Mike Scholerman, Round Butte Seed Bend store Manager.
Round Butte Seed has been an integral part of Central Oregon since 1961, thriving through half a century of economic ups and downs. Their stores in Bend, Prineville, Culver and Christmas Valley are a haven for gardeners, farmers, ranchers and landscapers. Round Butte carries everything from fertilizers, soil amendments and sprays, to wildflower/grass seeds and gardening supplies—they also have an amazing supply of livestock supplies and feed as well as pet supplies. Their expert staff consults with area farmers and gardeners to help them get the best from our High Desert soil and climate.
How has your business been impacted by the economic downturn?
Round Butte Seed carries products and services for a pretty wide variety of customers, so the impacts have been mixed. For necessary items like fertilizers, animal feed and so on, people had investments to maintain, so sales in those areas weren’t hit too hard. However, luxury items like glass birdbaths, for example, all but stopped selling. 2007-2008 were hard years for everyone, but we just buckled down and kept doing what we do best. The past two years have been pretty good—some of our competition dropped off, agriculture has been getting stronger, and people are once more buying luxury items. It seems that people have more money to spend on hobby farms and gardens than they did even a few years ago. 2011-12 have been better years for us and we feel optimistic about the future.
How have you reinvented yourselves to stay in business?
We pay a lot of attention to trends in our industries, and we have listened closely to our customers. Over the past decade or so, we have really expanded our gardening, landscaping, wild bird products and services.
We are also keeping ourselves current with technology. We are just finishing a new website, replete with high-quality video and current photos. Our new site will offer fresh writing and video “how to” content, along with lots of resources for everyone from gardeners to farmers. All of this is being nicely integrated with our Facebook. We’re even talking about sharing great ideas on Pinterest.
What are your goals going forward in our present economic climate?
We’ve upheld a standard of excellence for many years, but we look at every season as a chance to learn even more and continue improving. Many people are aware of what a paradise Round Butte is for gardeners and landscapers, but we’re so much more. One goal is to raise awareness that we also carry an incredible variety of supplies and products for livestock and pet owners—from feed and vet meds to dog toys.
Another goal is to educate and inform people even better—that’s one of the primary motivations for creating a new website, video and improving our social media. We are going to have a page devoted to providing farmers and ranchers with daily, up-to-date information, and we are going to have a lot of resources for gardeners, wild bird enthusiasts, livestock and hobby farm people and pet owners.
What have been the keys to your continued success?
Keeping our roots strong while branching out to new ground, we continue to grow and delight our customers.