Sargent’s Expert Feature – Cathy Hanson, 2nd St. Asst. Manager

When you’ve been doing what you’re passionate about within a business for 27 years, you’re bound to meet a great variety of people, wear a plethora of “hats,” and answer a number of requests, but getting a kiss from a customer…? Sargent’s on 2nd Assistant Manager Cathy Hanson tells the story.

“There was an older gentleman that came into the store pushing his wife in a wheelchair and looking for shrubs. I asked if I could help him and he said no, he would find them. I walked with him out into the lot and asked him if he was sure I couldn’t assist. He said no,” Cathy says. 

After watching to make sure they did indeed find the shrub section, she later noticed the couple coming back towards the checkout. “I looked up and he was pushing his wife in the wheelchair with the shrub on her lap! I met him half way and told him I would carry the shrub up to the checkout for him. At the checkout he thanked me multiple times and turned and gave me a kiss on my cheek! Only time I was ever kissed by a customer… other than my husband!”

Customer service is one “hat” Cathy wears while helping with day to day operations within the store. In order to keep things running smoothly, Cathy is also on top of making signage, ordering products, answering questions or problem solving issues for customers and setting up displays in the 2nd Street store. The mentioned displays are now full of new holiday decorations and Christmas ornaments for your tree which Cathy loves.

“Every year, I look forward to the Christmas season at Sargent’s. It is one of my favorite times, I love the decorating, the smell of evergreens, the music, the smiles, the excitement, all of it!”

As spring approaches, that excitement switches to life and gardens outside. Growing up on a hobby farm in Wisconsin, she loved being around animals and plants. That passion was largely infused by her grandmother “who loved to grow things and teach us about nature.” Cathy says. “In her garden, along with flowers, she would also have fruits and single trees of many different species just to see how they would grow. Her garden was different than anyone else I knew. She would take us hiking in the bluffs around our area and taught us the names of the flowers we discovered.”

After working in a career in child development, her passion for gardening was calling her a different direction. So Cathy went back to school, becoming part of the first Horticulture class at RCTC and then to Sargent’s. The knowledge she’s gained from school, 27 years at Sargent’s and her own constant learning, she shares now with customers.

“I really enjoy talking with my customers and hearing their gardening stories and helping them with solutions for any problems they might be having or sharing any knowledge that I can to make their gardening experience easier or more rewarding,” Cathy says.

Scott Moon, Sargent’s on 2nd Manager, sees this enjoyment in Cathy as well saying, “Cathy’s love of gardening shows everyday. She has so much knowledge to share to make all of us succeed while dedicated to helping customers as well as her fellow employees succeed. We’re lucky to have her on our team!” 

Sometimes she sees customers getting stressed by not having the perfect garden, plant or lawn. “I try and remind them that gardening is a learning process and each season is a chance to improve on the last one. The reason most of us garden is because we thought it would be fun or wanted to see what we could grow. If you’re not enjoying it then it’s time to decrease the garden space or plant in pots. Find a way to bring back the reason you started gardening!”

“When I am outside and working or enjoying plants I am able to be creative, productive, relaxed, energetic, and just happy,” Cathy concludes. “Gardening is something you can do no matter who you are or how you feel. Gardening can make a good day even better or help me work off a bad day!”