Inahales features various house plants available for purchase and a matcha...

Inahales features various house plants available for purchase and a matcha bar in St. James. Credit: Ina Pollifrone-Visich

Many people like spending their downtime relaxing around the things or people they like best — that’s the idea behind a new plant lounge and boutique that opened early August in St. James by the owner of Wading River's North Fork Plant Co.

Called Inhales — a combination of the two partners’ names, Ina Pollifrone-Visich and Halee Ruggiero — the shop is a place where plant lovers can kick back in an environment surrounded by the objects of their affection and then buy some of their favorites.

A plant lounge is "kind of like a coffee shop, only cooler,” Pollifrone-Visich, 33, of Baiting Hollow, explains. “Customers can sip a matcha latte, chai tea or fresh organic mint tea, and if one or two plants catch their eye, they can take them home.” Yoga classes are held on-site as well.

“Houseplants made a huge comeback during the pandemic because everyone was staying home and it became important for people to create a space for themselves that they enjoyed being in,” Pollifrone-Visich says. “Also, wellness and health became more important.” She adds, “My personal favorite plant that we carry and people absolutely love are Calathea varieties. They all have very distinct prints on the foliage that looks like someone hand painted them.”

In addition to plants, crystals and other merchandise are sold in the plant lounge where visitors can purchase beverages, light snacks and pastries. Beer, wine and charcuterie treats will be added soon. The separate yoga studio is used for hot yoga, barre classes, yoga teacher training and yoga retreats. Classes start at $25. 

“We would like the space to feel like a welcoming and inclusive home for all, where a wellness community can be built,” Ruggiero, a 30-year-old Port Jefferson resident, says.

Plant prices vary from $10 to $100 and custom plant arrangements are offered. 

Inhales is located at 529 Lake Ave., St. James. The plant lounge is open Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; 631-729-0436,