When Dawn and Keith Dziak took over Village Gardens in Plover, Wis., the business already had a good reputation in the local community. While Dawn had the skills and experience necessary to continue that success, she wanted to work with a consultant on her marketing strategy. Working with Mary Wescott at the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center at UW-Stevens Point helped the Dziaks attract new customers and increase sales.
“We have noticed a lot of new, out-of-town customers. Even the locals are coming more just by the promotion efforts, our website and Facebook page, and the things we’ve been doing to advertise,” Dawn says.
Village Gardens is a destination greenhouse with outdoor gardens; a gift shop with locally made art for home, lawn and garden; and a coffee and ice cream café. The scenic grounds are available to rent for special events, including weddings.
In addition to revamping the Village Gardens marketing plan, Wescott assisted with human resources activities. She helped the Dziaks create a brand and improve the shop’s online presence through a new website, search engine optimization and a Facebook page.
“I didn’t know there was that kind of service out there that can help a small business grow,” Dawn says. “The SBDC showed us not to be afraid to go out there and promote what we have available.
To keep up with the increased patronage, Village Gardens now employs 10 to 14 people in peak season. Dziak sees that providing improved training and listening to employee input has enabled the company to develop excellent customer service.
“I let the staff be more involved in the decision making as far as what to grow for the upcoming year and what doesn’t work,” Dziak says. “That really helps the business as a whole, because when a customer has questions, the whole staff can answer them.”
Dziak plans to continue to raise awareness of the grounds rental and new and unique plant varieties available at Village Gardens through marketing strategies developed with assistance from the SBDC.
She says, "We receive excellent advice and professional tools that are difficult and sometimes expensive or time-consuming for a small business to find. With SBDC help, we are feeling even more confident about our continued success.”
Learn more about this destination greenhouse at villagegardens.us.