’re pretty uncommon for a shop in general,” says Harned. “They’re an exotic plant from equatorial regions and rainforest conditions. We import them here and acclimate them to our conditions in the Midwest.” The store also carries a wide variety of crystals, geodes and jewelry.
It’s too chilly for the plants to spend time outside, but Harned and Hein are already making plans for warmer weather. “We’re going to cooperate with the East Moline Main Street, they have a summer concert series every Sunday at Runners Park which is just right down the street and we’re going to do a little pop-up there every Sunday night,” says Harned.
“In the future, we are planning on doing a series of workshop classes including terrarium building, propagation and native and pollinator plants and a lot more,” adds Hein.