Andrew Gibby, Manager
Nature Nursery & Market, Burley, ID
Nature Nursery & Market’s Success Attributed To Constant Learning, Customer Satisfaction Mindset
Never falling stagnant, the minds behind Nature Nursery & Market in Burley, ID, are constantly learning and finding ways to establish a welcoming atmosphere and memorable experience for customers so that the retail garden center becomes more than just a place to shop.
“Our mission is to create a wonderful experience,” Andrew Gibby, Manager, says. “We’re not just about selling product – we want our customers to have a memorable experience when they’re here so they want to come back again and again. We try really hard to create that atmosphere of serenity, and we’ve had customers come in just to relax and walk around. They love it here.”
Nature Nursery & Market’s selection of high-quality trees, shrubs, perennials, flower bedding plants, and home and garden decor add to customers’ shopping experience and the overall atmosphere of the store.
“We’re known for our selection of plants,” he says. “It’s not what your grandma had in her garden, but we still carry some of those staples. Customers love our tropicals, because no other nursery in the area will carry them.”
In addition to selling a one-of-a-kind mix of plants, the garden retailer offers small-scale landscaping services, such as lawn maintenance, installing flower beds and setting up retaining walls. And Andrew already has his eyes set on expanding these services – and more – in the near future.
“We have some great big things planned – expanding our selection, I can tell you that,” he says. “We currently have one of the greatest varieties of plants in our area that actually succeed in our climate, and we’ll continue growing that. We’re working hard at expanding into the landscape industry, and we plan on becoming a full-service landscape operation.”
Just a couple years ago, Nature Nursery & Market opened a homemade custard and Italian ice stand, Ma’s Custard and Italian Ice, near the parking lot that serves cold treats during the summer. When customers are done shopping or just want to relax surrounded by beautiful plants, they can have a seat under the gazebo by the custard stand.
The retailer has launched a new marketing campaign that partners with local contractors and realtors to give a free consultation and store coupon to homeowners who have just moved to the area. They also purchase an e-mail list of new local homeowners so they can send these incentives and get them familiar with the garden center.
With all these elements geared toward providing an exceptional in-store experience, it’s easy to see the main goal of Nature Nursery & Market is all about customer happiness.
“We really strive for customer satisfaction,” Andrew says. “We bend over backwards to make sure our customers are happy, even if it means cutting into our profits just a little bit. On landscaping jobs, we walk the landscape with the customer after we’re done to make sure they’re happy with it. They get that personal interaction.”
Andrew points to his staff and their specialized training that emphasizes awareness and treating the “guests” as very important people to Nature Nursery & Market’s success.
“I think that’s what really makes us such a great place to shop, because we have such a great staff,” Andrew says. “We, as staff, love coming to work, and if we love coming to work, then the customers can feel the difference.”
Always watching for trends in consumer gardening interests, Andrew has modified and adapted their product mix to reflect these changes.
“We’re constantly learning – we really aim for progression and not getting stagnant,” he says. “We’re always looking for what’s new and exciting. We checked out the demographic of our area, and the average age is 32 years old. We try to cater to all ages of shoppers and find ways to connect with everyone.”
Due to consumers’ renewed interest in houseplants, the retailer expanded its selection of interior plants. They also added bulk seed, versus individual seed packets, so customers can choose the right amount they need for their gardens. “We interact with them and make them feel very proud of their gardens,” Andrew says.
Not only is Nature Nursery & Market the community’s go-to destination for gardening supplies, it’s the local hub for family-friendly events. The annual Purple Shovel Market is not like any other craft fair or farmers market – vendors drive all the way from Sandy, UT, and surrounding towns to showcase their handmade creations. The fun, locally focused atmosphere supports jewelry makers, painters, antique dealers and other craftspeople.
The Southern Idaho Living Expo, conducted in conjunction with the local chamber of commerce, invites all types of local businesses to the garden center every spring, exposing new people to the store’s offerings. Seasonal events, such as Lunch with the Witches and Crepes with the Clauses, are always big hits.
Attending garden center buying shows, such as the IGC Show, and other industry gatherings helps Andrew stay on trend with the latest plant varieties and product innovations.
“We love going to the industry trade shows, and if we see a garden center when we’re out driving, we’ll stop and do our own tour.”
Beyond attending industry events, Andrew looks to his membership in the GCA association to network and learn from other independent garden centers on what’s working and what’s not.
“Being a member of Garden Centers of America has added to our goal of always learning,” he says. “It has helped us improve greatly and get ideas that benefit us and our customers, helping us create the ecosystem that is our nursery.”
Working outdoors and being in the lawn and garden industry was always something that Andrew knew he wanted to do. Growing up, he volunteered to do all the yard work, spending his Saturdays gardening and working in the yard – when most children used their free time to play video games or surf social networks.
When his family’s corporation, Gibby Group, was searching for a property to build their new office, they stumbled upon the nursery that would eventually become Nature Nursery & Market.
“I was talking with my dad, who is the president and owner of the company, about what we should do with the nursery,” Andrew says. “We were walking through the building, and he says, ‘This is too nice of a facility to tear down.’ And I told him I would run it.”
Years later, the independent garden center is thriving, mostly credited to the retailer’s philosophy of focusing on customer satisfaction and constantly learning to improve the business.
He says, “In the Gibby Group, we have a philosophy of surrounding ourselves with people who are smarter than ourselves, because they’ll do a lot better job than we will and they’ll help our business grow.”