In The Garden

  • Keith, from Garden Supply Company, shares his background and passion for gardening, inspired by his parents.
  • Despite his parents considering gardening a hobby, he pursued a career in horticulture.
  • As a teenager, Keith did odd jobs in the neighborhood, including cleaning out a chicken coop where he found a flamethrower.
  • He utilized the flamethrower to offer unique services like cleaning out areas under trees for his customers.
  • Keith had always been a horticulturalist at heart, even growing plants and rooting boxwood cuttings as a young child.
  • Garden Supply Company is now in its 27th year and started as a five-person landscape company, offering delivery, installation, and landscaping services.
  • The company's focus has always been on service, from small jobs to larger landscaping projects.
  • The opportunity to open a garden center arose when a previous one closed after six months, allowing Keith to step in and grow the business.
  • The company has grown steadily over the years, now employing around 75 people and offering various services.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic led to an explosion in business growth for Garden Supply Company, contrasting with other businesses that struggled during that time.
  • The company attracted many new customers and even employees who changed their careers during the pandemic.
  • Garden Supply Company values its customers and is grateful for their support throughout the years.
  • Keith's hands-on approach in the early days helped shape the company's success, with him personally assisting customers in every step of their experience.
  • The company fills a market void between DIY gardeners and large landscape companies, catering to different customer needs.
  • Today, Garden Supply Company is a well-oiled machine, consistently growing and adapting to the market's needs.

Creators & Guests

Keith Ramsey
Designer/Owner at Garden Supply Company
Joe Woolworth
Owner of Podcast Cary in Cary, NC. Your friendly neighborhood podcast studio.

What is In The Garden?

In the Garden with Keith Ramsey is a podcast aimed at helping you grow and maintain a beautiful and healthy garden and landscape.

Each podcast will focus on a new specific topic. Check back every two weeks for the latest episode!


[00:00:16] this morning, we got Shannon here from garden supply company and We were talking about updating people on the. The history of garden supply and How it came about. My background. Yeah, Keith, I think you have such an interesting story. I think everybody would love to hear it.

[00:00:32] , as a kid, I always wanted to be a gardener. My parents were passionate about gardening and they thought it was something that you did as a hobby. As I got closer to. Going away to school. I'm like, I want to go to a horticulture school and my parents were like horticulture, isn't really not a pro that's not something you do as a profession. That's a hobby.

[00:00:48] Yeah. You're a doctor, you're a lawyer, you're a whatever. And I'm like, and of course I was a teenager. So that was that was the end of that. I was like dead set on it at that point. Yeah, don't tell me. Yeah. Tell me I can't be a gardener and make money.

[00:01:03] . One of my favorite stories of yours when you were at a teenager. When you were cleaning out the chicken coop. Yeah. So I always cut grass and did odd jobs and different. Things around the neighborhood and Growing plants at the same time. And I was cleaning out a chicken coop for.

[00:01:17] On a down on a country road that was near our neighborhood. And. I found a flame thrower. I do. That was it was somebody brought. You found a flame thrower. Yeah. That's like leaving out a lot of exposition in this story. Because I had all this junk. Get all this junk pile. In a chicken coop. So I'm cleaning it out for him. And I'm like, what's it like the entire roof thing to seal the roof?

[00:01:37] It was like a flame, like from Vietnam.

[00:01:42] Yeah. I mean in this day and time you show up in a subdivision with a flame thrower. You're obviously going to jail, . He found a way to make money. Yeah. Not at that T not in that day and time, so I said to the guy, I said, this is actually a flame thrower.

[00:01:54] I asked him what it was. And he said it was the flame throw that came back from Vietnam. So I said what are you doing with it? And he's nothing has just piled up in here. And I said I said, I'd love to have. And he said if you finish this job, you can have it. So he gave me this flame thrower. So I'm like, I've got to try different times.

[00:02:11] The kids are allowed to play with fire. So this is like a three-foot nobody's gone to jail.

[00:02:19] And I was spare flame thriller, if you want it. I was literally like, 12 or 13. And so I've got this flame thrower and I'm like bringing home. I loaded up with care scene. And pump it up. Light it. And it shoots 30 feet.

[00:02:38] And incinerates anything that it hits. So lots were a lot bigger back then, you'd have an acre lot or a two acre lot. And I cut grass for 10 people in the neighborhood. So I would go to a customer and I'm like, if you want to clean out that area underneath those trees over there.

[00:02:56] I can take care of it for you. I've got this torch. We'll just burn it. Yeah, it just evaporates it and the trees are still good. So ours, I was riding a bike at the time. So I would have to get the customer. To buy the care soon. I'm like, look, we're going to need 15 gallons of Kirsi. Five gallons of kerosene, whatever it is. And I show up there on Saturday morning on my bike with a flame thrower.

[00:03:21] Wore it on your back, like a leaf throat.

[00:03:27] it looked like a bow saw kind of thing. You just hold it on your hand handlebar and go.

[00:03:32] But I would show up. And I would fire this thing up. No one called the cops. The kid running through. He didn't have, he didn't have any governmental agency coming in to a. Helicopters.

[00:03:43] None of that. The last scene of ATM after the mood music montage, you just built this.

[00:03:51] And you're going to clear out the back.

[00:03:54] But I haven't crank it up and there would be briars and Bramble underneath the trees. Take aim. And you're incinerating this stuff. It just evaporates. Any normal man. Standing next to you. It's going to be like, can I try that? Yeah. Almost every single time without fail.

[00:04:16] They bought the kerosene. And they did the work.

[00:04:21] So I'm not going to say I wouldn't do that. Oh, Yeah. It's can I try that? So the the. It was just, it's always something. We'll bring it out crap from the garage. And while they were doing the work that you were getting paid for. I was sitting on a bucket.

[00:04:39] Exactly. The neighbor would come over and go, Hey, take a look at this area over here. You think you can clean out that ditch? I'm like, sure, no problem. Yep. We can make it evaporate. But anyway, we, I had always, as a kid, I always had, 10 things going and that's really hasn't changed as an adult. I would be growing at that same at that stem stage. I was growing the riot.

[00:05:01] Happy. That was rooting box wood cuttings. I was a horticulturalist at heart. It just. It came. It came very young and very easy for me. Yeah. And so about what is it? 25, 28 years. That you've had gardens applied now. Yeah. And we're in our 27th year. Okay. It's crazy.

[00:05:18] But I also love the story about how it was five people working there. Yeah. So we were a company of five. We were a landscape company and that's a whole nother topic for later on, but services, what we've always done, we've always done delivery installation.

[00:05:31] We've always done landscaping. Yeah, that type of work. But that's what we were doing. We had a, it was a very small company. It was environmental design. And management and we took care of properties. We installed Drees, we did all kinds of work, but I've always written down my goals and knew what, what I wanted to do. And one of them was open a garden center.

[00:05:48] And Carrie, and I think that same value still holds true to our service today. Sure. Yeah. That's the we've always done when I was young. I did, little small jobs. We're still doing that. That type of thing. We delivered install one tree and now we feel a real. We fill a void in the market between do it yourself first. And when we certainly supply most of our plants to people that are planting them themselves, but.

[00:06:12] People that, that aren't ready for a landscape count. Big landscape job or a landscape company. They come in and pick one tree and then we take care of it.

[00:06:20] Yeah. Yeah, but it's been a fun ride. The, garden supplies. I It's from doing services and a five person company. Somebody else started a garden center and it closed after about six months. And we just had a great opportunity to step in and. Pick it back up and thankfully they had done a lot of the legwork and.

[00:06:39] I worked with them for a short period of time before they closed. Just as a subcontractor doing the delivery in store. And I love how when you tell that story, it. You would be out there in the tree bed with a customer. Bring them up to the cash register. You were checking them out. Yeah. That's.

[00:06:56] During their stuff out for them. And. Everybody was doing that. But he was running. We did the job we had. We had no no registered people and no back office, no somebody answering the phone, you'd answered the phone. You'd meet the customer that pulled into the parking lot. You'd sell them with.

[00:07:12] Clients. Ring their plants load their car and then back onto the next customer. It's changed drastically. We've got we're in our 27th year and we've gotten about 75 people and are able to provide lots of services, which will. We'll doing another podcast.

[00:07:26] Yeah. It's certainly is turned into a well-oiled machine. It has. It was it a steady growth over the years or did it like, it exploded at one point? It's been extremely steady until COVID and then it exploded. COVID has really so your guys' businesses the opposite of a lot of people.

[00:07:42] Yeah, it was it was. It was a terrible place to be. It really, when you're talking to. Other business people and their businesses are closing or restaurants or and ours was just thriving. You couldn't buy enough advertising to see the growth. That we saw in one year.

[00:08:00] That's awesome. Yeah. So it's been really good. And thankful for the customers. We have absolutely. And that's also, when I started, COVID brought me to garden supply and I'm. Yeah. We've got I'm grateful for that opportunity. Yeah. We've definitely picked up a lot of new people through COVID.

[00:08:14] Changed their careers and made things really nice at gardens block.