New “Rainbow Cupboard” Store Opens in Downtown Hamilton

Riley Rice , Contributing Writer

A new store called Rainbow Cupboard opened in downtown Hamilton on April 21. Located between Oliveri’s Pizzeria and Retrospect, the shop specializes in air plants, as well as other natural products such as sage, incense, macrame and essential oils. 

Rainbow Cupboard is the second storefront opened by the Messett family, who originally started their business on Etsy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Owner Amity Messett recalled how their business has developed in the last year. 

“We decided to begin sharing our love for air plants and pots/holders, and began selling on Etsy and at the Utica Farmers Market,” Messett said.

After starting up their Etsy store in July 2020, the family chose to expand and opened their first shop in October, 2020 in Clinton, N.Y. 

Messett described Rainbow Cupboard as “the epitome of a true family-run business.” 

Messett — the former CEO of a non-profit organization in Pittsburgh, Pa. — and her family moved to Upstate New York around four years ago. The family’s first business was a publishing company, but they have since expanded their ventures with the addition of two other businesses. 

“Rainbow Cupboard is the combination of three companies; Teal Panda Media, our publishing company, Spruce and Panda which deals with natural soap products and other natural cosmetics and Polychrome Panda which is our plant division,” Messett explained.

Air plants, or epiphytes, are non-parasitic plants that grow on a host, such as a rock or tree, according to Messett. These plants pull water and nutrients from the air rather than soil. Rainbow Cupboard partners with ethical nurseries and growers in Guatemala from which they source all of their plants.

The family decided that Hamilton would be the perfect location to open up their second shop following a day trip to visit the Colgate campus and the surrounding areas. They hoped their store would add to the aesthetic of the town.

“Last month, believe it or not, we had never been up here before, and [we] fell in love with the town and thought, if we were ever going to have a second shop, we would want it here,” Messett said. “When people come in, we want them to enjoy the music and we want it to smell good. We just want it to be a happy experience for everyone. The whole goal of our shop is, ‘It’s a Good Day,’ and to make people happy.”  

Senior Catie Morgan recently went to the store after it opened last week and said that she appreciated the feeling of the store. 

“It was really nice. They have a lot of cute and creative items like succulent earrings and dinosaur pots,” Morgan said. “I loved the ambiance there — think groovy and happy.”  

Senior Evelyn Cox also visited Rainbow Cupboard soon after its opening.

“I live downtown nearby the storefront and was immediately drawn to the store’s bright decorations and plants lining the walls,” Cox said. “Upon going in, the two women who founded the store were incredibly kind and showed us all of the species of air plants that they sell, their country of origin and information on the care and handling of each plant.”

Morgan also expressed her enthusiasm about having such a unique store enter the Hamilton community. 

“I love getting new stores downtown because it shakes things up. This store is especially nice because air plants are so easy to take care of, and honestly make a wonderful gift,” Morgan said. “I wish them the best of luck, and I hope they have success.” 

For Messett and her family, this is precisely the kind of relationship they hope to cultivate with both their customers and the community. 

“We like to get involved with our customers and get to know them. We have many regulars who come in every other week or every few weeks,” Messett said. “We were given the opportunity to expand to a more commercial business, but that’s not us.”

Messett expressed her own enthusiasm regarding entering both the Colgate and Hamilton community as a business owner. 

“What really stands out for me with Colgate is the level of engagement the school has with the community,” Messett said. “We’re really excited to learn more about the people who live in the area and the students and the college itself.”

Rainbow Cupboard is located at 12 Lebanon Street.

“The store is so awesome, and the family of owners were so incredibly warm,” Cox said. “I could not recommend this store more, and I hope that the Colgate community engages with them and the little objects of joy that they sell!”