Nestled in the middle of Salt Lake Valley in Utah and surrounded by mountains as high as 11,329 feet, Jordan Garden Center has evolved from a modest plant nursery to a full-service outdoor power equipment hub over the last 127 years. Today, the family business serves all of Utah and its surrounding states, including Wyoming and Nevada.
Albert Glover started the business in 1893, naming it Jordan Nursery after the area that was then called Jordan Valley. Glover was said to have been inspired by the study of botany during a Mormon mission trip to England, during which he became acquainted with one of Queen Victoria’s gardeners, learning the art of cultivating, propagating and grafting trees and shrubs.
Glover’s great-grandsons, Bryce and Chad, now operate Jordan Garden center. Bryce recalled the humble beginnings of the company, which has since greatly expanded.
“He opened the nursery not long after coming back from his trip to England,” he said. “Fast-forward a few decades, we then started to sell and service power equipment in the 1940s. Over the years, as we grew, we expanded our lineup and proudly added quality brands such as Ariens and Gravely.”
Bryce and Chad’s father, Paul Glover, ran the shop starting in the 1970s, and eventually passed it on to his children. These types of deep family ties are one of the reasons Jordan Garden Center remains successful. The company wants to extend this feeling to its employees, too, and tries to treat them as if they are part of the Glover family.
“We have a great culture,” Bryce said. “All of our six employees are friendly and knowledgeable. Because we’re a family business we treat our employees like family. We don’t have a high turnover rate and try to cultivate a fun and light work atmosphere.”
These employees bring to bear several decades of experience in the lawn and garden industry. Most have come from other shops and have a thorough understanding of the products sold and serviced at the garden center.
“We have sent most of our technicians to AriensCo’s service schools to provide the best possible service for our customers,” Bryce said.
Eyeing a growing trend towards professionally curated lawns in recent years, the business has increasingly catered to professional landscapers. According to Bryce, Jordan Garden Center has steadily grown its professional customer base and has set out to have most of its operations dedicated to landscapers in the long run.
Jordan Garden Center sells and services Ariens mowers and snowblowers, as well as Gravely zero-turn and stand-on mowers.
“We live in a desert, but people love to have a green lawn,” Bryce said. “The people of Utah really take pride in having a good-looking landscape. Customers are picky and looking for a mower that has a great cut, so we tend to sell a lot of mowers with baggers, which I feel is unique to our area.”
“Stand-on mowers have really taken the market over,” Bryce continued. “The Salt Lake area homes are getting smaller, and the Gravely Pro-Stance 36 is our best seller because it can get through most gates. Also, landscapers can get more units on their trailers, and it’s easier to get on and off the unit compared to a zero-turn.”
Bryce said Ariens has always been known for its reliable snowblowers, and that it invested time into translating this same level of confidence from customers over to the Gravely brand, particularly for professionals.
“I first heard about Ariens back in the 1990s. There were multiple people looking for their snowblowers when they would come into our store,” he said. “Since then, we have helped guide people toward the Gravely brand, and over time, the perception of Gravely being a quality product has started to pay off. We no longer have to convince professionals to buy Gravely branded products. They now come in specifically looking and asking for Gravely.”
Jordan Garden Center actively uses social media to promote its products and services. The company has a vigorous Facebook presence and recently added Instagram to further grow its online reach. But the growing trend towards digitalization also brings challenges.
Younger generations such as Millennials and Gen Zers, Bryce said, do a lot more research online before showing up at the shop.
“If you have a bad review, that’s probably going to hurt you,” he said. “If you have a part they need in stock, great, they’re going to get it from you. But if you don’t, they’re probably going to order it online. Basically, people already know about you before they come into your store. That puts the pressure on you to do your homework and be ready for them. Be prepared.”
Looking to the future, Bryce predicts a major increase in demand for battery-operated equipment.
“It might take a bit longer, but artificial intelligence will definitely have a huge impact on the industry. I think we will see autonomous mowers really take over the market when they are able to be used without a physical barrier and work well. As the price decreases, they will become more mainstream.”
Jordan Garden Center maintains a close relationship with AriensCo. Bryce has visited AriensCo’s factory in Brillion, Wisconsin, at least four times, including for AriensCo Dealer Summits and the chance to attend a Green Bay Packers game.
“I think we relate so well to AriensCo because we too have a family business that has been passed on for years and we love the company’s philosophy and how it treats us,” Bryce said. “We started with the manufacturer back in the early 2000s. At that time, AriensCo had been using a distributor out of California to serve Utah. As our sales grew with Ariens and Gravely, they decided to give the area to a full-time territory manager a few years back and this has been a great help.”
For Bryce, who started helping out at the shop as a kid in the 1990s, it’s the integrity of companies like AriensCo that has helped inspire and nurture his passion for the lawn care industry.
“I left for college, tried a few different jobs here and there, but always came back to work at the shop and eventually decided this is what I wanted to do,” he said. “I like how AriensCo does business. You can see the high quality, the dedication, the integrity in how the company is run.”
From one family-owned company to another, AriensCo is excited to partner with Jordan Garden Center for its next 127 years.