Sandy Croce Warner has been with Oakland Nurseries for 30 years, and when the Dublin location opened in 2005, she was sent to help establish the new store and make sure business started up without a hitch. An important product for the new garden center quickly became seed packets from Botanical Interests.
“[We’ve been selling Botanical Interests] all 11 years here,” says Warner, who still manages the Dublin store. “Things continually got more and more popular with these seeds. About five years ago, I decided because we were doing so well with them, we started expanding and I just said, ‘Give us everything you can.’”
Oakland Dublin then started carrying more vegetable seeds as well as microgreens, which are just a couple of varieties in the extensive selection. Oakland offers more than 500 varieties from Botanical Interests, which include annuals and perennials, but edibles are especially popular.
As a result, the garden center enjoyed a great sales increase as customers came in to purchase seeds two months earlier than usual, because the packets proved themselves popular gifts for the holidays.
“I’ve always loved [Botanical Interests],” Warner says. “They’re gorgeous; all kinds of things about them are wonderful. People seem to love them, they sell well; people like all the information that’s given on the back of the seed packet. They feel like they’re getting a good value for their money and [the product].”
Warner also attributes the company’s success and popularity to its unique packaging. Oakland Dublin carries seeds from seven different companies, but Botanical Interests stands out among the others.
“If you walk into our seed area, you have to take note of [the Botanical Interests display], because it looks so different, and it’s so pretty,” Warner says. “[Customers] are drawn [to it] because of the look, and from there, they start looking and then they start seeing different varieties. It’s not just the same tomato all the way across the row, like so many seed companies have. [For Botanical Interests,] it’s a different [variety of seed] in each one of those pockets.”
Warner also says that Botanical Interests is completely reliable and efficient.
“We have really good sales reps taking care of us,” she says. “I’ve never heard of any problem. We fax [the order] in, and it comes in. Usually it goes in on Monday or Tuesday and we get it by Friday, so it’s good for the weekend. We’ve never had any reason to complain.”
Botanical Interests also boasts a level of exclusivity, because their seeds aren’t carried in Big-Box stores, which Warner says her customers greatly appreciate, and it’s helped make her location — the largest of all the Oakland Nurseries — such a success.
“[Other garden centers] should add Botanical to their seed mix,” she says.