I have had many satisfying customer experiences at The Natural Gardener, a nursery located in Austin, TX. John Dromgoole has a thriving business that appears, from the number of customers on a recent Saturday, to successfully compete with the big boxes. Here are five reasons why I enjoy shopping at John’s business even though I have both a Lowe’s and a Home Depot nearer to me.
1. Knowledgeable, patient, friendly staff. I have lots of questions and sometimes I stare at plants or packets of seeds as if they could tell me what to do. Nearly every time I go into a trance, one of John’s staff will walk up and ask if he or she can help. They patiently answer my questions and never try to push products on me. They treat me as if I am their only customer.
2. Large Inventory. They have a huge selection of merchandise compared to Big Boxes. Not just four or five kinds of tomato plants, but probably a dozen, including many heirloom varieties. They carry a wider variety of accessories such as compost bins, yard statuary, and more.
3. Beautiful grounds. It’s a joy to walk through their property. Some areas of their grounds might qualify as works of art.
4. Different methods of delivery. I built a 16X4X1 raised bed for vegetables. I had a choice of buying the soil in bags, bagging it myself, or having it delivered. I chose to have it delivered as that was the cheapest most practical way. I ordered it at 3PM on a Sunday and it was delivered on time the very next morning.
5. A shared philosophy and a sense of humor. Living over the Edwards aquifer has made me aware of the dangers of “over chemicalization.” No more weed and feed fertilizer for me. They don’t carry chemicals that are harmful to the environment. I like that. They also have a sense of humor. As you can see by the picture, they know how to use humor to make an important point rather than beating you over the head with it.
Here’s the Natural Gardener’s mission statement:
Our mission is to create a sustainable business that provides Texas gardeners and landscapers with quality customer service, information and education on well-adapted plants, organic products and techniques.
I’d say they do that quite well. Does your business?