We have started to get goodies for the gift shop. We will have a children section with tools, bug viewers, stepping stone kits, paint a birdhouse, etc. we will also have a chair and a shelf of reference books concerning horticulture that the customer can look through. We had kept these behind the store counter before for our use, but I think this will be better. Coffee will be available in the store so you can pick it up and cruise to the gift shop if you want, and do a little research!
Looking through all the trade publications we get you could be intimidated when you see some of the gift shops and coffee bars going in at some of the larger garden centers. Weâ€™ll just take the same ideas, miniaturize it to fit our space and see what comes.
I got a questionnaire from a student at Davis who is majoring in Horticulture. He wanted to know how the retail industry was doing and whether starting a nursery was a viable thing. I was pleased to see someone in the younger generation interested in this business.
I filled out the questionnaire and sent it back. Yes, you can make money in this business if you have patience and a positive attitude! This is agriculture and we share the same concerns as farmers. Not only do you have the retail environment to deal with but the weather becomes the overriding factor in how well your business will do that year. Just like the farmer, we plant our crop in the spring and hope Mother Nature allows the customer to get out in the garden, and our garden center.
These pictures are from our second annual scarecrow contest. After people make them we leave them up for one week so those who drive by can check them out. At night we have a street light on them, which gives the whole scene a surreal feel. This is great fun and I hope it gets bigger and better each year.