Home Away From Home
I started working at Gali’s Garden Center on September 10th, 2001. It was my 19th birthday and the day before 9/11. And I didn’t know it then, but it was also the very beginning of something I now consider a full-blown appreciation for what it means to be a family-owned business.
Presently, as an editor for Lawn & Garden Retailer, I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t catch myself thinking about my time at that garden center on the corner of Chagrin and Belvoir. It’s hard not to. After spending nearly a decade of my employed life there full time, part time, opening, closing, weekends, holidays it’s a place that became a second home.
It’s where I learned soft gravel is not a towmotor’s friend. Where I became the master of tying Christmas trees to tops of family sedans. Where Crocs were cool (for a brief moment in time). Where faking gardening advice to gardeners was a bad idea. Where the guy with his new pickup truck needed more trunk liners than the woman in the $60,000 Benz. It’s where I earned the nickname Sweet Pete just by throwing out the trash for the equally sweet ladies in the Flower Shop. Where I worked a power saw for the first time. It’s where I learned that taking over as the garden center delivery guy was the cushiest gig in town especially on busy weekends. It’s where I learned having a fifth slice of pizza at lunch is never a good idea. It’s where I learned the strangest customers come out when it rains. And the moment you’re left to watch the shop is the very moment everyone decides to checkout. It’s where I learned that watering plants didn’t make me invisible, but quite the opposite. It’s where making friendships lasting longer than the summer became easy. And most importantly, it’s where I met my beautiful wife for the first time.
Lots of life lessons in all of that and it’s just the tip of the mulch pile. Thanks to Linda Gali and her dad Glenn, I was given the chance to know the craziness and importance of a good spring. I also witnessed, firsthand, owning a small business is not for the faint of heart. It takes patience, bumps and bruises, and a whole lotta love.
Whether you realize it or not, there’s much more to your family business than beautiful plants and bags of soil. It’s a place that will undoubtedly create memories for your staff. It’s a place that will show them the uniquity, hard work and pride behind a locally owned business.