How We Grew Our Business
A staff photo from the early days of Gardener's Supply.
Our signature garden cart has been rated "Excellent" by a leading consumer magazine
A catalog cover from 1986
Gardener’s Supply began with a mission that’s exactly the same today as it was when we started in 1983:
We are in business to spread the joys and rewards of gardening, because gardening nourishes the body, elevates the spirit, builds community, and makes the world a better place.
The idea for Gardener’s Supply began germinating in 1982. Back then, it was difficult for organic gardeners to find the tools and supplies they needed for the way they gardened. Will Raap, an avid organic gardener himself, saw an opportunity to fill this gap. From spending time in Europe, he knew that gardeners there could choose from a wide range of quality gardening tools and supplies. So he began importing these items and offering them for sale through the mail. The idea was an instant success.
In 1983, Will and eight others founded a company, which they named Gardener’s Supply. From the start, this Vermont-based, employee-owned business was lead by avid gardeners, eager to find quality tools and earth-friendly gardening supplies that they could use in their own gardens, and share with friends and customers. This gardener-to-gardener partnership is at the heart of our business.
In addition to importing tools and other gardening sundries from Europe, Gardener’s Supply also established its own research and development capabilities. Products from commercial agriculture were adapted for home use, and staff developed new products that addressed specific gardening challenges. This focus on product development plays a key part in our continuing success.
This commitment to promoting gardening, health, earth stewardship, and vibrant communities has strengthened over time and is a source of pride for our employee-owners. Corporate giving, at the rate of 8% of pre-tax profits, has allowed our donations program to distribute more than $1.6 million in cash and products to local and national non-profit organizations that are making the world a better place through gardening.