Meet your Merchant…Glo Cowan of High Altitude Gardens
Ryan Summerlin October 20, 2013
High Altitude Gardens, Tabernash
How long have you been in business? 1983 I got my first business card, working weekends and after work. In 1998, I dedicated 100 percent to business
How did you get started in this business? I was the first Town of Winter Park Gardener, back in 1983. Held the position for 15 years. I was known as The Plant Lady.
Business mission statement: High Altitude Gardens is a horticultural business that encourages and promotes the knowledge of plant diversity, while creating plant combinations and arrangements that showcase the seasonality of each garden.
Success in the mission: We showcase gardens that demonstrate plantings of value to the home and business landscape
Challenges to the mission: Researching new cultivars of both native and non-native plants which may be of interest
How do you cope with Grand County’s seasonal surges? After 36 years in Fraser Valley, it’s accepted.
What do you think is the biggest business barrier in Grand County? For me? Frost.
What do you think is your biggest business barrier on a state and/or national level? Taxes. Workman’s comp does not have a gardener’s rate. I pay a landscapers rate which includes so much more equipment and hardscape work.
What can government here do to help? Lift the business license fee.
How does your business give back to the community? Volunteer horticultural services to nonprofits and donate to silent auctions.
Give examples of how you are environmentally responsible. Recycle plant containers. Hand water gives better control for when water is necessary.
How do you support other local businesses? I pass work along to landscapers. Office supplies/ hardware store / greenhouses / accountants
How do you feel about direct competition? No problem. We are all friends
How do you market yourself? Not necessary.
What’s the main thing you have you learned in your years in business? Communications is No. 1. Always follow through efficiently
Where do you go for help when you need it? Co. State University. Plant Diagnostic Lab, when I can’t figure out diseases
Who is your biggest business influence/mentor? John Kovac. Owner of Cold Springs Greenhouse
What do you think is the most significant economic driver in Grand County? Tourism, second homeowners
If you could go back in time and start up your business venture all over again, what would you do differently? Use my photography equipment more to view my ever changing gardens.
What’s the best compliment you received from a client/customer/guest? Let Glo do what she does best.
What do you consider to be your biggest mistake in business? Plant too early for clients that are ready for color besides white (snow)
What organization(s) is (are) most useful to business owners? Small Business Association.
How much of a role does technology play in your business? Very, very little. 10 percent.
What are the technology challenges in your business? I’d rather work out in the field then at my desk. So, I limit it.
What’s the general key to making a customer/client/guest happy? Communications is it.
Is their any certain trend you’ve noticed in consumer habits lately? Consumers are willing to experiment in the horticultural field
What are some tricks such as signs or window displays that you’ve noticed work in attracting customers to your front door? The gardens that I’ve created throughout the county
What are some ways to keep up staff morale? I’m very flexible with their own needs and life. Laughter☺
What are some ways you train your staff on an ongoing basis? Rotate job locations for employees. Gardens are ever changing, always learning. Lunch meetings
If you could give advice to a novice entrepreneur, what would it be? Follow through efficiently