Jersey City's Tia Planta brings a bit of nature to the bustling city

Shayla Cabrera opens her shop for the day. As she unloads dozens of plants from her van, the vibrant green draws in curious customers. Welcome to Tia Planta.
“I had a vision for this shop. It’s perfect for plants,” says Cabrera.
What started as a hobby, became a tiny oasis in the middle of concrete and Jersey City traffic.
“I became very into collecting pink houseplants,” she says. “I moved in [to the shop] and created a little display for as many plants as I could pack into 150 octagon feet.”
The shop used to be a Jersey City police kiosk. It is now filled with plants of all different sizes and names.
Since opening in January, Tia Planta has grown a healthy list of loyal customers. The customers are so loyal that when a Jersey City council member wanted to bring back the police kiosk and push Tia Planta out, the community showed up in force.
“I didn’t even have to fight the fight. People just really respect my business and me as a person. I tried to bring good here,” Cabrera says. “There is nothing more validating than having my community stand for me.”
The Afro-Latina-owned small business is here to stay.
“I’m just really proud to be both and to represent a demographic that’s often overlooked,” Cabrera says.
Tia Planta’s pillar of business is to educate its community, while also giving the city a chance to slow down.
“McKinley Square needs access to nice things, just like the rest of Jersey City,” Cabrera says.
Tia Planta is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays but is open every other day from 12 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Customers can even stop by for a consultation to learn about the best plant for their home.