Plant Collection Leeds: Couple transform Cross Gates tanning salon into quirky plant shop and cafe

When an old tanning salon came up for sale in Cross Gates, Fiona Myers knew she'd found the perfect fit for her business.

By Abbey Maclure
Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 7:29 am

The 34-year-old has dreamed of opening a plant shop and cafe for more than six years, after taking inspiration from similar businesses in London and the Netherlands.

After getting hold of the premises, Fiona's partner, Tom Mason, gutted out the building - transforming it into a cosy haven and one-stop shop for plants, coffee and cake.

They opened Plant Collection in September last year, with a floor-to-ceiling stock of indoor houseplants.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Tom Mason and Fiona Myers in their Cross Gates plant shop and cafe - Plant Collection (Photo: Steve Riding)

Fiona told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "I had to take the leap, or I would have forever been the person who said they wanted to open their own business.

“I wanted to create a space where people could come and relax while they shop.

"Sometimes if you go into a shop and don’t want anything, you feel like you have to leave.

"But here, you can have a coffee and a chat with your friend, you can chill out and look at the plants as well.

Plant Collection opened in September last year, selling a floor-to-ceiling stock of indoor houseplants (Photo: Steve Riding)

"You can buy one, but you don’t have to. There’s no pressure.

“It’s laidback, friendly and inviting. We’ll chat to customers if they want to chat, but we’ll leave them alone if they want to be left alone.”

Read More

Read More
House of Kennedy Cross Gates: Meet the Leeds hairdresser who has opened his drea...

Plant Collection serves coffee from Leeds roasters North Star, as well as a selection of cakes and sweet treats from local bakeries.

Plant Collection serves coffee from Leeds roasters North Star, as well as a selection of cakes and sweet treats (Photo: Steve Riding)

Customers can cosy up with a brew and browse the plants and accessories, while listening to jazz playing from vintage speakers.

Fiona added: "People have been surprised that Cross Gates has something so unique and quirky.

"I think every suburb in Leeds could do with a small, independent business that’s a little different - like in London.

"Every high street has something cool and different. Leeds has the potential to have that as well.”

Fiona has more than 150 plants in her own home and offers her customers a wealth of advice; she only stocks species that are easy to maintain.

Her best-sellers are begonias, which come in a variety of striking colours, as well as calatheas and satin pothos.

Fiona is vocal about the mental health benefits of bringing nature indoors, something that became more important during lockdowns.

“I think I would have been slightly ahead of the curve six years ago," she said.

"But being locked at home and missing nature, you realise that plants can bring people joy.

"It relaxes me and I take pure enjoyment from looking at them - I never get bored of it.

"Once you get over whether or not you’re going to keep them alive, you can really start to enjoy watching them try to survive and grow.”

Every corner of the cafe has been designed by Fiona and built by Tom, from laying the flooring and installing the heating to creating the bar.

They've poured many long hours into the business but the proud couple are now watching it flourish.

“We have the loveliest customers," Fiona added.

"I’ve always enjoyed working service and bringing a smile to someone’s day.

"And when it’s your own, it’s like your baby. Even though it's hard and I'm knackered, I love to see people enjoying what I’ve created."