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Entrepreneur and owner of Verde Design + Horticulture, Pamela Rodgers’ secrets to the success of her blossoming landscape architecture design business come down to three P’s: Passion, Perseverance and Patience.
It Starts with Passion
Pamela Rodgers, entrepreneur and owner of Verde Design + Horticulture of Newport, RI grew up gardening with her grandfather, but never thought of it could be her profession. When life brought her to California, she started working in a local greenhouse as she took classes on the side. Referred by her employer, she was accepted into the horticulture program at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. From there her passion blossomed, and she realized that the hobby she enjoyed from the time she was a child could be her career path. After working in several professional gardens, she received her degree in landscape architecture and moved to Newport, RI in 2007.
While her passion was there, the jobs weren’t, and thus Verde Design was born. That first year showed Pamela that she had what it takes to run her own business and succeed. When the Great Recession began in 2008, business slowed and brought Pamela back to her roots. She went back to basics, getting her hands dirty in the garden.
“It was really important for me to be present and personable so I could build up my clientele, and bring back those that were a bit uncertain about the economy with the way it was,” Pamela says when asked what she did to get through that time.
Perseverance Pays Off
Thinking back on those harder years, Pamela’s advice is simple, “Don’t give up. It didn’t all fall into place immediately. While we had initial success, the following years really gave me respect for what it takes to run a small business. Around year four, things finally clicked, and I finally had a paycheck.”
It’s also important to know what you can handle and create balance. For Pamela, that meant renting instead of purchasing during those initial years and keeping her original goals in mind. For Verde Design, it was important to provide a quality experience and stay small. While sourcing the best quality is difficult, Pamela looks to other local businesses for many of her plants and supplies, on occasion traveling to Long Island for annuals and specialty plants that add to her robust design offering. With the right products, small business owners face the challenge of finding the right people as well. The balancing act continued for Pamela when she started searching for staff members to join her expanding business and knowing when to contract out certain parts of the design execution process. Her patience has paid off, and she’s been able to mold her employees based on what they’re good at.
Patience and Waiting for the Right Time
After carefully cultivating her business through using the right products, finding exceptional team members and learning balance Pamela knew something was missing. While she was renting a location on Bellevue Avenue, mostly for storage purposes, she wanted to bring everything together with the opportunity to have a store front for a more consistent income during the winter months. Encouraged by Russell Gaston at Ocean State Business Development, she looked at the location where the Newport Bicycle had once resided but had been out-of-use for some time.
“When I saw the location, I loved it immediately. The area is up and coming, and the size would allow us to have storage, a place to meet with clients and showcase our style while adding a storefront for additional income. It was scary, though. Growth is uncomfortable, but if you’re comfortable you’re not growing,” Pamela stated about the location and the decision to move forward with looking for financing.
Pamela already had an established relationship with Savings Institute Bank & Trust and with Russell’s guidance got in touch with Commercial Loan Officer Cristina Feden. In partnership with Ocean State Business Development, Savings Institute Bank & Trust was able to provide the Commercial SBA Mortgage loan Pamela needed to grow her business.
“Everyone was right,” Pamela says, looking back on the decision to purchase the location. “This was the best direction for Verde Design, and I’m really proud of what we’ve done. It’s a dream come true.”
Pamela proves that with passion, perseverance and patience a small business can and will succeed. Savings Institute Bank & Trust is proud to have been able to help her accomplish her business expansion goals through a Commercial SBA Mortgage loan. Is your business looking to grow? We’re here to help. To learn more, please contact Cristina Feden at (401) 447- 4326 or by email at Cristina_Feden@banksi.com
Cristina Feden provides commercial lending services to our Aquidneck Island offices, as well as to all of Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. Cristina has more than 10 years of banking experience with significant C&I and Real Estate lending expertise.