Emerald City Plant Shop’s Quontay Turner Shares What Brings Her Joy

Trailblazer and Emerald City Plant Shop owner Quontay Turner is using her Norwood boutique to pave the way for underrepresented entrepreneurs.

Photo by Sasha Israel

Quontay Turner’s love for plants blossomed in 2018 when her grandmother snipped off pieces of her pothos and spider ivy and gifted Turner the two clippings. Through trial and error, Turner learned how to care for her greenery, and took on a side gig at the South End’s Niche plant shop in 2019. But when she witnessed the high demand for all things plants early in the pandemic, the Mattapan native branched off on her own and sold a curated collection of tropical species at the Black Owned Bos. holiday market. Soon, she’d snagged a vacant space in Norwood Center and opened Emerald City Plant Shop—New England’s first Black-owned plant boutique.

Fast-forward nearly a year, and Turner is amplifying other Black voices through her biz. Tapestries and a leafy mural enliven the shop’s walls, while also promoting the artists who created them. Other Black makers’ creations, including Hippie Adjacent earrings, mingle with Turner’s flora. After-hours, her store turns into an event space for the community. “Now [others] can have an event filled with plants without the commitment of owning them,” Turner says. Not to mention, she adds, plants “make everything better.”

Ahead, she shares a few things that bring her joy.

Courtesy photo

Cricut “Explore” Machine 

This $200 investment built the foundation for my entire empire. I have another Etsy business named Q Made It, which I started in 2015. It’s a hodgepodge of my creative talent. My Cricut helped me bring almost all of my designs to life, whether it was a T-shirt, packaging, or signage.

Photo by Dréana LeMaitre

ZaZ Restaurant 

I’ve gotten so busy that figuring out what to eat has become a chore. My go-to place is ZaZ. It’s hard to choose a favorite menu item, but I always gravitate toward the jerk salmon wrap.

Courtesy photo

Sansi Grow Lights 

Seasonal depression hits me pretty hard, but my plants and I don’t feel it nearly as bad with these grow lights that I put on automatic timers. They imitate natural light, so winter doesn’t feel as dark and gloomy as it once did. Plus, my plants get to thrive year-round because of them.

Photo by Sasha Israel

Alocasia Plants 

Their growth pattern can only carry a certain amount of leaves at a time. As a new leaf comes in, an old one goes out. Personally, they’ve taught me how to manage how much I put on my plate. The phrase “plants make people happy” could not be more true for me.

Photo by Fernanda Martinez

Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Baking has been a part of my identity since I made my first batch of cookies at seven years old. Now, my chocolate chip cookies are the most requested by my family. My stepmother taught me the recipe.


What I’m Reading
Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals through Accelerating Teamwork, by Dan Sullivan, is my recent favorite that I’ll recommend to anyone, but especially entrepreneurs.

What I’m Drinking
I enjoy trying new teas. I’ll drink them hot or cold, sweetened or unsweetened, but always with Sea Moss Tingz to keep my immune system in good shape, especially during these times.

What I’m Eating
I love spicy food, so no meal is complete without Hillside Harvest’s “Sun Kissed Tomato Hot Sauce” or Ricky’s Hot Stuff “Salsa Roja.” Beyoncé’s “I got hot sauce in my bag” line is a subheader to my life.

What I’m Listening to
I am a huge R & B fan, and the genre is on fire right now. At the moment, some of my favorites are HER, Sevyn Streeter, and Jazmine Sullivan. When I need some positive affirmations, I’ll listen to Londrelle.

What I’m Buying
Any and almost everything being sold by the amazing vendors at the Black Owned Bos. markets. As a vendor myself, it’s always a great way to make and circulate money among my fellow small-business community.