I walked into the quaint store of Boatman Garden Center to be greeted by an enormous Bernese mountain dog that was just the sweetest thing. I smiled with glee at the kind, hairy acquaintance as another gentle giant stays on the other side of the counter.
The dog greeters are one of Boatman Garden Center’s most unique features in addition to the variety of products in the gift shop, antique center and floral paradise owned by Tammy Boatman.
“We get a truck load of stuff a week, so the store is always changing,” said Boatman. “We do both DIY and the brand-new stuff.”
But this isn’t Boatman’s first rodeo. She’s had businesses before, and her passions eventually led to her current ventures. It all started with Boatman’s sister selling do-it-yourself garden art and developing the customer base for that — when she left, however, her customers didn’t.
Boatman Garden Center is versatile as a host for wedding and party rentals, as well as classes where people can learn different projects involving food and beverages. There’s also a ladies’ night out, every so often: women arrive and hang out at the store with 10 percent of sales going to a local charity.
With so many things that Boatman does in her life, it’s akin to a juggling act that’s as fun as it is fast-paced. She owns two other companies besides her garden center, and she tends to hold things together well through tenacity, seeing things through and sticky notes.
“Just don’t think about it,” Boatman said, referring to the doubts and pressures involved. “Keep going and don’t let it overwhelm you.”
Relearning the clientele for each time Boatman opens a business has been a minor struggle, but never without its rewards. Testing the waters to see what works and what doesn’t has always been a good way to stay fresh, busy and self-taught.
“Pinterest helps! Seeing what colors and styles are in really helps — there is so much reference stuff online,” said Boatman.
For now, Boatman has goals to branch out, expanding Boatman Garden Center’s products, services and locations. With a mindset always on the move, her advice for women trying to open their businesses comes as no surprise: take a deep breath and give what you love to do a try.
“If you have a passion for something, just try it,” said Boatman. “Start small and feel your way around. Don’t be afraid to try something new.”