Young People Revolutionize The Garden Center Business

Ones To Watch

Rex Andersen

Retail Operation: Town & Country Gardens

Title: General Manager

Age: 36

Background: “I’ve been in nursery management since 1995. I Served 10 years on the Board of Directors for the Idaho Nursery & Landscape Association. I’m a master gardener and am currently serving on Brigham Young University Idaho’s Horticultural Advisory Committee.”

Favorite Part Of Retail: “My favorite part of retail is the marketing and advertising.”

Best Idea At The Garden Center: “I rarely come up with a good idea by myself. Thank goodness the staff here at the garden center is full of great ideas! One of the things we are doing right now is an area that we put in our e-newsletter featuring photos from local gardeners. Customers send in their photos, and we feature one or two in all of our newsletters. The response from our customers has been amazing! We get lots of photos submitted, plus we feel that more people are paying attention to our newsletter to see what their neighbors are doing. We also mail a $10 gift card to the customers who submit a photo that we use in our newsletter.”

Future Goals In The Industry: “I think the future is bright in our industry. I’m definitely excited to be part of an industry in which I am surrounded by such great people. I’m hoping that I can continue to work with state or even national nursery and garden center trade associations. These associations bring a lot of professionalism to what we do. Closer to home, I’d like to continue to do what I can to educate the general public on the joys and satisfaction of gardening.”

Hobbies Outside Of Retail: “My favorite pastime is gardening in my own yard. I also enjoy helping out in the local youth hockey program.”


Stephen Barlow

Retail Operation: Barlow Flower Farm

Title: General Manager

Age: 29

Background: “My start in the garden center industry goes back 22 years ago when my parents purchased Barlow Flower Farm. I would help with anything from assisting customers to their cars to working in the production greenhouses. I went on to receive a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. After graduation, I began working full- time at the garden center. While working, I went back to school and received an MBA. Upon graduation, I took over the general manger responsibilities at Barlow’s.”

Favorite Part Of Retail: “Working with the customers! I enjoy getting them excited about working in their yards. It is always fun to excite customers about the rewarding benefits of working in the garden.”

Best Idea At The Garden Center: “Redesigning the layout and parking lot in 2005. It was a huge task, but the payback has been great.”

Future Goals In The Industry: “We as an industry need to be more ecologically friendly … As a step in this direction, Barlow’s is starting a Go Green campaign for next spring using biodegradable pots and other eco-friendly processes.

Hobbies Outside Of Retail: “Spending time with my wife and two dogs, surfing, snowboarding, hiking and other outdoor activities.”

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