Mackenna and Leland Rowley, Riverside residents and owners of Rowley Press, decided to open a sister company Oct. 14 called Piep, a plant house located at 3770 Orange St. in downtown Riverside.
“We already had a printing business here, Rowley Press, and we thought why not start another one? Because we are insane and it’s been really fun,” Mackenna Rowley said.
Pilea Peperomioides, otherwise known as the “friendship plant,” was the primary token inspiration for the Rowleys to open up the plant house.
“We love this plant. My husband loves plants and we thought we should make this available for less than $180,” Rowley said.
“The reason it’s called the friendship plant is because the leaves make these little babies and you can cut them off and then repot them and give it to a friend. That’s how it spreads and it’s really fun,” Rowley added.
After finding a well-priced seedling online, the owners started to develop the idea of opening the plant house.
“We thought we should see how popular (the friendship plant) is and see if we can find a way to grow it,” said Rowley. “So, we created an Instagram account and it now has more than 20,000 followers. It’s just reposts of pictures of the plant and people love it.”
Leah Schar, senior marketing major and Piep employee, got connected with Piep Plant House through the California Baptist University Career Center because of an email sent out to all marketing majors inquiring about an open position for Rowley Press.
However, once they mentioned they had two companies, she jumped on board for both and is now a public relations and social media account manager for both companies.
“I love (the job). It’s better than I could have asked for,” Schar said. “I was looking at big companies too, but being at a small company, I think it’s better because I get to do more hands-on work and I get to learn more than if I were at a large company getting coffee.”
Rowley mentioned that Schar has been a huge help since she was hired.
Even though Schar works for both companies, she is more involved with Piep.
“I was not a plant person, but I’ve definitely gotten more of a green thumb. Now all of my roommates ask me about plants and now I’m way more into plants than I was before.”
Schar is not the only CBU student who has expressed interest in Piep. Some students have been waiting for the store to open since the construction of building started and interior decorating began.
“I had seen Piep in the process of opening and I kept wondering what it was being turned into,” said Courtney Chandler, sophomore graphic design major. “Finding out it was a plant house was a great surprise. I love plants and I always get so excited when the art club sells succulents on campus, so it was great to go to a place that permanently does the same thing.”
The store’s friendly interior can be seen from the outside through large glass windows in the front of the store, inviting potential customers to have a look at all the home decor available for sale. The store is open Tuesday-Saturday, 12-7 p.m.