Drutopia bounces back with community support
TUCSON, Arizona – “When you do something right and the right way and do it with heart and integrity, the people of Tucson will find it and they tend to support and maintain it,” said Drew Berryhill , owner of Drutopia.
Opening to the public in March 2020, Berryhill had to quickly close its botanical garden, Drutopia, a week later.
“It was just a wild, wild time of year. The pandemic, everything going on with police brutality, all that sort of thing. So it was the perfect storm back then, ”said Berryhill.
A storm that has become even more severe for Berryhill. He started Drutopia out of his old home in the city center, but was forced to leave.
“Crazy, crazy, well-documented situation that was – it’s crazy to think about that time. But at the height of all the drama last year, an individual from the Dunbar reached out, Aquil Hameed, ”Berryhill said.
The people at Dunbar Lodge heard about the Berryhill situation. Wanting to help out a black-owned business in Tucson, the lodge offered Berryhill a place to settle.
“A secure space where I can come and continue my activity. I was forced out of my house, my business was, if you will, under attack, someone was trying to take it over. I had no options, I had nowhere to go, ”said Berryhill.
And at the right time, he was able to move his business to the corner of the Dunbar Pavilions parking lot.
“It has meant a lot to have the support of the community all around. I started this as a sole proprietorship. I started this business on my own. And until the study that erupted last year, I was, I felt like I was alone. At the right time, timing is everything, the community lifted me up and surrounded me, ”said Berryhill.
And with all that community support, Berryhill has his feet under him and has successfully bounced back.
Its installation in the Dunbar car park is temporary. It will soon be moving its many succulents, gems, and other plants to the adjacent community garden and building its permanent botanical garden and retail space later this month.