Craig Harms, Co-owner Restoration Gardens, Kohler, WI

From: IGC Retailer, March/April, 2014

Craig Harms, Co-owner Restoration Gardens, Kohler, WI

What is a typical day like for you?

I start by checking my e-mail and phone messages before meeting with Co-owner Brian Grimm and the landscape crew leaders to discuss the day’s jobs. After that, I talk with our garden center staff about the day’s overview, then spend time in the office with orders and paperwork. On good days, I’m fortunate to be able to spend a few hours on-site, working directly with our crews on our landscaping jobs, before resuming office work and client meetings in the late afternoons and early evenings. 

What takes up the most of your time?

In early spring, most of my time is spent on landscape design and our garden center plant and merchandise orders. As summer arrives, more time is spent with our landscape crews and client meetings.  

What are some of your best practices?

Brian and I like to work with the crews on projects daily if we are able. We believe this is the best way to train our staff and answer questions from clients and our employees. We also like to give our staff the flexibility and ability to experiment with ideas and designs. We have an incredibly talented group working in the garden center and on our landscape crews. Their input is critical in making our continued growth profitable.

What’s the best part of your job?

Every day, there are new challenges and tasks to be accomplished. Having the opportunity to work and plan with an incredibly talented staff on a daily basis makes every day worth coming to work.

What’s the worst part of your job?

The long and physically demanding days of early spring. Also, there never seems to be enough hours in the day to accomplish all the projects that need to be completed.

Do you have any new projects in the works?

We helped form a not-for-profit effort called Restoration Farms, which has allowed us to work with schools and persons with disabilities, teaching them about local and sustainable food production. Our goal is to implement farm-to-school programs that get fresh, local produce in school lunches in Sheboygan County.

What does the future hold for you?

I want to continue working on philanthropic projects in our area to make our community stronger in education and sustainability. I would also like to travel to Europe to study their garden designs and retailers.

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