Winnipeg’s ‘plant momma’ grows hobby into new North End store

A new plant store is blooming in Winnipeg’s North End.

The store, PlantMomma, is the business venture of Dolly Villedo, who is now known by her customers as “Winnipeg’s plant momma.”

Villedo’s store had humble beginnings. She started by selling plants on social media, which led to her opening her storefront in mid-August.

“New faces, new customers are supporting us. I did not expect that we grow like this big,” said Villedo.

When her family came to Winnipeg  from the Philippines in 2011, the poor air quality of their first apartments launched Villedo into collecting plants — a hobby that would change her life, and take over her home.

WATCH | Take a tour of Winnipeg’s newest plant store and see why business is blooming:

Take a tour into Winnipeg’s newest plant shop and see why business is blooming. 2:35

Villedo started propagating plants in her house, and garnered a following by selling them on Facebook Marketplace. Her husband, Benjohn Villedo, soon found himself helping to convert their garage into a greenhouse in order to keep up with the rising demand for his wife’s plants. 

“We live in St. Anne, but we drove all the way here because of the selection,” said Belle Monchamp, who has been purchasing plants from PlantMomma since before the physical store opened.

While some customers come for the international selection of plants, the staff say it’s the calming presence of plants that has customers coming back, especially during the pandemic. 

“It helps a lot with your mental health,” said customer Jason Cegayle. “I think it teaches people to learn to take care of things that are quite fragile, too — to learn how to be compassionate.” 

Plants take over the Villedos’ new storefront, which features two main display rooms. (Jonathan Ventura/CBC)

The Villedos also say the shop is a great place to relieve stress.

“It’s a community, it’s a family. People talk and share,” said Benjohn. “They are comfortable here, they are happy here.”

Even though the store has only been open for a month, the “plant momma” herself says it’s taken a lot of work to see the dream of owning her own store finally starting to grow.

“I want to cry, because it’s hard to start a business like this. It’s been three years already. So, it’s really hard to grow like this,” she said. 

PlantMomma’s new storefront is at 803 Stella Ave.

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