Michael Lanier, whose eclectic plant-centric boutique The Bosque opened in the monOrchid during July’s First Friday in 2015 (and promptly earned a New Times Best of Phoenix award), is already planning a second location.
He’s opening an expanded iteration of The Bosque this fall in the Garfield Historic District, and says he'll likely keep his original version of The Bosque open through at least May of next year.
The Bosque (from the Spanish word for “forest”) is the first business going into an adaptive reuse project, which is located on the northeast corner of 10th and Pierce streets and spearheaded by local developer Chuckie Duff. Soon, the intersection will also be home to Gallo Blanco and a second Welcome Diner.
On Roosevelt Street, Lanier has just one room for The Bosque, which is situated between Be Coffee and monOrchid’s Shade Gallery. He’s filled its sub-500-square-foot space with about 90 percent plants, and 10 percent other offerings – including small works by local artists such as Andy Brown.
He’ll have at least triple the space, including two rooms and an outdoor patio, at his new location – where he’ll show a different mix of merchandise: think half plants and half objects inspired by natural history. He’s hoping to commission a mural for the space.
Lanier is already plenty familiar with the Garfield scene, having moved into a ramshackle little bungalow near 13th and Portland streets four years ago. Last fall, during a visit to the alternative arts and culture venue Alwun House, Lanier learned about a neighborhood meeting that would change his life.
He went to the meeting, and first heard about Duff’s plans for the building. Duff’s other recent projects include spaces housing Palabra, Cobra Arcade Bar, and a second location for Sutra Studios. Lanier gave Duff a call, and talked about his idea for opening a multi-use community space that would include not only plants, but also a tea shop and co-working space.
But then Lanier let it go for a time, figuring he would just focus on The Bosque in Roosevelt Row. That changed early this year, Lanier says, after Duff reached out via Facebook to say he really hoped The Bosque could be part of the new project.
“I’m a big believer in things just working out the way they were meant to,” Lanier says.
The Bosque is rooted in Lanier’s fascination with botany and sociology, and curiosity about the ways people respond to plants.
More than half the people who live in Arizona are transplants from other regions, Lanier says. Most have fond memories of plants besides cactus and succulents, so Lanier’s shop is filled with ferns and other offerings that aren’t prevalent outdoors here but do just fine when properly cared for indoors.
Lately, Lanier has been busy getting the new space ready with projects like adding red brick pavers to the outdoor patio. All the walls are white and open, Lanier says, and the ceiling has embossed tin panels. He’s opted against adding the tea shop and co-working space.
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Whether Lanier decides to keep his original shop open past May 2017 will depend in part on how Roosevelt Row evolves amid burgeoning development. He’s hoping high rents won’t drive artists, and their creativity, from the area.
Either way, he’ll be working with the same goal.
“I like making areas feel more open and friendly and accessible,” he says.