Village Green Home and Garden
“We love to display anything from furniture in a full setting in order for a customer to visualize it in their space to beautiful end caps full of color.”
Village Green opened in 1965. Jessica Salisbury is the CEO and creative director.
What is your garden center known for?
Village Green is a destination shopping experience. We are one of the largest garden centers in the Midwest and proudly grow our annuals, perennials and roses at our stores. At our flagship location, we have one of the largest selections of outdoor furniture in the Midwest, our VG Home indoor furniture showroom and outdoor cooking center! We are a total outdoor lifestyle shop.
How do you go about sourcing the right product mix?
We have companies that we buy from year after year that have proven track records with our customers, and then we also work very hard to find new plant material and merchandise to sell. In order to do this, we have to get out of the store and travel, and we make a commitment to do that. We attend shows year-round, visit other garden centers, cities, gardens and retailers to gain knowledge and ideas, and we pay attention to trends — especially with what is trending in fashion or in Europe.
What are some of your most successful events, and why are they important to the business and the community?
Our Holiday Reveal Party and Customer Appreciation Week are the biggest events we do. We make the event fun by hiring a DJ, have food trucks, host workshops, etc. It has to be made into a big deal and advertised accordingly so customers feel like they cannot miss out. Giving them free food, a cocktail and great sales also really helps!
How is your store successful with merchandising?
Everything needs to look pretty! It is as simple as that. We love to display anything from furniture in a full setting in order for a customer to visualize it in their space to beautiful end caps full of color, or elaborate Christmas displays. The bigger the better. Creating photo ops also really helps!
How do you set your store apart from the big boxes?
Customer service and quality. You can always beat them with those two things. We also always advertise that we are locally owned and operated for over 50 years. I think that makes a difference, too.
Meet the rest of the winners:
Thank you to this year’s Lawn & Garden Retailer Innovator Award sponsors: