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Plants and Pottery at Forefront for New 18th Street Shop Verdant Matter

By Stephanie Lulay | November 19, 2015 6:07am
 Pilsen resident Kelly Doodeman has opened Verdant Matter, a plant and gift shop, at 1152 W. 18th St. in Pilsen.
Pilsen resident Kelly Doodeman has opened Verdant Matter, a plant and gift shop, at 1152 W. 18th St. in Pilsen.
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DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay

PILSEN — Pilsen resident Kelly Doodeman is leaving a career in occupational therapy behind to open her dream plant and gift shop in the neighborhood.

The 32-year-old opened Verdant Matter at 1152 W. 18th St. in the neighborhood over the weekend. The new shop will offer affordable goods for the home and garden, including house plants and ceramic planters made from artists across the United States.

While the new shop showcases the work of ceramic artists from Chicago, Boston, New York and Austin, Texas, Verdant Matter will also feature a wide selection of ceramic pieces Doodeman is making in-house at her pottery studio behind the storefront, too.

A resident of the neighborhood for 12 years, Doodeman fell in love with pottery after her mother's death in April. The idea of opening a plant store "was always in the back of my mind," she said.

"I've always loved the vibe in plant stores and I thought, 'Could I hang out with plants all day? Yes, I could,'" she said. "I kind of just dived right in."

Verdant Matter features a variety of house plants and ceramic planters. [DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay]

Doodeman found the "perfect" vacant storefront while she was walking her three-legged rescue dogs Trip — short for "Tripod" — and Lola in the neighborhood. The storefront was previously home to appliance sales and repair shop Casa Castaneda before the owner retired, she said.

"It just popped up one day and was perfect since I needed extra space to make pottery in the back," she said.

Four-inch plants cost $6-$11 and the shop also features a "build your own" potted plant station, where customers can pick from a selection of small succulents or cacti and plant them in a custom ceramic pot for $13.

In addition to plants and planters, the shop features homemade gifts and accessories made by local artists, including knitwear, jewelry and handmade soaps and scrubs made by Pilsen-based Lotus Farms. Verdant Matter will feature exclusive ceramics made by new local artists each month, too.

"My goal is to be affordable and handmade while supporting local artists," Doodeman said.

During Pilsen Second Fridays, the shop will showcase handmade goods from artisans across the city and the shop will carry seeds and other gardening tools come spring.

Verdant Matter is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays, closed on Mondays.

Pilsen resident Kelly Doodeman has opened Verdant Matter, a plant and gift shop, at 1152 W. 18th St. in Pilsen. [DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay]

Pilsen resident Kelly Doodeman has opened Verdant Matter, a plant and gift shop, at 1152 W. 18th St. in Pilsen. [DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay]

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