2012 Revolutionary 100 Garden Center: The Farmer’s Daughter

2012 Revolutionary 100 Garden Center: The Farmer's Daughter

Owner: Sarah Partyka

City/Town: Wakefield, R.I.

Company Website: TheFarmersDaughterRI.com

Sales Range: Less Than $999,999

Years In Business: 13

Number Of Locations: 1

Tell us how you use social media to better serve your customers.

We offer selected discounts throughout the year to customers who have liked us on Facebook and extensively utilize Facebook to announce special events, inform customers of seasonal changes, indicate start dates for departmental sales and herald the arrival of new stock. Facebook has also proved us a valuable medium in which we can further our focus on customer education, through responses to questions regarding plant and insect identification, planting tips, and choosing plants for specified conditions. Emails through Facebook, as well as through the email address on our website, allow us to stay in much closer contact with our customers – especially important as we have eliminated our snail mail (go green!) mailing list to cut down on paper usage.

Using the photo feature of Facebook, we can visually share the everchanging landscape of the Farmer’s Daughter, whether it be newly ripened heirloom tomatoes at our vegetable stand or our tropical border garden in full bloom.

Tell us how you work with other local businesses on customer outreach.

Each December for the last two years, we have teamed up with two local clothing boutiques to host a Ladies Night Fashion Show, with the proceeds going to benefit The Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County. In addition to supporting a worthy cause, the cross-promotion of the event introduces each of our bnusinesses to an ever expanding customer base.

We collaborate with a select number of local businesses, and unstall plantings at their sites, including Vanderbilt Hall and a beautiful display garden about one mile from our location. A well conceived and elegantly maintained off-site garden is very often our best advertising.

We also donate any extra veggies we have to our local food bank. At Christmas we donate our time and creativity by decorating wreaths for Lucy’s Hearth a local women’s shelter.

What makes your garden center Revolutionary?

We have established ourselves as a destination garden center, striving to provide a comfortable, inspirational and transformative atmosphere for the visitors who walk our greenhouses, gardens and grounds. Since our inception, we have grown exponentially, with a constant push toward creating new outdoor spaces for our own and our customers’ ideas to inhabit.

Since 2005, we have added a new greenhouse every year, expanding to our current six retail greenhouses, nine growing houses, and our butterfly habitat greenhouse, The Garden of Wings. Each of these greenhouses occupies a specific niche, from our coleus greenhouse (housing over 100 varieties for customers to choose from) to our organic herb greenhouse (anchored by The Potting Shed, and outbuilding that supplies products dedicated to sustainable and earth friendly growing) to our tomato growing greenhouse (providing our veggie stand with high quality produce and being responsible land stuards, our produce is grown organically and sustainably summer thru fall). We offer pick your own berries and cut our own christmas trees to encourage family outings and traditons, in addition we also offer a pot recycling program.

We constantly seek to provide our customers with unique and unusual plant material, as well as traditional favorites, and this has earned us Rhode Island Monthly magazine’s “Best Garden Center” award for the past three years as well as 1st place at The Newport Flower Show for the past three years.

Each department has its own role in furnishing a unique plant experience for each customer; the annual department stocks exotic, hard-to-find tropicals; the perennial department’s native woodland section highlights indigenous eastern U.S. plants; and the nursery department regularly stocks native trees and shrubs, deer-resistant plants and seashore picks. But we come together as an entire staff to prepare for special events or community outreach; the season starts with an Easter Egg Hunt open to the community, our premiere event for 2011 was Feast in the Field, an elegant dinner to raise money for

The Children’s Garden Network which focus on providing a garden at every school. Our Harvest Festival, which encompasses three weekends in September and October, provides a lively atmosphere for visitors to celebrate the joys and bounties of autumn. We make weekly produce donations to The Johnnycake Center and Welcome House, a nearby shelter.

We are always seeking new ways to engage both the experienced and novice gardener, with special events like our Container Parties (where participants learn to create a seasonal planter, accompanied by wine and cheese), spring talks and walks on herb and perennial gardening, we also offer wreath making classes in the winter. Our very youngest gardeners are captivated by the inhabitants of The Garden of Wings Butterfly Pavillion along with our miniature horses and donkeys, which are featured in butterfly birthday parties, educational school visits and fall hayrides.

All of our staff is constantly striving for the meticulous maintenance of our plants and the grounds. The discerning eye of our owner and creative director bring to fruition a rotating sequence of display props, giving the vary areas of the garden center a stylized feel-they regularly scour local antique shows for new pieces every year, and select pieces that are no longer needed are sold at our Barn Sale, moving inventory during an otherwise slow period. Local artists often provide sculptures to display throughout the grounds, and our display gardens are designed to give the visitor fuel for their imagination. Our display gardens incorporate elements of annuals, perennials and tree and shrub plantings that exhibit pairings of the plants we stock. This is especially evident in the newly created Wedding Garden, which will be available to host special events beginning in 2012.

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