101 Alameda Blvd NW
Albuquerque, NM 87114
Interview with Rick Hobson and Jennifer Timms-Hobson, Owners
What’s the history of Jericho Nursery?
(Rick) For 25 years I worked at Rowland Nursery. By 2005 I sensed an uneasiness within the company so I began thinking about what might come next for me. By way of divine inspiration, I felt that it was my destiny to start a new company.
(Jennifer) I had been working for Rowland’s, too, but also sensed issues brewing and took it upon myself to seek employment elsewhere. I happened to be visiting my brother in Las Vegas and called Rick on a Friday to see how things were progressing since Rowland’s was in the midst of their going out business sales. He told me that day was his last day, and that he was starting Jericho the next day. That evening I was back in Albuquerque with ledgers, files, some software and other office supplies to handle administrative details as we started the venture.
(Rick) To start the business, I cashed in my 401(K) and used my house as collateral for a line of credit. We had incredible support from local growers and suppliers, as well as several people who wanted to work with us (some worked for months without pay), and together we opened on a Saturday in October. We secured a shipment of Christmas trees, scrambled to make our own stands and sold every tree to get our cash flow going that first winter. Now, thanks to so many people and companies who supported us along the way, we have not only stayed in business, but we are thriving.
What sets your company apart from other nurseries?
We have four words that define our approach to business: service, quality, selection and knowledge. We stress the importance of service to all our employees and make sure each customer is greeted, often by multiple employees. We are actively involved with the business, working directly with customers, training our employees, and encouraging all sorts of community outreach including a bi-weekly radio show that keeps us connected to our customers and educates the public. It is one of our goals is to enhance people’s lives, including staff and customers. We like to ‘build people up’ and take pride in seeing employees grow.
What changes have you seen in the past two years?
During 2020 & 2021, we saw a tremendous rise in the grow your own food trend, which included a huge increase in soil sales, fruit trees, and veggies starts. We also saw interior plant sales skyrocket. On the downside, we saw shortages in plant material in general and that trend is continuing into this season, which makes it a little difficult to meet our customers’ needs.
Do you think the Covid inspired new gardeners will continue to buy plants?
I think for some, it may not continue as their lives and routines become normal again. We are hopeful that many of the new gardeners that entered the market will remain customers, even if it’s not to the same extent as during the pandemic. We hope people connected with the feeling that their home became their sanctuary and saw how plants created peace and beauty in their living environments.
Where does CNGA fit into your business? Probably best of all, we value how CNGA can make professionals more professional. If we can continue to expand our training and certification opportunities, it becomes easier for us to “grow” ourselves and our staff which in turn leads to greater pride in our industry overall. That’s important to us!