Alabama business offers plants and a bit of eclectic

Twin brothers Chris and Pat Thompson, seen Tuesday, March 29, 2022 in Vinemont, Alabama, offer visitors to The Man Cave Market an escape from the world.  His business model for The Man Cave Market is less about selling products and more about offering an experience.  It's that thinking that has turned the eclectic nursery into a destination store in Cullman.  (Patrick Camp/The Cullman Times via AP)

Twin brothers Chris and Pat Thompson, seen Tuesday, March 29, 2022 in Vinemont, Alabama, offer visitors to The Man Cave Market an escape from the world. His business model for The Man Cave Market is less about selling products and more about offering an experience. It’s that thinking that has turned the eclectic nursery into a destination store in Cullman. (Patrick Camp/The Cullman Times via AP)

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For twins Chris and Pat Thompson, the business model for The Man Cave Market in Vinemont is less about selling products and more about providing an experience. It’s that thinking that has turned the eclectic nursery into a destination store in Cullman.

After years as a wholesale distributor for 95 florists in North and West Alabama, it was the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns that led to the start of his fledgling business.

“We were in cruise control for over 20 years, Chris would go to Florida every week and pick up the plants, and we would ship them all over the state,” Pat said. “Then in 2020, everything closed, we went from 85 orders to less than six. It was only ten weeks before orders picked up again, but at the time we had no idea how things would pan out. So I brought down the roofs here and built the lofts and we decided to open a store.”

With little more than a truckload of plants and an entrepreneurial mindset, the twins opened the doors to the retail side of their florist business in 2020.

“All we had was plants back then, but within 30 minutes the first customer came in and bought $300 worth of product and it’s been that way ever since. Almost every day a new customer comes to see what it is all about, and almost everything is passed on by word of mouth,” said Pat.

While it’s still a nursery at its core, the offerings have come a long way in two years. Venturing into home furnishings, coffee, grooming and health products, the store has become a kind of love letter to brothers who travel the world.

“We’ve been everywhere,” Chris said. “We want to bring that here. We want this place to be an experience, so we are always looking for something unique, new and different. I always say that there is no way you can enjoy absolutely everything here in one visit. So every time people come in it’s a new experience.”

“Our goal is to give people an escape from this crazy world,” said Pat. “There is absolutely no pressure to buy anything. More than anything, it cheers me up when someone who is having a bad day comes in and hangs out and enjoys the place. We have been very blessed in life, and now I am happy that we can share that and bless others.”

Although there are plans for the future, the brothers do not know very well what it will be like.

“Our vision is not complete. We are considering maybe offering food soon, but something unique and different. I don’t know exactly what yet. It’s kind of like that with everything here. There are definitely plans, but it’s a bit like painting a picture. It just develops on its own.”

The Man Cave Market is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 noon to 3 p.m. on Sundays.

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