You’re never going to want to leaf when you visit Habitat Plants + Coffee, one of the newest kids on the block in Historic Downtown McKinney. It's a hybrid greenhouse-meets-coffeehouse that serves lattes, drips, and a mean matcha. It also houses everything from tiny succulents and three-foot-long pothos vines for plant parents to adopt for their own "habitats" at home.
Habitat Plants + Coffee is the brainchild of Karina Salinas, a 28-year-old entrepreneur native of Plano.
However, it took a few years in the Big Apple for Karina to figure out her life, passions, and dreams which ultimately lead her to moving back to Texas and opening Habitat.
Armed with her international business degree, Karina picked her bags and moved from San Antonio to New York City. On why she moved to NYC, Karina says that she needed a place to work in order to live, and had no prospects or jobs when she arrived. She hoped to grow professionally as well as personally.
So, naturally, her spontaneous personality led her to move across the country.
Karina took odd jobs to pay the bills until she was hired by a fashion company to manage their first brick-and-mortar storefronts. As one can imagine, New York City is a very different place from Dallas. Karina will be the first to admit that the brusque city culture affected her mindset.
She recalls how a prior interview taught her that “someone else is always more qualified than you, especially in New York.”
However, her desire to work for a plant and coffee company was rooted in her head, and didn't waver even when she switched jobs and moved back to Texas.
Her switch to the construction industry prompted her move back to DFW. However, a year in, Karina was discouraged by her treatment. “There’s a reason not many women are in that industry, and eventually I just quit.”
By the time Karina left, the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing. She was left with no plan, no job, and no clue where to start.
“I began thinking about what had been consistent in my life since I left home, and it was plants,” Karina explained. “It was my dream job [to work in plants and coffee] and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.”
That’s when her original desire to work for a plant and coffee shop in NYC popped out of the dirt of her imagination and started to bloom.
Starting in college and all through adulthood, Salinas had a hobby of caring for plants, and with the advent of Facebook groups she plugged into the local plant community. She soon started thinking about how McKinney had no hole-in-the-wall plant stores. She realized there was no communal space where local plant parents like her could buy plants and garner plant care advice and recommendations for their next leafy adoption.
Why Downtown McKinney for a plant and coffee shop? While walking her dog on the Square, Karina saw that a space on north Kentucky street was vacant. After months of business plans, painting, buying furniture, and finding plant suppliers, Habitat Plants + Coffee opened in July of 2021.
“I’m a creature of habit,” Karina laughs. “While I was living in New York City, I found little spaces where people knew my name. Although DFW and McKinney are so big, there is this sense of tight knit community that is small town-ish.”
Karina says that people will drive from other cities to use her space, and as a customer herself of small businesses, she loves that.
When asked about the shop’s name, Karina admitted that she had been thinking about it all that morning before this interview.
“My house is filled with plants… [My store] could be a natural habitat for other plant people in McKinney that want to cultivate that community," Karina reflected. "People will come in and get a drink, sit down and talk about their plants, which is what I imagined… 'habitat’ is a subjective term - your habitat is different from my habitat - but if I can bring greenery and life into your home, I’m happy to do so.”
Now, coffee addicts and plant lovers everywhere are flocking to try their lattes and pick out a new monstera for their living room.
After partnering with Viewfinder Coffee Roasters, as well as stationery, succulent, and plant decor vendors, Habitat Plants + Coffee opened in July 2021. They now have a fully developed menu that includes espresso-based drinks and teas, as well as flavored syrups and a seasonal latte. You can find them on North Kentucky Street on the Square, next door to Lone Star Wine Cellar and White Rock Soap Gallery.
Habitat Plants + Coffee | 214 N Kentucky St A, McKinney, TX 75069