2021 has been a year for the record books in so many ways. Big challenges, big lessons, and lots of gardening to help us all stay centered and move along. As we reflect, we wanted to share 2 big things that happened this year at Gill’s that have nothing to do with any viruses or freezes!
Part 1: New Partnership
James and I were in our mid-twenties when we decided to go into business together back in 1978. Immediately upon hiring our first employees at Gill’s, James and I felt a very strong sense of responsibility and purpose to our employees, and to you, our customers. That feeling has lasted 43 years and is still going strong. Overwhelmingly, we feel thankful for the many people that have worked with us at Gill’s to bring the best plants, garden supplies, and services to you. And that you’ve trusted us to be your go-to source for gardening.
A few years back, James and I hired Jesse Jenkins, a public policy consultant from Austin, Texas. Jesse was looking for a big career change and his love of nature and interest in plants and design attracted him to Gill’s. Within months, we felt Jesse had the desire, the intelligence, and the ethical fiber to lead Gill’s into the future. He is thorough, steady, and constant. He is honest and respectful to everyone. He is willing to make the tough calls and take responsibility, always with the welfare of our team, our customers, and our community as his top priorities.
Jesse has been our General Manager for over three years and is now our partner and part-owner of Gill’s. He is working closely with James and me and all of our staff, several with decades of experience at Gill’s, and an exciting and enthusiastic group of Millennials and Gen Z-ers. James and I have all the confidence that Jesse will lead our team into the future, evolving as we must to serve you. Thank you for your trust and support!
Part 2: Young Retailer of the Year Award
One of the first people I met at Gill’s (aside from Sally and James) is Wyatt Page. Three years ago, he was a star employee in the garden center, quickly learning and taking on more responsibility. So, we decided to promote him to Garden Center Assistant Manager to work closely with DeAnna and help build up our team.
Early in 2021, one of the many green industry publications that we read and study, Green Profit Magazine, announced that they were seeking nominations for their ‘Young Retailer of the Year” award. The award “recognizes young professionals under 30 in the horticulture industry who have inspired others with their leadership qualities and are hardworking, passionate, creative, and innovative.” That sounded just like Wyatt to me, so I wrote a nomination letter. To both of our excitement, he was selected as 1 of 3 finalists from across the country!
Over the Summer, Wyatt and I traveled to Columbus, OH to attend the Cultivate ’21 green industry conference. After 4 intense days of educational seminars, meeting new plant growers, and visiting some amazing garden centers, we attended the final event where the winner of the Young Retailer award would be announced. Wyatt was up against some very impressive competition, but sure enough, he won! What a celebration!
Read the full cover story about Wyatt and the team here. One of the judges told me that the deciding factor was Wyatt’s passion for learning and teaching others. If you’ve spent any time with him here at Gill’s, that passion is obvious and inspiring.