Posted on October 31, 2022
For years, professional landscaper Matt Horvath had a dream of owning his own garden nursery. When he married Jennie, they shared that dream and it didn’t take long for all the pieces to fall into place. With a lot of hard work and a little intervention from the universe they now own and operate Wimberley Gardens. Matt worked in a nursery for nearly 20 years and managed it for almost a decade, so to finally see his dream come to fruition is a blessing. Together with their two daughters, Matt and Jennie have established themselves as respectable entrepreneurs and a gift to the Wimberley community. Join in and listen to their inspiring story!
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From Dream To Reality: How Matthew & Jennie Horvath Went From Professional Landscapers To Owners Of Wimberley Gardens
This episode’s guests are Matt and Jennie Horvath, owners of Wimberley Gardens, a local nursery, gift shop, and landscaping company offering seasonal treasures and native plants. Thank you so much for joining me.
Thanks for having us.
Why don’t we start off by telling everybody a little bit about who you were before you opened and started Wimberley Gardens?
My journey started when I was thirteen years old. I was looking for a job and my first job was at an independent retail garden center in Northeast Pennsylvania. I must have liked it because seventeen years later is when I retired. I worked there until I was 30 years old. During that time, I went to college and I’d come back on weekends and summers and things like that. Once I was ready to get a big boy job, I took a job in Corporate America. I worked for a consumer electronics company. I was grateful for the opportunity, but there was no passion there whatsoever.
Through that journey though, I did meet my bride and thankfully, I was able to move here in 2014. From there questioning what did I want to do, I knew I didn’t want to stay where I was at. Jennie encouraged me to go back to school. I was into landscape design so I did and I went and got a certification in landscape design. I learned all about native plants and native adapted plants. From there, I opened up my own landscaping company. I got all the equipment like trucks, lawnmowers, and everything we needed. I had a few employees and I rolled with that for a few years.
It was going great and I loved it but it was also a lot of work physically. One day in 2017, Jennie, me, and our middle daughter, Grace, were having dinner over at the new food trucks court in town. I remember we were sitting there eating and we looked over across the street where Miss Mae’s Bar-B-Q was at that time. Through all this debris and overgrown brush, we noticed what looked like hoop houses. We snuck over there. There was a gate open in the back of the property and we walked in. Sure enough, I was like, “This used to be a garden center, I bet. There are pathways, all these structures, and dilapidated buildings.”
From there, Jennie reached out to Steve Dunks, who was the owner of Miss Mae’s Bar-B-Q. The barbecue restaurant was going but the land was not being used. We asked about leasing out the property and timing-wise, it wasn’t a right fit. We put that to bed and she gave Steve her phone number. One day, Jennie got a message from one of her friends that Miss Mae’s was closing.
We got a message from her friend the day after Christmas when Steve announced it. She said, “They’re closing.” We were like, “What’s going on?” Matt called one of our realtor friends to ask him and he was like, “He’s not closing. He’s been here forever.” We said, “He made an announcement.” He said, “Let me call you back.” He called us back and said, “Yes, indeed, he had closed.” He was interested in talking to us, but not right then because it was new and a little raw for him. He had been in his family for a long time. We thought, “It’s going to take 2, 3, or 4 weeks before he reaches out.”
It wasn’t, but a few days later, we were sitting on the couch one evening watching a movie. Steve called and asked if we wanted to sit down and meet. Sure enough, the next day, we sat down for four hours on the front porch of the building and talked. Matt and Steve talked because come to find out, it was Steve’s grandmother’s garden center and Steve helped run it. They had a lot to talk about. I had a Pinterest board with pictures of what if we ever did open a garden center, what it would look like? I’m more visual and design. I loved to garden but didn’t have the plant knowledge.
What did you do before you guys started this business or before you started the conversation with Steve?
I was a hairstylist. I was doing hair and I had a salon out of my house. I call it a salon, but it was a little room where thankfully, I had been blessed with a lot of good clients who became friends. I did hair out of my house because I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t working in a salon and not available for my kids because I wanted to make sure that I was always home after school with them. I was able to take them to school and I could make my own schedule.
Since you had this salon and now you’re talking to Steve about starting a garden center, what were you thinking at the time? Are you scared? Were you excited? Were you thinking, “What’s going to be my role?”
I wasn’t scared because I jump and go. That’s been my personality. After I go, I’m like, “What did I do.” Not in a reckless way but if I feel it, I do it. I knew he wanted to do that. We had driven around Wimberley and he said, “You have to have a good location for a garden center.” That opened up and I thought, “What an opportunity?” I was more inclined when I was looking at it thinking, “I can’t wait to take that down and dress that up. I can’t wait to put a tree here or to clean up and spruce it all up.” That was what I was excited about and he was going to do all the plant stuff.
We got busy and started working on it. I did know what my role would be. I knew that I’d run inside and be checking people out and support him. I didn’t realize that once we did open it organically, I was blessed with design. I can say, “This is where you need to put this,” and it comes easy to me. Helping customers that became friends, I would sketch it out and put plants there. Sometimes I would lay it out in the middle of the garden center and show them how to set it up. We were going out to people’s houses and I’d say, “Grab those and I’ll follow you out there.” I would go out there and place plants for them. I can’t do that anymore.
You don’t have the time anymore but that’s fun and exciting. What were you thinking at that time? Were you scared or excited?
I was a little more reserved and thinking things through like the what-ifs and the fear of failure was running through my mind. At the same time, we had to go. This was the beginning of January and we had to open by spring break because naturally, retail garden centers’ busy season or Super Bowl is spring. As much as I had those reservations, I didn’t focus on it a whole lot because it was like, “You had to go.” I’ve never been afraid of work. The hardest we’ve ever worked in our lives is getting that place ready. We would not have been able to do it without the amazing support of the community, our friends, and our families.
People were showing up with buckets, paint, and rakes. It was unbelievable. The amount of support that we had in getting things prepped was a ton of work but it was also so cool. Backing up a minute on the rebirth, we had a name picked out. We had this vision and in speaking with Steve, we learned that Wimberley Gardens was the name of the garden center twenty years prior. When he told us this, I get goosebumps hearing that. We got in the car and I looked at Jennie and I said, “We got to call this Wimberley Gardens.” She’s like, “I know. We do.”
It’s because he had the name and this was his thing. He and Steve talked that day, and in the end, we were leaving and we’d come to an agreement that we were going to do this. Steve said, “I never asked you. What do you do?” I said, “I’m a hairstylist.” His eyes welled up with tears and he said, “Miss Mae, my grandmother, was a hairstylist who left doing hair to open Wimberley Gardens. I think she was in the little barn here in the square. You have to do this. This is what you’re supposed to do. I feel like you guys were brought to me and both.” It was amazing. It went full circle.
You told me that and I got chills when you said it. You said it again and I got chills again. You have no choice.
No, we didn’t. We didn’t have a business plan or any money, but we did have the vision, work ethic, and support from everyone around us. Those things drove us. It was amazing how things fell into place. We didn’t know who we were going to buy our products from, our suppliers, and how’s that all going to work out. People came into our lives who pointed us in this direction or gave us this recommendation. It was unbelievable how that all worked out.We didn't have a business plan or any money, but we did have the vision, work ethic, and support from everyone around us. Click To Tweet
I have a personal question. You said that you didn’t have the financial plan and support to get it started. That’s one of the big blockers for anybody starting a business. You’re successful now so you can open up and say, “This is how we did it.” Did you put it on a credit card? Did you get a line of credit? How did you go about getting it because it’s a lot of products that you guys had to get?
We immediately went and applied with local bank care and they declined. I would too because it’s a first-time business and they want to see that you’ve been in business for a couple of years, which is crazy. They said to no and I know he wanted to say yes. Ultimately, I don’t think he was the one that could make that decision. Maybe he could. Thank God, we had good credits. We looked for 0% interest and maxed them out and we paid it off within that first year.
Every dollar we made was reinvested into the business.
We lived like peasants that first year. We didn’t have any money. We weren’t spending anything extra.
Were the girls still excited about the business even though the finances had pulled back?
I think so. I don’t think they were affected at all.
We’ll pause and say they have three girls who at that time were older teenagers.
18, 15, and 12.
We opened on our eighteen-year-olds. Her birthday got neglected.
We did make up for it.
They were there every day helping us.
They were our first employees because we were so blessed. People are holding onto the chain link fence saying, “What are you guys doing here? What are you guys going to put here? What’s going on?” When they found out, they were like, “When are you going to open? Are you going to be open by spring?” We were busy from day one. We thought it was going to be Matt and I running it and the girls coming in after school to help and maybe on the weekends. No, wrong. It was like gangbusters. Still, I can’t get over it. I don’t know a whole lot of businesses that open up like that. We are busy right away. The community was amazing.
I remember too on our first order, you have to have all these minimum purchases in order to get things delivered and we weren’t even close to that. Jennie and I went down to one of our growers and we filled up the back of her car with fifteen hanging baskets. That’s all we could start with and we brought them back.
That was such a big deal because every bit of our money was going into tables and different things that we needed to put in place. We didn’t have money to buy plants, but we made it work. We brought a little bit and immediately put it back in. It was quite something of how busy and pulling in. Those hanging baskets sold like that and I remember trying to figure out pricing and Matt had this whole formula. I’m like, “I don’t know if we can price it like that.” Because you want it to sell so you’re like, “I’ll do it a little bit lower.” He’s like, “No.”
The whole retail part of it was a little bit of a learning curve. We didn’t have time to learn. I was calling on friends. A lot of my friends are teachers and they were some of our first employees that were coming in after school and helping run the registers on the weekends and they loved it. I just thought they were helping. They’re like, “No, I love doing this.” It was fun. It was crazy though.
I remember the day before we opened, we still hadn’t had our cash register set up and that’s a big deal. We were there until 3:00 in the morning trying to figure out the tax on our cash register, but we got it. It was a whirlwind. It was crazy thinking back. It was a lot.
Once you got past that big blurry busy time, how did you figure out or have you figured out who does what and what your roles are as a husband and wife team running this business that has multiple different arms and legs?
One of our biggest challenges initially was what’s my role, what’s her role, and how do we work together. There were times when those roles were unclear and we were stepping on each other’s boundaries may be at times. What’s cool is that we started out as a retail garden center but how the store organically transformed into a home decor and gift shop, the roles were then more obvious to me. Jennie’s passion and what she’s so good at is design, displaying, decorations, and things like that. As we were selling more and more plants, we were able to expand our store. That’s what transpired and took over the inside. I’ll let Jennie speak to that a little bit more.
We didn’t have much of an inside. We had to store off at the side door and there wasn’t anything in the back. We partitioned it off, put plants there and all the fertilizers were upfront with where some of the pottery is now. There was one table and then I had some stuff that was in storage. I’m a thrift store person on side of the road. I’m like, “I can make that pretty. I can redo that.” I had a lot of things like that and stuff at home from plants. I brought it in to decorate and to make it look a little homey or a little more filled out. I had a couple of friends help me do that as well.
Those things started selling. People were wanting to buy it. they’re like, “What is this wall decor? Can I take it?” “Yes.” It grew and then we needed to get some pottery in. I remember that first order, I was sweating because it was expensive and it sold right away so then we’re reordering. What happened is I realized that I have a hard time saying no or hurting people’s feelings. I had a couple of people come in and show me different pots and different things. They were like, “These sell great in this garden center and some of the more popular ones in Austin.” You’re like, “I’m going to bring it in.” Even though I don’t like it, I couldn’t sell it.
You have to believe in what you’re selling.
If I like it, I buy it. That was the first year and a half that I did that. I’m like, “Why am I buying things?” It’s because I can’t even go, “This is a great pot.” I’d be lying and now I’m staying more true to myself and what I like.
It’s working. It’s beautiful in there. How do you not take it all home and redecorate your place every time, every day?
I don’t because I’m redecorating the store. We took things down in our house as the trends have changed. We’re going to work on it, but I got it going again. It’s pretty at my house because I’m decorating all day at the store. I feel like that’s another home. One time, I was like, “Why are you so anxious? Why are you nervous and running around trying to get all this stuff ready?” I said, “Because it finally dawned on me.” We had this conversation so many times. It was not even a fight, but like, “Calm down,” he would say.
I feel like I’m inviting friends over every single day and that’s a representation of me and Matt. I want it to be perfect and I realize it doesn’t have to be perfect. We’re working on that. I’m working on it not being perfect and letting things go. People don’t care if this display is set to perfection and I’m going to work on a little bit more of the home stuff. Still obviously, the store, but let go a little bit so it doesn’t take such a big toll.
It does. When people are coming there every day, it sounds like you’re walking into Target. You’re walking into a small business and it’s a reflection of you. You want it to be clean, tidy, and welcoming. My biggest thing is for everyone to feel welcome when they walk in. Our biggest thing is that they come in. Matt is funny because if I hear somebody say, “It just feels good in here.” I’m like, “I don’t care if you buy anything.” I want them to feel good, welcomed, comfortable, and at peace.
I always do. I never want to leave and I always want to leave with more than what my budget allows. I’m like, “What did I just do? I don’t have a garden store. I can’t justify the credit card bill.”
That’s my most important thing and Matt’s important thing too. We want our staff to be friendly, but we want it to be organic. We don’t want them saying hello to say hello. We want to instill in them that it’s important because they are on the front line too. If they can develop a relationship with people, that’s what it’s about. It’s such a neat community that we live in. Some of the people that work here don’t even live here. They come in for maybe Joplin or Kyle. They’re like, “It’s such a neat community.” It’s a beautiful community because everybody is friendly and a lot of people have been here for a long time. Even if you haven’t been here for a long time, I feel like we’re so welcoming.
Now that you have been doing this for a little while, you’ve mentioned that you’re finally in a place where you have a staff that you can rely on. How did you get to that point where you have a solid staff and how does that change things for you as the owners?
It changes things dramatically. We get there by trial and error. You are going to go through employees and you never know who’s going to show up at your business to apply. Until you get them on the floor and working, you don’t know how it’s going to work out. We are so fortunate right now. We’ve probably got the strongest team that we’ve ever had. Everybody there is super friendly, high energy, and very knowledgeable. Those things are huge. Customers know that they can come in and they’re going to get honest answers. I always tell our team, “It’s not about the sale. It’s about setting customers up for success because that’s ultimately what our goal is.”It's not about the sale. It's about setting customers up for success because that's ultimately what our goal is. Click To Tweet
Our staff has allowed us to branch out. Jennie was meeting with one of our customers and they said something that stuck out. They said, “You’ve got a growing, not going,” and it made sense because we’ve been going eight days a week. That stuck out to me. Having a strong staff and a front line that allows us to do things on the back end to grow the business, reaching out to other suppliers, or thinking about how different displays and how they grow are going to take place over the next few years. To me, that’s been the biggest benefit of having such a strong staff.
We can go and maybe start an online store. There are so many things. We didn’t even have time to think about offering classes. We talked about it and we’re at home and we’re like, “We should do these classes and this class but we would have to do it.” We’re trying to figure out the time and the next day, you go to put a plan in place and you get pulled from the back room like, “Jennie, we have a question out here.” It’s not enough time in the day. Those kinds of things now I think we’re able to do. We’re starting free classes to come in and be educated.
We have Tomato Dave who’s amazing at teaching a gardening class. We’re coming up with a few more classes, but there are a lot of things that we want to do that we haven’t been able to do. They’re allowing us to do that because they’re taking the reins and going with it. It’s not that we don’t want to be in the store because we do, but we want to be able to do these other things and be in the store readily available. One of our favorite things is talking, community, and connection.
It’s relationship building. My favorite part is speaking to customers, becoming very friendly, and educating them on gardening. That, to me, by far is the most rewarding part.
We have people that have moved away even and come back and have stayed with us. They have had their first baby. We’ve met some really neat people and developed a relationship and knowing their kids. We’re like, “I can’t believe how big they are. You were pregnant when I first started.” There are all these stories. It’s fun. Not that I don’t want it to be big, but I always want it to be we’re there. I want to be there every single day if I had the energy, but when I’m there, I want to be present and talk to people. I’m happy to be there.
You mentioned the anxiety you would carry around trying to make everything perfect. Being a husband and wife team with a small business, you’re blessed to have this very successful business, but it’s also very busy. You have these 3 daughters at home or 2 moved away. Things are changing but how do you balance your personal life with your work life and your health?
It hasn’t. There’s been no balance, to be honest. I believe that with anybody who starts a new business, you’re just going. We’re going for a family dinner and it’s probably me more than Matt because my wheels always spin about what I can do next, how I can build this, how we can do this and grow. I’ll start talking and our girls are like, “You’re always talking about work,” and it’s right. It’s sad that we’re trying to be a little bit more present and not be talking about it that being our staple conversation at every dinner.
The thing is that Matt and I aren’t talking throughout the day. We’re passing each other and going. We’re catching up on our work day like you go to work and your husband goes somewhere else and you’re talking about it. That’s what we’re doing. There are things that have happened that he sits down at 6:00 and tells me. I’m like, “What? You didn’t tell me that.” I said, “When did that happen?” He’s like, “At 10:00 in the morning.” I’m like, “All day you never told me that happened.”
We had a celebrity come in one time and both of us looked at each other. This was our first year. It wasn’t until two days later that we were at dinner that we said, “We never talked about that.” There hasn’t been a balance so I’m trying to find a little bit more of a balance because the stress and the not balance have affected my health.
It’s us being very intentional. Now that we have this team in place and we’re confident that everything is fine, it’s us being very intentional and trying to find that balance. Scheduling days off and times when we don’t talk about anything but the business. I feel like we’re getting there. We’ve taken these steps over the past few months. Things are starting. Projects at our house have gotten so neglected over the past few years and it’s stressful.
It causes a lot of anxiety. I come home and I’m like, “I got to do that,” and there’s no time. With the way things are now, I feel like we’re making steps in the right direction and being intentional. We sat down and we had coffee on the couch. No phones and no electronics. We talked and I think that was good for us.
I was like, “I’m so proud of myself. I did not talk about work at all.” I had to refrain from going in and getting my notepad because I will sit on the couch while everybody was watching a show. I am not a big TV watcher at all. I’ll draw stuff out or write and I’m like, “I’m not doing it. I’m staying present with everyone.” I’m the one that’s not finding the balance. We’re both workers, but he’ll work and then he can come home. He can probably relax a little bit more than I can. I know that it’s spinning in his head and he’s thinking about different things he has to do, but he doesn’t verbalize it. I verbalize everything. I’m like, “We have to do this.” Sometimes, it gets overwhelming and I realize to do that first next thing.
I think some of that hit home. In 2021, we were at dinner. We were naturally talking about the business and our youngest Maggie is like, “Can we not talk about the garden center?” Every time we go on vacation and they want to go horseback riding, we’re like, “Let’s stop at this garden center and check it out.” When she said that, it hit home a little bit for me.
Was it like, “What do we talk about then?”
It’s coming back to that. That’s all we talk about if we go on date nights. We have to be more intentional about not talking about it. This is our year to turn this around in terms of finding a healthy balance.
How do you do that? How have you started to try to find the intention? Do you wake up and say, “This is my intention?” Is there a process or are you only trying to be mindful of it?
I’m trying to be mindful of it. I’m an early bird so I’m up super early. I have this time to myself. I can use that however I want whether I want to meditate, write my intentions, my gratitude, look at Pinterest, or some design stuff. Now that Matt is waking up earlier, I’m like, “Wait.” I had my hour before he got up, but he did his thing. I did my thing. I did all my writing and not work-related at all. We started talking about different things and then it led to work stuff.
I said the main things that I wanted to get done first thing before we came over here. We were like, “We’re out of time.” We had to go run and get ready. I’m trying to be mindful of it. It’s the power of habit. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years. It’s hard to put the brakes on and re-evaluate because you’re automatic. If you want to talk about work, something will come to my mind. I want to pick up my tablet and start writing. I have probably 25 notebooks throughout our store and home and I can never find where I drew something because it’s whatever notepad. If something ever happens to me, they’re going to find sketches everywhere in every notebook or note that I wrote. It’s funny but visually, I have to write it down.
Thank you for sharing all that because it’s one of the things that a lot of people don’t realize. It happens mostly with retail business because it is so busy where you have so much face time with your customer and then you also have to run the store. You also have to do your bookkeeping and all the different things like ordering the products. Knowing you have 30 years of previous experience working at the landscape shop but as you said, what’s native here is very different to what’s native in Pennsylvania.
There’s a lot of education and the climate is changing. There are different things to continually learn but as a customer or someone who hasn’t run their own business, a business has phases of life like people or animals. During the first year of an infant, there’s so much happening. They go from not knowing anything to learning how to walk. It’s the same thing with running a business. What you described was now that you know how to walk, it’s not as hard to walk, but you’re in that habit of trying to learn and go as quickly as you can and do all the things. For a few years, you’ve been going and blowing. Have you had the opportunity to look back and say, “We did that. We’ve done that and We’re doing it?”
In 2022, I’m like, “I can believe it, but I can’t believe that we’re here.” It went so fast and sometimes, I feel like an employee because I do the same things that they do but I was like, “We own it.” Just because we own the property now, we own the business. Somebody said this and I thought I’d follow through with it and I had a hard time, but the business owned us for a while. We’re trying to learn to own the business and not let it own us.
The other thing too was those COVID years brought challenges to everybody. For us, we didn’t know what was going to happen when COVID first started but we come to find out that people were staying home. With that, people were like, “Let’s do some home projects, landscaping, and gardening.” We were so busy during that time because fortunately, we were deemed essential so we were able to stay open.
Looking back at that time, that was a complete whirlwind. Getting back to your question. Now is the first time where I’m sitting back and being like, “This is pretty cool. I remember what it looked like day one and year one and where it is now.” I’m always thinking, “I can’t wait to see this place in five years.” Jennie’s got just one idea, but I know we’ve got some cool ideas and projects in the works. On one of her notebooks, now is the first time that I’m able to soak it all in.
It is because we didn’t know. We thought we were going to be shut down. Once we were deemed essential, we thought, “Nobody is going to come.” Everybody came. They were coming from all over like Austin. It was crazy. We were checking out on the front porch and there were lines in the parking lot. The police were coming by to make sure we didn’t have too many people outside even in the garden center. We had people watch standing at the gate letting 6 to 10 people in at a time. We went from this little old rinky-dink cash register to our phones being tied up all day because we are doing pickup orders and nothing was streamlined.
Half of our staff left because they didn’t want to work during COVID. They were nervous, which I understand but we were left working. COVID hit us differently, but we didn’t feel stuck at home and being at home with our family and working from home. It was to go, sleep, eat, sleep, get back up and do it all over again. In 2022, we are trying to figure it out.
It’s funny because our business depends on climate and weather too. It’s been interesting with the lack of rain and the severe drought that we’re in. Fortunately, we’re such huge advocates of native and native-adapted plants. The plants don’t necessarily need all this water but I think that’s certainly been a challenge for us.
We were put under restrictions throughout the city. We were able to water from 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM and then from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM. I think we watered once in the evening. It was a learning curve for us as well because we realized that they didn’t need as much water. Even when it’s super hot like that, they did just fine. That was a blessing for us that we got to learn that. I told Matt it was neat because we thought he and I would be down there every night from 7:00 to 10:00 watering.
One time, he went down there but what we did is we had Whitney, one of our team, made a suggestion. We had these troughs and she says, “Put a little bit of water in there, four inches of water and throughout the day, some of the four-inch annuals, perennials, and the six packs, throw them in there. They can get water by soaking in there and that was huge. Now, we can do that every year. We learned a lot through that.
Also, purchasing more of the plants that don’t need it as much. You know what to recommend during these harder drought years.
I was brainstorming. I’m like, “If this continues, our products are going to change. They’re going to shift.” Naturally, I’m looking at different suppliers. You always had to be thinking six months ahead, which was definitely a challenge with not having any of that experience before in terms of ordering and all of that. Christmas trees are ordered in June. You’re sitting in your office with sweat pouring down your face and ordering Christmas trees. It’s weird. I was thinking about how things may need to shift moving forward depending on the weather.
It’s outside of your control. How has your business lived up to the vision that you had when you looked over at the building and said, “We’re going to own that building?”
I think that it’s organically started redoing everything. Now, I want to redo the outside of the store again because when we first opened, one of our good friends came over and sprayed the whole building in 1.5 or 2 hours but now I’m ready to spruce it up a little bit more. If I had it in my way, I’d have little cottages all over the property with little areas or buildings to shop in but it’s coming along.
I would love to have Wimberley Gardens Home and Patio. That’s something that we’re looking into. Putting another building on there. We’re trying to figure out how that all looks on the property because it’s hard once you see it. You’ve been going there every day for years now and trying to look at it differently having the seed and supply. You are brainstorming and being able to fine-tune it.
One of my favorite things is looking back through old pictures. We have so many pictures before we even opened. Once you see that, you’re like, “Wow.”
It’s completely transformed because you have done a lot of work.
That’s when it hits home for me. I am like, “I remember we used to have that dilapidated building over there,” or whatever.
There used to be a food line up there. I don’t know if you ever saw it. Where we check out right now, where our register is, and then the wall that the seeds are on and those posts down there, that was the food line. That’s where Steve had all his food and served the food. We took that down and that was our office. We had this little desk that was back there. We sat back there and worked. When a customer would come in, we’d get up and go help them.
You mentioned that it just organically happens. We think of these ideas and execute them to the best of our ability. We always utilize the down season. January is our time to do our big projects. We’ve already got a checklist of projects that we are going to be doing in 2022. It’s so cool just to see the transformation.
What advice would you have for someone who has a passion and is thinking about starting their own business?
You mentioned passion. You have to have passion no matter what. You have to be willing to put everything into it. You cannot be outworked by anybody else. In my small experience, you have to put everything into it and be smart. My old boss told me, “Work smart, not hard.” Know that you never know what the day is going to bring. Something I never even considered or thought about was managing people. That’s probably been one of my biggest struggles because it’s not only about you.You have to have passion no matter what. You have to be willing to put everything into it. You cannot be outworked by anybody else. Click To Tweet
When you open up retail, you’re going to have employees and everybody has got everything and they bring it all to one table. You got to manage that. That’s a challenge for me for sure. It’s something that I’m focusing on now, but I think you have to be smart, have a drive, work ethic, and passion.
You have to have a good team. If they’re not, you have to not be emotionally involved and wish them well. You have to have a good fit because that’s a representation of who you are and being intentional with your day. I was listening to a podcast and they were talking about being intentional. Once you step foot into that establishment, you’re on. As the owner, you’re at everybody’s beck and call because they’re asking you a million questions, which is great, but you’ve got to be intentional with getting whatever you need to get done and have on your list before you step in.
One thing that I’m trying to learn is to get in there. I like going early so I could be down there at 5:00 or 5 30 and work until 8:00 and then go home and get ready for the day because then I’m in my zone. I can reduce stuff. It makes for a long day, but I’m much happier when I’m able to get everything set the way I want. Not every day, but if I can get those things out of the way that is super important to me and then start my day at the store. Be mindful in prioritizing and prioritizing what’s most important. Know that you’re going to be working your tail off and what it takes.
Thank you guys so much for everything that you shared with us.
Thanks for having us.
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