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Rare, exotic plant shop joins Downtown Merced scene


Exotic and rare plants are at the center of Asio Verde — Downtown Merced’s newest, one-of-a-kind specialty plant shop.

The grand opening for the shop is this Saturday, April 23, beginning at 10 a.m. with a ribbon cutting. The ceremony will continue until 6 p.m., and will feature free tacos, drinks, and music for the community. Everyone is invited to attend.

“I have always been around gardening my whole life,” said Andres Garcia, co-owner of Asia Verde. “I traveled a lot to South America and I was obsessed with the plants there. I wanted to bring them home with me, and so I created a whole jungle in room.”

Asio Verde is actually a collaboration between two friends and already established business owners — Garcia and Sofia Leon — who both share a love for plants, culture, and maintaining good, quality service.

Leon is the owner of Raìces, a mobile house plant nursery that travels throughout Merced County and surrounding areas. Raìces is driven by attending pop-ups and communicating through community whereas Garcia’s business, Mayan Tropicals, focuses on online engagement and e-commerce.

The two met a little over a year ago and since then have joined forces to create their new store front.

“The first time I met Andres, I remember he had brought a rare plant to a plant swap one time,” Leon explained. “People don’t usually bring rare plants to swaps.”

Said Garcia: “I collect them from South America and Thailand … all those tropical climate regions, and I acclimate them here to our environment. I collect them and share them with the world.”

Leon was born and raised in Merced County, and Garcia is originally from Redwood City. Garcia came down to Merced for school and decided to stay after seeing the growth the city has experienced over the past few years. The pair are both of Mexican decent and pride themselves in keeping their culture alive through their trade. In fact, they can credit their upbringing as the reason why they’ve invested so much time and care into their passion.

“We had the same dream,” Garcia explained about the business. “I made a comment that I wanted a store front here and she said she wanted to do the same.”

The discussion ended in the two deciding they should go into business together.

“We both pride ourselves in good quality plants,” Leon said. “You don’t find that everywhere. We treat for pests, we treat the soil, we swap them out. We do our doctor services. We go above and beyond for our customers.”

Asio Verdes services will include plantscaping and repotting for customers who may need a little extra help giving their plants love at home. Their store front will feature indoor, rare, and exotic plants for sale.

“This is something we both love,” Leon continued. “We like to bring our culture into our plants as well. We want our customers to take a piece of their Mexican-American culture with them. We want Merced County to have somewhere where they can come and feel inclusive, feel like we are part of the community. Like familia. We’re growing together and we want people to feel safe here. It’s not just a business transaction, we want more than that, we want a connection. We want to connect with these people because we know these people are what makes out community go. And what makes it grow. We want to be part of that, we want to be there and make an impact.”


Asio Verde will be open this Saturday, April 23, from 10 a.m. through 6 p.m., at 950 W Main St. in Downtown Merced. Regular hours are still yet to be announced. For further information you can reach out to the business by messaging them on Instagram @asio.verde.

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