LAKE ASBURY – Taylor Thigpen is far from your average ninth-grader. The varsity swim athlete at St. John’s Country Day School has always been extremely busy with extracurricular …
LAKE ASBURY – Taylor Thigpen is far from your average ninth-grader. The varsity swim athlete at St. John’s Country Day School has always been extremely busy with extracurricular activities.
Last year at Lake Asbury Junior High, he was the president of that school’s chapter of the Future Farmers of America and the Speech and Debate Club and a member of the cross country team. Outside of school, he has been a member of 4-H, the superintendent for the student advisory committee for Clay County Public schools and is on the national board for GenYouth (a physical and nutrition program which gives grants to students and schools around the country), and more.
As such, Thigpen doesn’t have a whole lot of free time.
When the COVID-19 pandemic brought life almost to a halt earlier this year, he found himself with a moment to think. It was during that time PlantKing USA – formerly known as Succulent King – was created.
“When COVID-19 started, it was the first time in a long time just to sit down and have nothing to do,” said Thigpen. “So, I ended up taking some of my horticulture knowledge, and I started getting into entrepreneurship, I started researching the market, and I thought, let’s take two things I really enjoy and put them together.’” PlantKing USA is a licensed nursery that ships all over the United States. He has done well with the business. Over the past four months, Thigpen says that the company has filled more than 1,000 orders.
“He just gets it. He’s got the whole package,” said Laura Pavlus, Director of Business Development and Marketing for Clay County Economic Development Corporation of Thigpen. “He understands business. He’s a great researcher, and he understands how to figure things out. That impressed me tremendously. You can just tell that this kid is going to be something. He has that spark.”
Thigpen initially reached out to the Clay County EDC to investigate what type of grants are out there to help him grow his business. He has, by his own admission, been extremely fortunate to have had great success online with the sales from his company.
“I have been able to hire someone to build my website, help pay students and fund students to come out here and help me [pack and send out orders],” Thigpen said. “I have the money ready for the next goal. I’m just waiting for what the next step is. I’m not in a desperate need at all to be able to move on. Money isn’t the issue right now; it’s the amount of time I have to put into it and the energy I have to put into it.”