The school newspaper of Oakville High School


The school newspaper of Oakville High School


The school newspaper of Oakville High School


Deep Roots

Plant Shop owner sheds light on a well known fixture in Oakville
Tristan Howard

Pauline Cella came out of college and moved to Saint Louis for a banking job. But, on a whim, her career went a different direction.

I got married, and my husband was like, ‘Oh, we should buy this nursery!’ and I was like, I don’t know, I kind of have a good gig,” Pauline Cella said. “But I did it, and looking back at it, it was the best thing that ever happened,” 

Pauline and John Cella have owned and operated PlantHaven Farms for over 20 years and have become a popular business in Oakville. For many people it is a favorite location for photos during prom and other formal occasions.

“That feature [the flower wall] came along with when we bought the property. A great feature is having all the homecoming people come and take their pictures by the wall. Actually people take pictures throughout the summer. If it’s family photos or it’s tons of pet photos,” Cella said.

The connection with the community goes much deeper than just a photo opportunity.

“We’re big supporters of Monarch which is the crisis Aid Center for Women in the sector,” Cella said. “It’s hard to believe that we’ve supported them with only two events. We let them host in our greenhouse and they bring in something like $23,000 in just a few hours.” 

Looking into the past, everything wasn’t as successful as it is now.

“We used to be a pop-up in a parking lot because I live in Olivette, so my friends wouldn’t drive anywhere. We rented parking spaces in a bowling alley parking lot, and it was cute. We fenced it in and we brought our plants there for a couple months out of the year. We did that for 12 years.”

After many years of hard work, things started coming around for the Cellas.

“It’s not an easy industry. but with our three locations, I think that really helps us,” Cella said. “You know where we are now, which is now a pretty big player in the Saint Louis market.”

The Oakville based location has been here in the community since the 1980’s but with the Cella’s taking over, some major renovations took place.

“When we bought it [The Oakville Location]- It wasn’t even maybe a quarter of the size. I mean, we’ve added on and on, in doing that created a little more technology,” Cella said. “ We have a potting machine now compared to just taking the scoopers with soil and putting in the pot.”

In these expansions, more potential was uncovered for the indoor portion of the greenhouse. 

 “The gift shop wasn’t really a gift shop; it was a typical garden center type store with gloves and seeds. I sort of envisioned taking it to the next level meaning having gifts and all across the board, from paper products to pottery to, you know? gifts that hostess could bring if one was going to someone’s home.We felt it was right since there really wasn’t anything like that in that community,” Cella said.

Apart from the atmosphere created, PlantHaven offers much more to its customers when they come in store.

“The plants are number one, number two, are the really great people that work there. And I think people make all the difference,” Cella said. “I think they’re welcoming and they’re incredibly plant knowledgeable. They want to help people.”


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About the Contributor
Tristan Howard
Tristan Howard, Reporter
Hey, Y'all! I'm Tristan, a sophomore at Oakville, and this is my first year on The Prowl newspaper staff. I'm really excited to shed a little color on the talent around the school. I absolutely nerd out over theater and anything tech, but most of all journalism. I'm really looking forward to the stories that I come across this year.

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