$10 off $20 for new Calloway’s Garden Club members

I’ll be back to blogging at a more regular pace starting by Wednesday. Thank you for your patience while I get back into a routine after spending an interesting and informative four days last week touring all 17 Calloway’s Nurseries in DFW as part of their customer panel, as well as a weekend devoted to family time.

If you live in DFW or Houston, and want to grab the $10 off $20 coupon for Calloway’s/Cornelius Nurseries, sign up at MyTexasGarden.com. If you are interested in learning more about what I did last week and what I learned, please read on…

I participated as one of eleven individuals from across DFW who came together in Hurst, Texas last week to evaluate the Calloway’s stores and provide our feedback. Approximately one thousand customers submitted requests to be on the 2009 customer panel, so I was honored to be selected!

I thought it was very forward-thinking of the company to bring together a small sample of customers to hear what we perceive works well and what could be improved at each of their stores.

Going into this experience, I had a primarily positive opinion of Calloway’s, but my two main concerns with shopping at Calloway’s were:

1) Lack of information
As an inexperienced gardener who has started to be a little more creative in recent years with my flower beds, I have found Calloway’s to be somewhat intimidating. I have always thought Calloway’s has some of the best quality and selection of plants in the area and they have very friendly, welcoming employees. But, as you’ll see below, I am not one to ask for help, so I felt that Calloway’s could provide more printed information on what to think about so I can ensure success with whatever plants I purchase. Having a checklist or some starting point would help me put together questions to ask employees.

2) Cost
Calloway’s is expensive (unless you catch a sale or have a coupon), but I believe you get what you pay for. I am very willing to pay more for quality, but given that I have a difficult time keeping plants alive, I need some sort of reassurance that all the money I’m spending will not be wasted. This goes back to my need to have enough information to make the right selections both for my yard and gardening style. You might spend less at a big box retailer, but the plants probably won’t be as well cared for as what you’ll find at Calloway’s, and it is unlikely that you will get the same level of expertise from the employees.

It wasn’t until I participated in the four day tour that I realized Calloway’s does offer the guidance and information that I am looking for. I just didn’t know it was available.

Calloway’s was founded in 1986, and while I’ve been going to the Greenville store ever since it opened, there are several items that I either never knew about or never noticed:

1) Calloway’s is a small, Texas-based company
Calloway’s runs 17 nurseries in Dallas/Fort Worth and three Cornelius Nurseries in Houston. While that may seem like a large number of stores as compared to some of the other nurseries around town, I came away from this panel experience with the impression that this company has not deviated from its beginnings. Customer service and product quality are extremely important to this company. Many of the employees have been with the company since it was started in 1986 – including the three founders – and a large number of the employees were born and raised in Texas. Their plants are also grown in Texas.

I’m accustomed to working for companies where the executives are inaccessible to employees and customers, so I was surprised to read on the Calloway’s YouTube page (after the panel had ended) that one of our hosts (and tour guide extraordinaire), John Peters, is also a founder of the company. If it was mentioned during the four days, I missed it.

At each store, I observed both of our hosts talking with employees, asking how their families were, congratulating employees for accomplishments, etc. I felt like I was amongst a big family. Our hosts were also quick to assist customers who requested help at each store when a store employee was not nearby.

2) You really can ask for help at Calloway’s
How often do you enter a store these days to be greeted by a friendly employee who also has a lot of knowledge that they’re willing to share for free? I can’t think of many times when I felt this was possible.

While I have always been greeted by friendly employees at Calloway’s, I’ve never asked for help. The idea of getting free advice is foreign to me. So imagine my surprise to observe customer after customer getting all sorts of questions answered. Not only were their questions answered, but I also overheard employees telling customers when a plant would likely NOT work in their yard. I left the tour feeling that Calloway’s really wants my yard to look nice and my gardening experiments to succeed. I now know that if I want to ask for help, there are people at my local Calloway’s that are willing to spend time with me.

3) Calloway’s offers free clinics every Saturday
There are free weekly clinics for adults and a few free clinics this summer for children ages 4-10. They also offer some workshops for a fee. I can’t think of a nicer environment for a gardening clinic, except maybe the Arboretum (if you prefer to be outside). Speaking of the Arboretum, check out the trial gardens if you go. Calloway’s sponsors them.

Some of the panel participants mentioned they will visit Calloway’s after a stressful day. I can see why. Calloway’s stores are so relaxing! Many of the stores have places to sit where you can listen to soothing music, trickling fountains or (real) birds chirping while you take in the surroundings. I saw a hummingbird at one store! Not only is it a relaxing environment, but it also inspires. I came away with all sorts of ideas for my yard. I have always run in to Calloway’s, grabbed a few things and ran out. I had not sat down in a store and soaked in all the ideas before, but I will now.

4) Calloway’s has how-to and other informational videos on YouTube
I didn’t see these videos linked from their Website, but I learned about them during the customer panel tour. Check out this Youtube video that features our two fabulous hosts for the four days – John and Kimberly – or get the list of all the videos.

5) Each Calloway’s store has its own personality
While some aspects of Calloway’s stores are consistent, I noticed that each location has a unique charm. You may have to visit a few stores to notice this. For example, North Plano, Denton, Southlake and Greenville are all very different from each other from store architecture to displays. Store managers and employees have the freedom to make the store their own (it’s not dictated by corporate, although they’ll provide suggestions).

Side tip: if you want to see some fabulous color displays, head over to the Mesquite store (4220 North Galloway Road at I-30). It’s at the top of my “re-visit soon” list to get more inspiration for my garden.

6) Calloway’s wants to hear from their customers
Have a comment, question or suggestion? Email Calloway’s or talk to an employee or manager at your local store. They take all customer feedback into consideration, and have made improvements and changes to stores based on customer comments.

7) Calloway’s delivers!
For a small fee, Calloway’s will deliver your purchase(s) to your home. If you spend at least $500, they will deliver for free.

8) Calloway’s will transfer products from one store to another
Can’t find something at your neighborhood Calloway’s? Ask an employee if they have it in stock at another store. They will transfer it from one store to another at no cost to you. You can then pick it up, or pay for it to be delivered to your home. Some of my fellow panel members wanted gardenia plants and furniture transferred from one store we visited to their local store, and the Calloway’s team was very willing to make that happen. No need to drive all over town!

9) Calloway’s sells garden bugs
Need some earthworms or ladybugs? You can buy them at Calloway’s. I’ve never seen tubs of ladybugs before and I was so tempted to buy one to bring home. I thought my daughter would enjoy putting them in our garden, but I decided to resist the temptation until I can get my flower beds re-planted. I worry the ladybugs will leave to visit my neighbors’ yards if I don’t give them reasons to stay in mine.

10) Calloway’s has a customer loyalty/rewards program
Sign up at MyTexasGarden.com to receive a $10 off $20 coupon to use at Calloway’s (or Cornelius Nurseries if you’re in Houston). You will then be eligible to receive rewards based on your purchase history! Your purchases are stored in a computer, so no need for a reward card. You will also be among the first to hear about sales, clinics and other garden-related information. And if you think you would like to participate on Calloway’s customer panel in 2010, you’ll hear about it if you’re a member of their Garden Club.

One nice touch at Calloway’s that I was aware of, but only after a friend pointed it out to me on one visit last year, is the free bottled water at the entrance. At some stores, you’ll have to search for it, but at most stores the cooler is by the cashiers. Especially on hot days, it’s nice to be able to grab a bottle of water to enjoy while shopping.

If you haven’t been to Calloway’s or aren’t a member of the Garden Club, register here, print the $10 off $20 the coupon, find a location near you, and pick out an upcoming clinic to attend. If you like orchids, they were on sale last week (not sure if they’re still on sale) and they were beautiful at every store I visited. With the coupon, you could get a nice plant for a great price.

If you’re already a member of the Garden Club, you can print a $5.00 off $25.00 coupon in this week’s specials PDF.

If you have noticed something different about Calloway’s that I haven’t mentioned, please share by leaving a comment.

One Response to “$10 off $20 for new Calloway’s Garden Club members”

  1. April 28th, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Maren says:

    I did the perennial swap earlier this month. It was fun and I got the plants I needed to revamp my front yard.


    # 1

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