Sallie started working for the garden center in the fall of 1983. We had opened our east store in April that year. As we regularly do, we add employees to help with the Christmas Shop at the store. Little did we know that Sallie would be working at the garden center for 40 years. She has filled many roles with the company; since starting as a store clerk, she has been called on to help with buying, marketing, managing our east store and anything else as needed.
Sallie has decided that it’s time to retire from the garden center. If you’ve shopped at the east store, you’ve come to know and love Sallie as we have. You’ve trusted her advice for your lawn and garden when you’ve sought it. At our recent company Christmas party, Sallie and I were reminiscing about her history at Johnson's. She reminded me of one of the first things I taught her when she started - how to open a grass seed bag!! A cloth grass seed bag is sewn at the top. The front side has a single stitch, and the back has a double stitch. To open it, have the single stitch face you, cut the string off on the right side next to the bag, pull the single stitch, and the string comes off clean! A friend of Dad’s, Mr. Bill Armfield, taught me this trick over 50 years ago!
This conversation with Sallie got me thinking. We can learn so much from our elders - simple things that make so much common sense. I asked Sallie to share a few bits of advice she gives new employees, and here’s what she shared:
The first thing I tell new employees is that we are a family owned business and personal customer service is what we offer. That means greeting every customer, and is as simple as common courtesy - holding a door, getting a cart or box, or carrying out. I always think of my manager Tim saying, ‘We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.’
Then it’s that there is always something to do or clean and to be observant when you are, so you can be learning. My story on that is that I think I dusted all the time my first couple of weeks, and when someone asked me for chlorothalonil I didn’t know what it was, but I knew where it was!
Lastly, I give them your Dad’s advice, ‘If you don’t know, ask.’
Thanks for the memories!
- Sallie Strole
Thank you, Sallie, for the memories; we love you and know you’ll enjoy your retirement. Be sure and stop by our Storewide Sale January 6-7 and give Sallie a farewell. We’ll have a reception for her - as she’s helping customers.
Finally, while you still can, get a little piece of advice from your elders. It’ll be something you can cherish and remember, even if it’s how to open a bag of grass seed!
Your friend in the garden,
Owner - Johnson's Garden Center