By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
The Designer’s Garden Center celebrates its first anniversary this month at its new location on Meadowbrook Road near Shinnston. However, owner Robert Bell is not a novice to outdoor landscaping; he has been in the business for 18 years.
He started on his own doing lawn care, fertilizing and maintenance. His professionalism, dependability and reasonable rates led to more and more customers – even a contract to do a lot of work for West Virginia University in Morgantown.
“That is when I kind of got too big too fast,” he stated. “I had some good workers, but when work is seasonal, it is hard to keep good people because they want an income throughout the year.”
That is when Bell realized that his key to success was not to be a one-horse pony! He needed to offer services needed year-round. The Designer’s Garden Center is no longer just for spring and summer lawn and gardening! He also does winter maintenance and snow removal and salts many commercial lots. But using his own property as his ‘home base’ for storage, etc. was soon outgrown.
Getting business property of his own has opened many doors for even more expansion, and it has been well worth the investment, he says. The Meadowbrook Road location has given him the room to showcase all of his products throughout the year.
Now that spring has arrived, customers will find lots of ideas to dress up their property and give it greater curb appeal. The Gardener’s Design Center carries everything from bedding plants (both annuals and perennials) to hanging baskets … ferns … both bagged and bulk mulch with delivery available (in premium black, chocolate brown and red) … trees and shrubs (all West Virginia grown) … stones in three sizes … top soil … vegetable plants … and as the season progresses, you can buy produce grown in Amish Country in Ohio.
When autumn approaches, you’ll find Rob’s business locale loaded with mums and pumpkins for fall decorating! And as the Christmas holiday draws near, you’ll find rows of Christmas trees ready to be taken home and decorated. Be sure to stock up on firewood and/or rock salt while you’re there too.
Other services provided include tree removal, stump removal, and even chain link fence installation. You also may have noticed if you’ve driven by the garden center recently that several storage buildings are on the premises as well.
“Having moved to this location allows me the space to keep these buildings on site for customers to look at,” Rob noted. “They are manufactured locally in Mannington and are ‘rent to own’. Regardless of credit history, it is not impossible for a customer to get one of these; however, poor credit does mean a higher interest rate.”
Bell actually studied golf course design in college for two years so he is capable of offering great suggestions to customers who need advice or he will take your ideas and work from there in the planning of a remarkable landscape or hardscape (patios, fire pits, retaining walls, etc.). He is willing to make a personal visit to your home and give free estimates along with design suggestions.
Rob’s business has grown tremendously! He now has six full-time employees and his sons help out as well. It is not uncommon to see several of his fleet of ten trucks on the road in the local area – especially at this busy time of year when people begin to think about spending more time enjoying the outdoors and adding some ‘color’ around their home.
The do-it-yourselfer will find lots of products inside the garden center … products to help with weed control, pest control, fertilization, and even hand tools. Or if you are not into getting your hands dirty or feel you don’t have a green thumb, let them do the work for you!
Don’t forget to remember Mom this Sunday! Last-minute shoppers will want to stop by The Designer’s Garden Center to take advantage of Rob’s ‘Mother’s Day Weekend Specials’ – with a large supply of hanging baskets ($15), azaleas and rhododendrons ($15), and even special pricing on mulch – just $15 a scoop! YES, he will be open on Mother’s Day!!!!
How is such reasonable pricing affordable to him? Rob concluded, “I buy in volume, and what I save, I pass on to my customers. I enjoy having satisfied customers who like being treated fairly, and I want them to come back and shop with us year after year.”
The Designer’s Garden Center is open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 304-672-2208 or follow them on Facebook.
Their slogan says … “If you’re shopping somewhere else, you’re spending too much money!” Stop by and see for yourself.