First got here love, then a fiddle-leaf fig and a bustling plant retailer


Within the now-infamous summer season of 2020, the Baziks’ new enterprise had prospects lining up down the block.

SarahCotta Vegetation opened its Glendale doorways that July, a daring transfer by its married house owners, Sarah and Tadeh. Their retailer grew from robust soil — the summer season the pandemic shuttered many small companies — however it’s nonetheless thriving two years later. Now, standing behind the store’s wooden counter, the Baziks reply the large query: How?

Tadeh thinks folks wanted an escape from pandemic stress.

“Wanting again, I can’t consider that really occurred,” he stated, carrying a black T-shirt, matching together with his spouse. “Again then, folks have been so scared. There was no vaccine, you realize, the truth that folks would even come right here was wonderful.”

Tadeh Bazik holds a younger Monstera obliqua plant that has been rising contained in the greenhouse at his residence.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Occasions)

Sarah stated that attracting prospects was by no means the issue. Within the store’s early months, the Baziks let in solely two folks without delay and required masks. They’d go away each night time at 10, and after they got here again within the morning, prospects have been already ready exterior. Nurses from close by Adventist Well being, nonetheless of their scrubs, stopped by to select crops.

Although that they had the shoppers, the true hurdle was the stock, Sarah stated. They scoured for crops, normally in San Diego, making an attempt to buy sufficient varieties to fill their store. The crops would arrive at distribution facilities and promote recent off the truck, and both the Baziks grabbed them or one other plant store would. Even now filling stock may be tough, however the store feels full.

Wedged between a hair salon and an air duct enterprise, the Baziks handle to make a small area really feel ethereal. It’s plant-packed, as anticipated, with glass vials of cuttings on one wall and a white cupboard of uncommon crops on the opposite. Then there’s Sarah and Tadeh, a vigorous couple toiling away in the midst of all of it. There’s just one worker, who runs the counter; the Baziks handle all the things else. The shop closes on Mondays and Tuesdays as they store for brand spanking new crops, clear them, add them within the system and take pictures. On Wednesday, they restock and reopen.

Working collectively means Sarah and Tadeh are collectively “24 hours a day.” They wouldn’t have it some other manner.

“I’ve been with him since I used to be 18 years outdated, and I’ve by no means been bored of him ever,” Sarah stated. “All of my mates on a regular basis are like, ‘How do you’re employed along with your husband each single day?’ I’m like, ‘It’s the very best!’ I don’t need to work with anyone else. Like I can’t think about not working with him.”

“Think about working along with your finest good friend,” Tadeh added.

Sarah and Tadeh Bazik stand behind the counter of their store, surrounded by plants.

Sarah and Tadeh Bazik fill an order at SarahCotta Vegetation in Glendale.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Occasions)

Fb performed matchmaker again in 2010, when Sarah posted about getting a brand new telephone and requested her mates to ship their numbers. She and Tadeh had by no means met however he coyly despatched her his quantity anyway. They messaged for months, even when Tadeh visited Armenia for the primary time and she or he was nonetheless in California.

“As an alternative of visiting the nation, I’m sitting there at 3 within the morning on my laptop computer speaking to her as a result of I do know she’s awake,” Tadeh stated as Sarah smiled. “I fell in love along with her earlier than I even met her nose to nose.”

When he got here again, they met in individual, and years later, Tadeh proposed when visiting Sarah’s household in Armenia. Although they deliberate to marry on the finish of 2020, they spontaneously wed on a visit to Cancun with mates in 2019 — within the nick of time earlier than the pandemic hit.

Each Armenian, the Baziks discovered their fluency within the language particularly useful in Glendale, which has one of many largest Armenian populations exterior of Armenia itself. Sarah traces her plant ardour to her grandmother’s backyard in Armenia. Her grandmother would lead her by means of herbs and hoya crops, declaring every sort and the way it grew. Whereas her mom had a black thumb, her grandmother may develop something.

Tadeh examined whether or not it ran within the household. Seven years in the past, he gave Sarah her first plant: a shiny fiddle-leaf fig. It’s notoriously tough to maintain alive, however Sarah grew it into one thing massive and delightful. Tadeh had unknowingly began a “wholesome dependancy.” Their house developed right into a jungle, with greater than 100 crops filling all of the corners.

A wall of plant cuttings in tubes of water at SarahCotta Plants.

Clients are inspired to take a slicing of a plant and, in return, go away one other slicing of a plant in tubes of water on the retailer.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Occasions)

Sarah recruited not solely Tadeh however all her mates into her plant frenzy, internet hosting potting events and handing out plant cuttings. And whereas her mates inspired them to begin a retailer, she and Tadeh insisted it was only a interest — till the pandemic.

As COVID-19 spurred a brand new period of out of doors exercise, the Baziks opted for biking. Whereas driving to purchase Sarah a brand new bike, Tadeh observed a “For Lease” signal — a facet impact of his actual property agent eyes. They continued on and purchased the bike, however one thing tugged on them to cease on the open area on the best way residence. The inside was a catastrophe however the Baziks weren’t fazed.

“We have been simply wanting round, after which I’m like, how a lot is the lease?” Tadeh stated. “And he instructed us and out of nowhere, I checked out Sarah and I’m like, ‘You already know that factor you’ve at all times been speaking about, about doing a plant store? Ought to we do it?’”

“After which we have been like … OK! We actually signed the lease that day,” Sarah stated, standing in that very same area (which now reveals no hint of as soon as being a catastrophe). “Should you preserve ready and ready, looking for the suitable place, like if we deliberate on discovering the suitable place …”

“You’re by no means gonna discover the suitable time,” Tadeh completed.

So that they went to work, Tadeh turning his actual property profession right into a facet gig as they each devoted themselves full-time to SarahCotta Vegetation. (The identify is a mix of terracotta, their favourite plant pots, and Sarah’s identify, which Tadeh jokes sounded higher than his.)

Their home is the shop’s prep heart. Of their residence greenhouse, they set up, sift and clear by means of what they’ve purchased, label crops and snap pictures for his or her web site. Their 1-year-old son, Kylo, will get to develop up within the jungle of all of it. When the Baziks carry him into the store, he explores the terrain however doesn’t knock something over.

A detail image of striped leaves of a green, leafy Calathea Orbifolia plant.

A Calathea orbifolia plant at SarahCotta Vegetation.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Occasions)

One-year-old Kylo Bazik sits on the floor of his parents' shop with a plant.

Kylo Bazik has many crops to maintain him firm in his mother and father’ retailer.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Occasions)

He’s a very peaceable toddler, which the Baziks attribute to the calm setting. “We’re elevating him like certainly one of our crops,” Tadeh laughed.

And it’s not simply Kylo who’s studying to be a plant individual. Since opening, the Baziks have launched into a mission to develop everybody’s inexperienced thumb. That’s why Sarah loves cuttings — even when a buyer by chance kills a plant, generally a bit of it may be salvaged and used to develop a brand new one. In spite of everything, their essential aim is to make everybody a plant individual, and two years after opening, they’re seeing the fruits of their efforts. The Baziks love when prospects turn out to be mates and revel in seeing them with thriving crops they purchased within the retailer’s early days.

“I really feel like crops have been only a manner for all of us to flee all of the madness that’s going on the market,” Tadeh stated of the store’s begin. “And simply on like a human degree, discuss one thing completely pure and completely nonpandemic and never about dying and never about all of the detrimental stuff. When you guys step in right here, neglect about no matter that’s occurring on the market.”

The Bazik family home's shelves, lined with plants and family pictures.

The Bazik household residence options many crops from their private assortment which are on show of their lounge.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Occasions)

As some pandemic restrictions have ebbed, SarahCotta Vegetation nonetheless stands as a remnant of the great that got here out of a turbulent time. And it persists as an escape for these having a tough day.

Sarah calls two issues “meant to be.” The primary: her marriage to Tadeh. And the second: opening this plant retailer.

“It’s how many individuals that we helped turn out to be plant people who grew to become mates,” Sarah stated. “It’s assembly new folks and speaking to them and changing into mates, to them coming to my son’s first party. It’s these core recollections that I’ll bear in mind eternally.”

Parents hold their young child among plants

Sarah and Tadeh Bazik spend a heat second with their 1-year-old son, Kylo, in the primary show window of their retailer.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Occasions)

SarahCotta Vegetation, 401 N. Verdugo Street, Suite A, Glendale. Open Wednesdays-Fridays, noon-7 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, noon-5 p.m. Instagram: @SarahCottaPlants.

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