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Horsetooth Stem and Roots provides hub for plant lovers

A variety of plants inside the local business known as Horsetooth Stems and Roots House Plant Boutique Oct. 4. (Garrett Mogel | The Collegian)
A variety of plants inside local business Horsetooth Stem and Roots: House Plant Boutique Oct. 4. (Garrett Mogel | The Collegian)

As Homecoming approaches, Horsetooth Stem and Roots offers a fun and unique experience for parents, students and alumni alike to find their soul plant. 

Located conveniently on the perimeter of Old Town, Fort Collins, the shop pulls in the community with its vibrant plants and the personalities of the shop’s owners. Kaley Smylie-Halligan, Korey Halligan and David Cantor founded the shop after the Halligans moved from Hawaii and developed a deep love of all things plants. The group met at Dazbog Coffee, where Cantor gained much of his business experience. 

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Inside the shop, plant options range from more affordable and simple plants to rare and breathtaking items. Additionally, Smylie-Halligan said they provide a platform for ceramics artists, stained glass artists and macrame weavers to sell their art to people who will appreciate its unique flair. 

“We definitely specialize in a huge variety of houseplants … ranging from common to uncommon and to rares, even,” Smylie-Halligan said. 

The shop started out of the Halligan household, where they would put on yard plant sales for the neighborhood. Fort Collins Donut Company’s Megan Barghols supported the three in getting a realtor and eventually establishing the brick-and-mortar home of Horsetooth Stem and Roots. 

We’re more of a one-on-one shop; we’ll work with you to make sure you have a successful plant experience.”- David Cantor, Horsetooth Stem and Roots co-owner

As they found their community in the physical location, the shop quickly found themselves being supported and supporting those around them as Old Town break-ins targeted local businesses, including Horsetooth Stem and Roots.

“Within like 12 hours (of the break-in), we had different businesses reaching out, and they had incidents as well happen that same night,” Halligan said. “It was just kind of crazy how much everyone came together and helped each other out.”

Smylie-Halligan said many local businesses also shop through them, and they work to support other shops as well. This helps foster a community in which everyone knows the people their products are coming from. 

“Supporting small (businesses) is so huge, and it really was eye-opening, when we did start, how close-knit the community is,” Smylie-Halligan said. 

David Cantor co-owner of Horsetooth Stems and Roots House Plant Boutique in Fort Collins Colorado stands behind the counter Oct. 4. (Garrett Mogel | The Collegian)
David Cantor, co-owner of Horsetooth Stem and Roots: House Plant Boutique in Fort Collins Colorado stands behind the counter Oct. 4. (Garrett Mogel | The Collegian)

As a way to help contribute to the community they have become part of, the shop started hosting events for customers, neighbors and other business owners. Oct. 3, Horsetooth Stem and Roots hosted a plant swap where dozens of people who’d previously communicated through online plant groups met in person to trade their plants, cuttings and propagated stems. 

“I think … this was kind of the first time that a lot of these people were able to meet in person,” Smylie-Halligan said. “It was cool to be able to bring everybody together.”

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By hosting the community, the trio felt much of their mission for the shop was being fulfilled. In addition to hosting community events and inviting local artists to display their work, the shop also helps walk customers through becoming first-time plant owners.

Since houseplants can have a variety of specific care needs, the shop recognizes it’s a learning curve and help is often needed. By offering this support, the shop continues to build a community of plant lovers who have the resources they need to help their plants thrive. 

“We’re more of a one-on-one shop; we’ll work with you to make sure you have a successful plant experience,” Cantor said. “We’ll walk you through how to recognize for pests, how to recognize if the plant’s not doing well and we’ll give you advice to make sure your experience is (positive).”

Horsetooth Stem and Roots is located at 516 S. College Ave. in Old Town, Fort Collins, and is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. While the store doesn’t have an online shop, potential customers can see what new options they have for in-store shopping on their Instagram @horsetooth_stem_and_roots

Kota Babcock can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @KotaBabcock.

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About the Contributors
Kota Babcock
Kota Babcock, Arts and Culture Director
Kota Babcock is the 2021-22 arts & culture director for The Collegian and began the role in summer 2021. He's a fourth-year at Colorado State University studying journalism and media communication. Babcock grew up in Denver and immersed himself in the local alternative rock scene in middle and high school, looking up to writers at Westword. Additionally, he participated in marching band and won fifth place in the Museum of Contemporary Arts Denver's Failure Awards after creating a sculpture out of a book. While he originally planned to study creative writing at art school, Babcock found his home in student media at CSU. Currently, he serves as a mentor with All The TEA (teach, empower, advocate), an HIV-focused group within a Denver LGBTQ+ space. He works with KCSU as the news director. In his free time, he takes fun pictures of his bearded dragon, Sunshine, and makes dioramas of movie and video game scenes. In his work as arts & culture director, he hopes to feature CSU's cultural centers and lesser-known local artists and musicians in ways they haven't been previously. He looks forward to a year of writing and working with the local community to express their stories accurately. Kota Babcock can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @kotababcock.
Garrett Mogel
Garrett Mogel, Photo Director
Garrett Mogel is a third-year journalism student with a second field in philosophy. He is one of two photo directors for the 2023-24 school year.  Growing up in Colorado and surrounded by dreamlike landscapes and adventure sports, it was only a matter of time before Mogel picked up a camera. For over a decade, Mogel explored Colorado, portaging rivers, postholing through several feet of snow, rappelling over cliffs and skinning up mountains, all with a camera in hand. Through his adventures, Mogel began attaching stories to images and began to engage viewers in conversation about their favorite areas. Eventually, Mogel’s passion for photography and storytelling drew him to pursue a degree and career in photojournalism.  In his years at college, Mogel has worked with The Collegian every year. In progressing through the publication, Mogel has seen all the ways student media fosters growth both individually as well as through collaboration. Additionally, the opportunity to witness how impactful a story can be on a personal, organizational and community level is his greatest lesson thus far.  Beyond The Collegian, Mogel still finds time to appreciate his Colorado upbringing. When not on assignment, he can usually be found mountain biking, skiing, camping, river surfing or at home planning his next adventure.

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