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Plant lover hoping to grow a new business in West Fargo

Scott Brezina is a certified plant lover and has always wanted to own his own plant shop. He is currently seeking investors for Pansy Plants, which he aims to open in West Fargo's Pioneer Place mixed-use building.

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Scott Brezina keeps several houseplants Friday, July 29, 2022, in his south Fargo home. Brezina will put his nursery skills to work when he opens Pansy Plants in West Fargo.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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WEST FARGO — A new plant shop is hoping to sprout in West Fargo.

Pansy Plants founder Scott Brezina is currently raising capital to fund the venture, which he is hoping to open in the Pioneer Place mixed-use building along Sheyenne Street in the city’s downtown.

While the timeline for the store’s opening is yet to be finalized, Brezina hopes to open this year. The budding entrepreneur said opening a shop dedicated to all things houseplants has long been a dream of his. He credited longtime friend Katie Krumwiede, owner of Cookie Krums, for helping him find the location in the Pioneer Place.

Having made a career in retail, Brezina added that the COVID-19 pandemic afforded him extra time to contemplate his goal. “Especially over COVID, everyone kind of had a lot of time to think about what they really wanted to do and what they really love,” Brezina explained to The Forum. “I kind of just got to a point this year where I was like, ‘You know, I’m 32. If I’m not going to do it now, when?’”

The store, owned by brothers Casey and Kale McCollum, features over 4,000 houseplants, pottery, soil, plant care products and more.

That realization led Brezina to connect with an adviser from North Dakota Small Business Development Center . From there, he drafted a business plan, identified his ideal location and wholesalers and is currently raising capital through Mainvest , an online crowdfunding platform.

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As of Friday, July 29, Brezina had raised over 20% of his $60,000 investment goal. Mainvest, he explained, isn’t a standard fundraising platform like GoFundMe. Investors in Pansy Plants will receive a share of the business’s revenue up to a certain amount, depending upon how much they’ve invested. “Over the term limit, those people get their investment back as well as a set return,” he said.

Mainvest, Brezina added, was used successfully by 701 Eateries, which opened in 2021 and raised nearly $400,000 on the platform. “It’s a way for me to raise funds and get the support of the community, but also give back to the community in the way of returns,” he said.

Should Pansy Plants fail to meet its investment goal, the funds will be returned to investors. If that comes to pass, Brezina said that won’t deter him and he’ll “get creative” and “go back to the drawing board” to achieve his dream of owning the store.

What’s in a name?

Brezina shared that the name Pansy Plants carries personal meaning to him.

Growing up gay in the Midwest “isn’t always conducive to having the most accepting childhood,” Brezina said. While he noted that his experience in Fargo was better than what others have faced, he has still received gay slurs directed his way.

Brezina said he reached a point in his life where he needed to make a choice: Let those epithets bother him or own his identity. It’s why he opted to embrace the term “pansy” in the name of his business. “I’m going to be spending so much of my time there that I want it to be a place that really embodies the values that I have,” he said.

“I made the conscious decision that if I’m going to start my own business, I’m going to make it 100% me and I wanted to pick a queer name,” he continued. “While it’s definitely a bold choice, we’ll say, it had a really great ring to it.”

Brezina was quick to note that his name choice is only a part of the story. When people think of Pansy Plants, he wants them to envision a local shop for houseplants, soil, accessories, local craft goods, gifts and quality service, all in an accepting environment. His passion is assisting people with their plants, which is why he plans to offer classes as well as a color-coded system for people to easily identify the plants best suited for them.

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While it’s not completely a jungle, Brezina said his apartment is filled with over 100 plants. “I really love plants. I always have. I grew up with them,” he said. With the potential opening of Pansy Plants, Brezina will check off a long-standing dream and share that love with the community.

Thomas Evanella is a reporter for The Forum. He's worked for The Forum for over two years, primarily reporting on business news. Reach him at tevanella@forumcomm.com or by calling 701-353-8363. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasEvanella.
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