Plant Shopping at Crest Hardware

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Stop by Crest True Value Hardware and Urban Garden Center in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and you’ll meet more than sales associates—Franklin the Pig and Finlay the Parrot are seasonal residents of the shop on Metropolitan Ave.

Serving the neighborhood since 1962, Crest remains a family-owned business over 50 years later. Owner Joseph Franquinha has built on the legacy his father started, opening the garden center—a passerby favorite for buying plants—10 years ago. While touring the garden center recommended by Ellis Jones, Tamara Santibanez, and many others, we almost forgot we were in the middle of Brooklyn.

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With both an enclosed greenhouse that’s open year-round and the space out back, there’s plenty to explore while shopping for plants. The backyard is a popular spot both for locals looking for a quiet corner to enjoy their morning coffee and couples seeking an intimate venue for their wedding.

Come fall, the backyard fills up with pumpkins, and is the site of Crest’s pumpkin carving contest, before transitioning into a winter wonderland of Christmas trees ahead of the holidays.
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For Franquinha, bringing the community together for more than just picking up a pack of screws or a ficus has been essential, something he’s encouraged by hosting regular events. The Crest Hardware Art Show is the annual show hosted by Crest, featuring artists from near and far whose work is inspired by hardware. Even if you miss the show, there’s still plenty of permanent artwork to check out, including a mural of Franquinha’s grandmother, an Italian immigrant, peering out her “window,” painted by Sam Friedman on the back of the building.

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Another reason to visit? Pig pics. Franquinha’s pet pig, Franklin, has become a member of the Crest family, and the hardware store’s most famous resident (he even has his own Instagram). During the summer, Franklin hangs out in a pen in the garden center’s backyard.

Words by Kate Palisay, Photography by Clémence Polès