Barbara Kijak has been involved with Green Valley Nursery in Hawthorne since she was a young girl. Her father founded the business over 60 years ago and the business continues to be family run.
For all those decades, generations of customers have come through the local nursery for their plant and gardening needs. Now, the nursery faces a challenge seen by small business owners nationwide, the big box store.
"We have a lot of repeat customers," Kijak said. "We even have some of the grandchildren from people who came to the business when we started in 1947,"
Kijak believes this customer loyalty has allowed the local nursery to sustain for many years. However, a new obstacle of competition has arrived. Recently, a Home Depot with a fully stocked nursery department has moved into Hawthorne. In fact, the one-stop home megastore lies just a short distance away on Saw Mill River Road.
Large corporations such as Home Depot usually pose as a large threat to small local business such as Green Valley. They're generally able to keep more products in stock and list the lowest prices for the customer. In the Hope Depot nursery, flowers fill the large green room and pallets of products such as soil and fertilizer line the exteriors. This type of presence can lead a small business to fold.
However, Kijak feels that Home Depot is actually bringing the opposite effect.
"It presents a new challenge but we find that it actually brings more traffic and new customers because we can offer better plant quality and other services such as instillation, landscape design and landscape architects," Kijak said.
Kijak notes that customers frequently visit Green Valley as opposed to Home Depot for vegetable and large tree plants, which are grown on site in different varieties.
Signs and banners noting Green Valley's 60th anniversary in 2007 are scattered across the property. For over 60 years now, Kijak and her family stuck by the slogan, "Quality you can see at prices you can afford". They have no intention of stopping that tradition now.
"We just need to continue to offer quality service and products," Kijak said.
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