Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Armstrong Garden Centers

Pennisetum setaceum rubrum in a pool side container. Napa Valley project.

OHHH ! The rejection of it all ! ( eyes rolling )
A couple of weeks ago I needed a dozen Pennisetum setaceum rubrum for a project.
The plants had to be of a good size.
All of my northern California wholesale resource growers had this plant growing in their yards but they were small.
So I called my dependable local retail nursery ‘Sloats Garden Center’ and asked them if they had any plants in stock.
Nope, they had not yet ordered any Pennisetums set. rubrum for the spring and said it would be another two weeks before their next delivery.
Then I called a new retail nursery called Armstrong Garden Center that opened up about 2 years ago.
They had exactly what I was looking for. A dozen pennisetums in gallon size containers that were healthy and of a good size for immediate gratification.

When paying for the pennisetums I used my business checks.
The cashier noticed my professional status and she offered me a “ Garden Pro” membership application. She filled out the application while I was waiting for the plants to be brought up from the back and I reviewed and signed it.
The normal type information was requested on the application form such as business license, resale number , tax id, blah blah blah, ... you know, the same forms that us ‘professional landscrapers’ have filling out for the past several decades of business.

Today I received a rejection letter from Desiree Heimann , Marketing Coordinator , Armstrong Garden Centers.
I am not worthy to be considered a ‘Garden Pro’.

Maybe you need 35 years in the horticulture business to be considered a ‘Garden Pro’ by Armstrong Garden Centers.
I may reapply in another 5 years , by that time I will have 35 years under my belt and might qualify.
But maybe not.


Christopher C. NC said...

Did Desiree state on what grounds your were rejected? I must admit I had to laugh. Perhaps when Desiree realizes her mistake you will be entitled to a larger professional "Garden Pro" discount.

Susan said...

LOL again! Go figure. Here's the opposite tale.

For some unknown reason we've done more containers for our clients this year than any other. With gas prices being what they are it made sense for me to buy at a greenhouse about 5 miles from here rather than the usual one 20 miles away. Previously I had asked if they gave pro discounts--they said no because their prices were so cheap. True enough so I didn't ask again.

On my last trip loading up the truck the manager comes out and says--Hey Susan, do want a discount on future purchases? Well duh! I guess they reconsidered based on sheer volume.

Deviant Deziner said...

I am still chuckling over my rejection letter.

I'm definitely not a house hold word but for the same amount of time that it took Ms. Heimann to write her " NOT " letter she could have typed my business name into a google search and found that in deed I am a lowly garden professional .

The content of her letter reads :
Dear Ms. Derviss,
Thank you for submitting a Garden Pro application at Armstrong Garden Centers. After reviewing your application we found that you did not meet the Garden Pro membership requirements.
This program is only available to commercial gardeners and landscapers.
If you feel this is incorrect, we encourage you to resubmit an application to any Armstrong Garden Centers. Please be sure to include your business license or business card.
Desiree Heimann
Marketing Coordinator
Armstrong Garden Centers Inc.

I'm starting to wonder if this Garden Pro membership thing even exists.
Why on earth would any commercial gardener or landscaper 'regularly' purchase from a retail nursery anyways ?
The only time us landscapers go into a local retail nursery is for a few items to finish off a project or buy some slug bait or some other small quantity items .
99.9 % of the time we call/ fax/ email our orders into Monrovia, Hines, Suncrest, San Marcos , or the other regular wholesale growers or go the the growing grounds and tape off our plants for delivery.

I think I will stick my my reliable old wholesale nurseries and the one locally owned retail nursery ( Sloats Garden Nursery ).

debinca said...

LOL, I had asked at a local nursery in town last week what thier requirements were for a professional discount. Their answer and I quote "so, YOU'RE a landscaper?"

LOl no I just walk around covered with dirt at the end of the day for kicks!!! And fill my truck with tool for the effect! LOl, they gave me 10% that day and are thinking about the reg 20%.

BUT really I am amazed you were rejected, Just offer to read one of those hieroglyphic availability lists from Hines, that should be the real proof.

Take care, Debinca

chuck b. said...

All you need to get the professional discount at the nursery I visit most often is a business card. Which I do not have. They just give me the 10% off now because they see me all the time. (I'm entitled to it anyway through my Botanical Garden membership).

Heather said...

Have any of you considered that not everyone is as honest as you? I've worked in retail and trust me, people will try anything to save a buck- including pretending to own businesses or work for non-profits without the proof to back it up. As Desiree's rejection letter stated, you need to show proof that you own a business. Without proof, how is she to know that you are not simply trying to landscape your own yard? Give the woman a break, she's just doing her job. You make it sound so personal. She was not rejecting you, she was rejecting an application that did not have enough information to justify the membership.

Heather said...

Ok, my partner told me I over reacted. I've been personally attacked online, so I get a little testy when I see it happen to others. I don't even shop at Armstong (if I can avoid it.) They're issue isn't Desiree, it's the way they run the program. Why is somebody sitting in an office deciding who gets a discount? They should let the store managers make that decision. Maybe then they'd quit turning away honest business- and save us all a little grief.

grdngirl said...

As a former employee of Armstrong Gardens, we used to be able to give out the discount card at the counter. The landscaper had to just give a business card and fill out a form. These cards were geared towards the hardworking gardner or landscaper. After a while corporate took over, go figure! They wanted more control. As a general rule, for discounts of any kind, most business need to have proof of a resale license, along with a business card or business check. Hope this helps!

Hap said...

The sad reality is Armstrong has lost your business and now has bad-blog-press for Google to find… someone in an office goofed.

However I have to say that we too had to limit offering our Pro-Discounts to "real Pro's", too many people were bringing in home printed business cards and then demanding a discount that obviously didn’t really work as gardeners or garden designers… they didn't talk the talk or walk the walk and if someone points at an Aeonium subplanum and calls it "a pretty Dalhia" they are not a pro in my book.

So we now ask for professional credentials, at minimum a business license in a “green field” for our garden-pro discount and with a CA resale license or a C-27 we offer wholesale (on the plants that we grow in enough quantity…). In the days of computer printed business cards and too many unprofessionals claiming to be Pro-gardeners I don't think it is too much to ask, we are a small nursery and offer the pro's discounts because they buy in bulk and take less of our time since they know which plants will work.