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History at a Glance
By John Thompson – Original Owner (2002 – 2008)
Prior to starting Northern Light and Garden (NLG) I had pursued many different careers, however, none of them were to my liking. I had been managing a branch of a local staffing firm; when the company down sized I found myself without a job. I spent a year looking for employment but was not interested in attaining another dead end job. I decided to hire myself and take the plunge with my own business. In the beginning I had no money and no ideas as to what business I wanted to pursue. I reasoned that to be successful it would need to be something that I had a passion and aptitude for.

Owner Trase Meyers with Beaverton Branch Manager, David Schalck

Coming home from a day of shopping at the local indoor gardening retail stores, I found myself complaining about the lack of professionalism and customer service. I was just a hobbyist, having been involved in outdoor vegetable gardening since I was six, and never seemed to warrant their time or attention. Over the years I had gained a solid base of knowledge in organic gardening and had used HID lights for years to get spring starts going. I had even dabbled with my own homemade hydroponic system in the late 70’s before I had even heard of hydroponics. I was not an expert in all aspects of indoor gardening but I had an aptitude for teaching the basics, which was what I felt customers were lacking. When a customer has a nutrient deficiency they need to be able to diagnose and treat it, not know the symbol for the nutrient on the periodic table. I found that most of the stores out there either shrugged their shoulders or spent their time impressing you with their so-called expertise.

I spent several weeks discussing with my wife plans to open an indoor gardening store. This career objective came to fruition one day while shopping. I came across a neon open sign for sale on the shelf. Without hesitation my wife encouraged me to purchase it. I told her that if we spent $99.95 on the sign we would have to open a store. She again encouraged me to buy it. From that day forward I focused on making the business a reality. The initial start up costs of owning a business put us in debt, but my wife had faith in my abilities and always believed the store would be a success. After being open for approximately two weeks, I called her to announce I had just sold my first light system. I was 38-years old at the time.

I had never really worked in retail before so my knowledge of merchandising, purchasing and customer service was all self-taught. I constantly tried to put myself in my customers’ shoes in order to provide what they needed. I would ask myself, “What would I want if I were the customer?” I did a lot of experimenting. I also read and listened to customers constantly to expand my knowledge. When I did not know the answer to a question I admitted as much but endeavored to learn the answer. I also promised myself that I would never push products on customers - that when they left it was with what they needed and that they had got their money’s worth. Even when we were in debt negotiation with our credit card companies a year later I remained faithful to the customers. As word of my willingness to spend time with the customers and look out for them spread, the business began to flourish. These are the same core values that continue at NLG today and allow us to consistently beat our competitors. What has always made NLG unique has been our view that service is the most valuable part of business.

Husband and wife team Jana (accountant) and Filip Adam

Staffing was a more difficult learning curve. Initially I worked seven days a week by myself; it was almost a year before I had a full time worker. Some nights I would stay several hours past close just to help with a feeding program or a room layout. I was lucky to end up with a full staff of quality individuals that shared my passion. The current staff at NLG has faithfully stood by and today one of those employees, Trase Myers, owns the entire company. I could never have left my baby in the hands of anyone else. Northern Light and Garden has now grown to be the largest chain in the state yet still remains at heart the store that cares.

An Emerging Success
By Filip Adam – Vice President
John sold the business to Trase Myers in March 2008. Trase has been with the company since 2005, and was branch manager of Beaverton before he bought the business. John hired me because he needed to take the company to the next level and saw my potential to help him do just that.

The arrangement with NLG is incredibly unique and effective. Trase takes care of customers and I am in charge of the business side making for a great combination of both our strengths.

In Grant’s Pass, Casey O’Neil and branch manager Jeremiah Johnson

Our company has been growing at a significant rate because all employees that we currently have share the same core values, and they care about the company. Even though Northern Light and Garden has become a professional and successful business, it’s still one big family. John shared his business sense and knowledge with his employees and the ones that listened and learned from him have benefited from it in their careers. His philosophy was, show me that you can do it. It’s a learning process and if you try hard you will succeed and be rewarded.

Even though John is no longer owner of the company, NLG continues in the same tradition that made this company so successful. We take care of our customers, providing them with what they need. If it’s knowledge they need, we supply it; If they need help, it is given. For this reason, our customers keep coming back.

Today, NLG has three Oregon locations including one in Beaverton, Salem and Grants Pass. It is made up of 13 loyal and passionate employees. Jana Adam is in control of accounting. Branch manager David Schalck, Patrick Pooler, AJ Wassem and Craig Furbay make up the Beaverton team. Chris Zimmer (manager) and Matthan Schrock are at the Salem location. Jeremiah Johnson (manager), Casey O’Neil and Brent King make up the Grants Pass NLG team.

From left to right: Craige Furbay, AJ Wassem, Trase Myers and Filip Adam

We stay ahead of the game by visiting our competitors, carrying the latest products and buying in volume so we can pass the savings on to our customers.

Business has been growing every year even though competition has severely increased. The staff at NLG understands that loyal customers are the key to success, which is why we started the rewards program. We’ve recently launched our loyalty card that rewards people for return visits to the store. The more you shop the more you save – it’s that simple.

This industry is becoming more professional and is growing at a significant rate. There is huge potential for business. The unprecedented customer service, large selection, a great reputation and knowledgeable employees that enjoy what they do make NLG so successful. We don’t believe in commission; it’s better to sell the right products and make less then it is to push customers into something they don’t really need. Customers come first at NLG.

 
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