ROSEBURG, Ore. — After 43 years as a small business owner,
Scott Lander has learned a key to continued success is the ability to change with the times.
Lander and his wife, Devennie, have owned and operated Young’s Garden Center in Roseburg since Jan. 1, 1977. The business was about 20 years old and had three previous owners before the couple purchased it.
The Landers and their business that features a 17,000-square-foot nursery area and an adjoining store have endured through construction and timber slowdowns and subsequent unemployment of workers in those industries. Lander learned to order plants and other products accordingly during those periods. Weather, especially in March and April, can also affect the nursery business.
While plants and shrubs have always been their core products, the Landers have added and subtracted other garden and yard products over the years. They also had fish, birds and appropriate supplies many years ago when their business name was Young’s Garden & Pets.
The addition of son Daniel in 2013 and son Toby in 2015 to the management and working staff also brought new ideas to the business.
“When you have a business for a long time, the tendency is to say we’ve already tried that,” Scott Lander said. “It didn’t work last time, so we’re not going to try that again.
“But in 40 years demographics have changed, the assortment of products have changed, plants have changed,” he explained. “Sometimes what didn’t sell last time, sells now. Sometimes you say, ‘OK, we’ll try that again.’”
Toby Lander agreed that the nursery industry is always changing.
“When ordering in the fall, there’s always something new and different,” he said.
Daniel Lander added that Young’s core business has “always been green plants,” but at the same time the center tries to appeal to a “huge range of customers.”
Scott Lander said raising a significant amount of bedding plants has been another key to his company’s success.
“In order to ensure the product quality you want, grow your own,” he said.
Lander also travels north one to three times a week from January to July to purchase from other nursery growers.
“We stay with growers who we know produce a consistent product,” he said. “I exercise a fair amount of control on selection for quality. Most of our clientele is focused on quality. We try to provide plants that will last for people.”
Lander said the business has dealt with the challenge of big box stores adding flower and plant departments by focusing on quality, giving the flowers and plants individual care from the day they arrive to the day they leave with a customer.
Daniel Lander said his father is “adamant about high quality.”
“He’ll hand pick plants from growers,” the son said. “People notice. They tell us the plants bloom better and last longer.”
All five of Scott and Devennie’s children grew up in the business, working part-time and earning money that helped each earn a college degree. Some of the couple’s grandchildren are now old enough to work in the nursery or the greenhouses.
“One of the benefits we didn’t foresee when we started here was all the kids working with us,” Scott Lander said. “It was a way to teach the kids to work, a way for them to earn money, a way for them to learn to manage money when they were young.”
The family’s next generation is now benefiting from the business as it continues to offer flowers and plants to its community.