Jeff Ramert has worked in the gardening industry for almost 40 years, since the early 1980s (Kelsey Thompson / Community Impact Journal)
As spring arrived in central Texas, the silent buzz of patrons at Round Rock Garden Center woke up on a Thursday morning as guests began searching for new houseplants and browsing through rows of vegetables.
The Murffy Nursery opened at the Old Town Round Rock location in 1972. Owners Jeff and Stephanie Ramert opened the Round Rock Garden Center on the site in 2002, offering products such as houseplants, garden vegetables, flowers, soil and outdoor decorations.
Over the past year, growing popularity among home gardening trends and a younger clientele have helped propel the business from relative obscurity to a community staple, the Ramerts said.
“We’ve been an overnight success for 20 years,” said Jeff Ramert with a laugh. “For the past 20 years, it was kind of anonymous. And then all of a sudden, last year, people recognized us. It was a big change for us.
While the past year has marked increased public awareness and success for the company, the Ramerts said it hasn’t happened without its fair share of hardships. In March 2020, a generally most profitable month for greenhouses, turned into lost income leading to the layoff of three quarters of the company’s staff.
For a company that prides itself on customer service and for owners who view their employees as extended family, Ramert said the decision was tough. Since then, he said the majority of the staff were rehired last summer.
“A year ago today was not a fun day, I’ll tell you,” he said. “But we were able to persevere.
Reflecting on nearly 40 years in the business and the past two decades at Round Rock, Ramert said some of his favorite memories are Saturday night dinners with the garden center staff and watching his two teenage boys start to work for the company.
Working in the gardening industry has been a family affair, he said. With his two children now assisting in the store, this is Ramert’s fourth generation to work in the company.
Growing up and working in the gardening industry, he laughed and said he never thought he would stay in the profession. Now Ramert said he couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
“It has been a labor of love for us for many, many years,” he said.