5 Minutes With … Ken Lain
A salesperson at heart, Ken Lain has a business management degree from Arizona State University and is president and owner of Watters Garden Center in Prescott, Arizona.
What brought you to the green industry?
The corporate rat race zapped my energy, talents and soul. I was the marketing director for Equifax, selling credit reports to bankers before they issued a new car loan or mortgage, before joining the family garden center. Banking is a cutthroat business. As a garden center owner, I enjoy working with vendors, building teams and selling plants to appreciative gardeners. Introducing the latest new petunia to gardeners is like selling candy to children — so easy and fun! I love going to work every day.
What do you love most about your job?
Every new plant delivery feels like Christmas morning as a kid. My parents wanted my siblings and me to enjoy Christmas together that morning. The tree was magical, with presents piled high, trains running around the tree and bicycles gleaming against the wall. I will always remember those first 11 Christmas mornings. Every new plant delivery from the farm feels like those mornings. Thirty springs later, my heart palpitates in expectation. It’s magical. I never tire of the plant side of our business.
What is your biggest goal for this year?
In business, our goal is strengthening the management team, increasing sales training of the crew and getting back to pre-pandemic inventory controls.
A personal goal is to spend three additional weeks on Lake Powell with a new Yamaha 275 SDX in tow.
If you weren’t in this profession, what would you be doing?
I am a salesperson at heart. Selling jewelry was my profession throughout college; it paid for my business management degree from Arizona State University. I still enjoy sparkly baubles, gold, silver and fine watches.
What’s something that few people know about you?
I am professionally dancing in “Dancing for the Stars” to raise money for the Boys & Girls Club on Aug. 25 and 26. My goal is to raise $100,000 for the kids this year. Dancing is fun.
Favorite plant to grow? Why?
Dahlia. I am a flower grower. Deadheading my flowers each morning while sipping coffee is therapy. Losing track of time, admiring hummingbirds while butterflies float across the gardens. Flower gardens are magical.
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