Roommates open Foliage LB in Downtown Long Beach


Kristen Farrah Naeem | Signal Tribune

Foliage LB is a new locally owned plant store in Downtown Long Beach. It celebrated its grand opening on Nov. 13.

Foliage LB celebrated its grand opening Friday, Nov. 13, gifting free plants to customers who came to visit the newest Downtown Long Beach business.

The small bright space features a mural of twisting plants on the wall behind a large Victorian-style couch with green brocade. Foliage LB is aptly named, with plants everywhere visitors look, hanging from the ceiling, lining wall mounted shelves and completely covering low wooden tables. As customers peruse, small humidifiers nestled among the greenery periodically release bursts of mist into the air around plants from moist climates.

The new store carries a wide range of plants such as Philodendron, corkscrew rush, Monstera adansoii, Monstera deliciosa, gold dust croton, ponytail palm, pothos and many more. Their inventory ranges from large potted house plants that can fill up the corner of a room to hand sized ones for shelves and desks. Other supplies are also in stock, including macrame hangers for potted plants and gardening shears.

Foliage LB offers a wide range of plants, varying in size and species. (Kristen Farrah Naeem)

Foliage LB was co-founded by friends and roommates Nicoletta Meza and David Allen. The pair met as children when Meza became best friends with Allen’s sister.

Reacquainting as adults, they bonded over their love of plants and moved into a Long Beach apartment together.

Once the pandemic arrived and California went into lockdown, their apartment’s plant collection grew exponentially, eventually getting out of hand.

“With the whole quarantine and being inside, we tried to find a way to make our house a little more comfortable and so plants kind of got out of control and that’s how we started,” Allen told the Signal Tribune during Foliage LB’s grand opening.

After running out of space to fit any more plants in their apartment, Meza and Allen decided to open their own business to meet people they could share their love of plants with.

“We both began collecting them in our apartment [and] realized how much it helped improve our mental health and encouraged some self care! We wanted to share this exact experience with our community! We just knew our community would benefit from some more greens and tranquility in their homes,” Meza told the Signal Tribune in an online message.

Meza and Allen had to navigate the complicated process of opening a new business during the coronavirus pandemic along with their already busy schedules. Outside of the work they do for Foliage LB, Meza also has a career as a communications manager for a matcha tea company and Allen is pursuing a degree in physics from CSULB.

A clear plastic divider has been placed between Foliage LB’s showroom and the back area that includes the register, in order to limit the potential spread of coronavirus.

“A lot of the problems are with anything you have to do in person, like licensing, permits and things like that. But other than that it’s not been too difficult. We actually like the pace of only having a few people in at a time, wearing your mask. That is helpful, that everyone’s really understanding,” Allen told the Signal Tribune.

Plants for sale at Foliage LB. (Kristen Farrah Naeem | Signal Tribune)

Foliage LB is now open at 205 Long Beach Blvd. in Downtown Long Beach, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m daily. Follow them on Instagram @foliagelb.