Botanical Concepts Garden Center (BCGC) is 1.3 miles east of north Main Avenue, at the intersection of County Roads 251 & 250. Janine Collins loves this location. She is the owner, and botanist, of BCGC. Janine views BCGC as a community where people come to immerse with nature. “I’m in a place where I am a part of the bigger picture.”
Janine’s passion for botany began when she was an archeologist. She had more interest in the indigenous plants than the archeological sites themselves. Janine left archeology to purchase a landscape business with a focus on botany. Her most recent career change came in 2016 as she began the purchase of an existing nursery (owned by a botanist), which is now BCGC. The transitions brought her closer to doing what she loved.
Janine’s friend recommended the Small Business Development Center, (SBDC) at Fort Lewis College, for guidance to obtain a loan. SBDC could also teach her how to construct a business plan. How a loan applicant presents information to a bank’s loan officer is very important. Janine followed through on the recommendation and signed up for SBDC’s Leading Edge program. The program was just about to start as Janine was in the initial stages of buying the nursery. The LE program provides a model for entrepreneurs learning how to take their idea, develop it, and finish with a complete business plan. “I learned things about marketing, accounting, and insurance that were extremely helpful. The class was invaluable with information. I learned how to negotiate the customer price (a monetary amount a customer base provides a business, which is included in the sale price) when calculating my offer for Botanical Concepts.”
Janine finished the LE program with a completed plan and qualified for a loan. She keeps abreast on the programs and classes SBDC offers. Janine has taken classes on marketing and QuickBooks. QuickBooks helped simplify her day schedule. Janine spends less time in the office and more time with the plants. “That’s where I want to be, outside with the plants and customers. I can’t just hire out jobs. I can learn how to do this myself.”
Janine is very happy SBDC is available to her. “If I have a question about anything, all I have to do is pick up the phone and call them. SBDC works as a hub; connecting people with businesses and community. They just want to help you.”