David Erbe and Aidan Robinson's journey from a chance meeting on Tindr to life partners and now business partners is a testament to the power of shared passions. The Plant Gays is not just a shop for houseplants, bespoke concrete planters, and design services, but a manifestation of their love for greenery, thoughtful design, and each other. What started as a pandemic hobby has blossomed into a thriving business, with the couple even hinting at a second location. 


The Plant Gays - East Market

the plant gays space inside East Market.


David and Aidan both attended the Knowlton School of Architecture at the Ohio State University, though their paths didn’t cross until they started dating. Aidan’s focus was on city and regional planning, and later interior design, while David delved into landscape architecture. The pandemic, with its unique challenges, served as a catalyst for their shared passion for plants and design, leading to the couple starting @the.plant.gays Instagram account, which would become the jumping-off point for their business.

“You hear about people picking up a lot of different hobbies during COVID, and for us, that was houseplants,” Aidan says. 

“We started on Instagram, almost as more as a blog, posting tips and tricks of what we did to keep our personal collection alive,” David adds. “Then we started hand-making some of our concrete items, like pots and planters—creating the silicone mold and pouring the concrete. They’re fun to make, and the body pots are our bestsellers.” 


Bouquet from the plant gays

Bouquets are available every Friday for purchase from the plant gays.


The internet went wild for their houseplant tips, concrete planter art, and impressive collection of leafies, so when the pandemic lockdown was lifted, the couple brought The Plant Gays out of their home and into the markets. Buoyed by their thousands of fans, the couple began looking for a permanent retail home—and they found it in East Market, located in Columbus’ historic trolley district at 212 Kelton Ave, Columbus, OH 43205. East Market is an indoor bazaar with restaurants and retail where shoppers can visit many small businesses within just a short walk. True to its name, East Market replicates the outdoor summer market feel David and Aidan love in a permanent indoor space. 


A view from the outside of East Market at the Historic Trolley District

East Market in the Historic Trolley District.


“One thing we really liked about doing the pop-up markets was the sense of community. We had so many great interactions, and we felt it was beneficial having other vendors around you rather than just having a singular storefront,” Aidan says. 

Even beyond their choice of location, the couple strives to bring that sense of community inside their shop as well. With both funny and thoughtful greeting cards that celebrate queer culture—and make the shop an ideal stop for gifts—as well as pins, stickers, and other locally made items, the couple works with other local makers and vendors to curate their selection of goods. They use Queerencia, a local LGBTQ+ and BIPOC-owned clothing company for their t-shirts and sweaters merch, and a portion of the proceeds benefit Kaleidoscope Youth Center, which serves local LGBTQIA+ youngsters. They also do a local artist spotlight every month where shoppers can find anything from handmade ceramics to punch needle embroidery. Shopping at The Plant Gays isn’t just supporting one local business, but many. 


Pots and Vessels from the plant gays

Assorted pots are available for purchase at the plant gay's space inside East Market.


What some may not know is that beyond the retail store, The Plant Gays offers in-home plant design, repotting services, plant maintenance, and more. Aidan is the mastermind behind the brand’s interior design services and loves working in people’s homes and local businesses. They’ve worked with everyone from influencers like COCO the Blog to local law firms to make their spaces more lively with greenery. 

“We’ll have an initial consultation, then we’ll make different suggestions based on people’s lighting and what plants would work in the space, then we’ll give them a plant care guide and tailor the different pots to their aesthetic,” Aidan says. 

Nearly four years in and 13,000 Instagram fans strong, the couple has been so successful that they’re teasing opening a second location, though nothing has been set in stone—or concrete—yet. 

“We haven’t officially announced or signed onto anything, but we’re looking for a second location in Columbus, most likely downtown,” David shares. 

While Columbus is something of a gay mecca in the Midwest, some queer-owned businesses are more or less openly gay than others. Being visible in the community through their business is something that’s deeply important to David and Aidan. 

“Creating that safe space for everyone and making it welcoming for the community was important to us, and being that visible in a public business aspect, I feel like just helps spread visibility and awareness,” David says. 

Visit The Plant Gays inside East Market at 212 Kelton Avenue and, hopefully soon, their second location, too. 

Pro tip: When you go to East Market, go hungry! There are a variety of restaurants, so you can have lunch or dinner with your new leafy baby. Or, if you don’t want to leave your house, you can even order The Plant Gays on Doordash. File that away for when you need a fresh bouquet for your honey—they get flower bouquets every Friday for all your celebration needs.