Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Anna Ohler of Bright Lane Gardens: Small Business Challenges

Welcome to the interview series with Jesse Samberg! Today, we have the pleasure of speaking with Anna Ohler, the owner of Bright Lane Gardens. Anna and her husband embarked on their business journey in 2019 when they purchased a commercial property and turned it into a plant nursery and event venue. Despite facing challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and rising costs, Anna and her husband have successfully navigated these obstacles with the help of their family and friends. Join us as we delve into Anna’s experiences in running a small business, memorable customer interactions, and her plans for the future of Bright Lane Gardens. Let’s get started!

Interviewee Name: Anna Ohler

Company: Bright Lane Gardens

Intervirew Host: Jesse Samberg

The Interview

Let’s get started. First, we’d like to know more about how you started your business journey

Anna Ohler : My husband and I have always wanted to start our own business, and had brainstormed several ideas in the past. We found a commercial property for sale in 2019 and we piled our life savings together so we could purchase the property. It was a fixer upper that required a lot of love, but we knew this was our best option to jump into business ownership. We purchased the property without a clear idea of what we wanted to do with it, but ultimately ended up turning it into a plant nursery and event venue.

Reflecting on your business history, what stands out as the single greatest challenge you’ve successfully navigated, and how did you overcome it?

Anna Ohler : We opened our business in 2020, and discovered we were unexpectedly pregnant during that time as well. It was very tough to balance the complexities of starting a new business, growing our family, and navigating the ever-changing landscape of the COVID 19 pandemic. We had to ask for a lot of help from our family and friends, and they helped us overcome these challenges and thrive on the other side.

Businesses often face ongoing challenges. What does your business consistently grapple with, and how do you tackle these challenges head-on?

Anna Ohler : Labor and rising costs of materials and inventory are a consistent challenge for us. We continue to shift our business model in small ways that help us reduce our need for labor overall. Additionally, we have added additional greenhouses to grow our own plants from seed instead of buying stock plants, which increases our profit margin and decreases our dependance on regional suppliers.

Can you share with us the most unforgettable story involving a customer or client? What made it memorable, and what lessons did you draw from the experience?

Anna Ohler : I don’t have a single customer that stands out, however over the years we have been visited by so many people from our past. Girls from my internships in college, past friends and distant family members, and past coworkers have all taken the time to stop by and visit our business. This has always stood out to me as a special honor. Everyone’s time and money is valuable, so to have these people from our past and present take the time out of their day to shop at our nursery is certainly an honor.

Looking ahead, what are your current plans for your business when you retire?

Anna Ohler : We have our hands involved in several projects and businesses at the moment, with Bright Lane Gardens being our brick-and-mortar business that we also consider to be a property investment. Our goal is to grow this property year after year, and eventually to rent out the entire property for special events and gatherings. If and when the time comes, we will sell our property and retire on the earnings we make from the sale, but to be honest I don’t see us ever fully retiring! We love to keep busy and work on projects, and this property and business keep us doing what we love!

Navigating the small business landscape can be both challenging and rewarding. Can you share a bit about the specific hurdles you’ve encountered in areas like sales, marketing, and adapting to changing customer trends?

Anna Ohler : Running a small business is expensive! Taxes, labor, cost of materials, and all of the other intricacies that come with it can make it a challenge. There was a major learning curve to just get started with our small business on the state/legal side of things. We’re required to have certain licenses to run a plant nursery, and different insurance to run an event venue. Keeping all of this organized is a full time job, but we are getting better at it year after year!

Leaders Perception magazine would like to thank Anna Ohler and “Bright Lane Gardens” for the time dedicated to completing this interview and sharing their valuable insights with our readers!

Interested in connecting with the host of this interview series? Feel free to reach out to Jesse Samberg on LinkedIn: Jesse Samberg’s LinkedIn Profile

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