Know Your Neighbors: Maria Onesto Moran of Green Home Experts

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Today we’re catching up with Maria Onesto Moran, owner of Oak Park’s Green Home Experts. In February, Green Home Experts celebrated their 7th birthday and is an area favorite for finding eco-friendly alternatives for all your home needs. Whether you are looking to make small ‘green’ changes to your life, buy a unique gift, take a class or remodel your home with green building supplies, Green Home Experts can help you do it.

When not working on her growing business or getting involved with the community (organizing/hosting the annual Earth Fest is just one example!) Maria is spending time with her growing family. Read on to learn more about Maria, her inspiration for Green Home Experts and what she would do with three extra hours a day.

Around Oak Park
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What are you doing when not at work/working on your business?

Maria Onesto Moran
I’m a mom to 4 and 2-year-old boys and #3 is coming in March. If I’m not working at GHE, I’m doing my other job as Mom. There’s not much more time for anything else!

AOP
What does a perfect day in the neighborhood look like for you? Do you live in the area?

Maria
I’d start in the morning with coffee and breakfast at George’s. Then head over to GHE in May when the garden center is bustling. Enjoy dinner at Maya and a movie at the Lake Theater. I’ve lived in Brookfield for the past 2 years. Before that, we lived in Forest Park.

AOP
How did your interest in green living start?

Maria
It’s something my parents instilled in me as a child. Things like gardening, recycling, water and energy conservation were just a part of our lives.

AOP
Why is living green (and helping others do so) important to you?

Maria
Green living is important to me because it’s a matter of caring for ourselves and our families. Even if someone’s not a tree hugger who’s worried about the polar bears, they might be into the green thing because they care about keeping toxins out of their home.

AOP
When did you open your own business? What went into that decision?

Maria
I started GHE in 2007 and opened originally in Southtown in 2008. Product research, a business plan, financing and locating a space all had to happen before opening.

AOP
Why did you choose Oak Park?

Maria
We moved from the West Loop to the Oak Park area in order to open GHE. And I chose Oak Park because it’s known as a sustainably-minded village. I tell people Oak Park is the Berkely, CA of the Midwest.

AOP
What has been the most surprising thing about being a business owner? The most fun? The hardest?

Maria
• Most surprising- How satisfying it is!
• Most fun- The garden center. Absolutely the garden center in May. It is crazy busy, people are so happy to come out of their winter hibernation and to get digging in the dirt. I love being part of that time.
• The hardest- It’s all hard! But I think the hardest thing is resilience. Finding ways to keep going, keep growing and to never give up.

AOP
What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when starting out? And what is the best advice you were given?

Maria
I was lucky to have a lot of support, encouragement and resources in the beginning. I really wish someone had told me the housing market and stock market would crash shortly after I opened! That made it rough for a few years. The best advice I’ve been given is to trust my gut and, as Dori from Finding Nemo says, “Just keep swimming.”

AOP
What does a typical day look like for you?

Maria
Wake up at 6:30. Get my boys fed, dressed and to school. Get to GHE at 8:30. Do admin stuff like payroll, scheduling, accounting, etc. before we open at 10 a.m. Debrief and make a plan with my employee for the day. Then work on sales orders, customer service, purchase orders, marketing, etc. Possibly a meeting either with my marketing consultant or business development manager. Then off to get my boys at 4 p.m. I’ll eventually put them to bed and then I’m back to work for an hour or two!

AOP
If you were magically given three more hours a day, what would you do with them?

Maria
If I had three more hours in a day, I’d eat lunch somewhere other than my desk and get a massage 🙂

AOP
What is the most common question people have when they come into the shop or contact you?

Maria
We get a lot of questions that are all over the place. But probably the most common question is about price points about our remodeling products. Some people worry the products are out of their budgets, but we can usually find the right fit for them.

AOP
What is the easiest way for someone to start living a more green lifestyle?

Maria
I think that depends on one’s lifestyle and priorities. For some people, energy is more important; for others its water conservation or waste reduction. So find what you care about the most and take small steps.

AOP
Anything else you want to tell us?

Maria
Things are always changing at GHE. We’re always open to product suggestions too–that’s actually how we bring in a lot of new products. So if it’s been a while since you’ve been in the shop, pop over and see what’s changed.


For more information or to get in touch with Maria, visit:

Green Home Experts
811 South Boulevard
Oak Park, IL 60302
Phone: (708) 660-1443
gogreen@ghexperts.com
http://ghexperts.com/
Green Home Experts on Facebook
Green Home Experts on Pintrest
Twitter: @ghexperts

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Maria has been a great resource for all my crazy gardening questions. I have purchased the bulk of my plants from her garden center in the last few years, as she has unusual plant. I am NEVER disappointed in the quality or the beauty! She is always more than helpful, and encouraging! Thanks Maria!

  2. Well done, Maria! I love refilling all of my cleaning products at your store, and we’re delighted with the Marmoleum floors you helped us find and purchase! Keep up the good work, we’re so glad you’re in our “Berkeley of the Midwest.”

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