Valley View Farms: A foundation built on family and loyalty

Valley View Farms: A foundation built on family and loyalty

Features - Cover Feature: Top 100 IGCs

By opening at 7 a.m. every day and offering other perks, Valley View Farms puts customers first.

October 5, 2015

Many companies frown on hiring members from the same family, but at Valley View Farms, the more family, the better. Hiring friends and relatives of existing employees is allowed and encouraged — even when working in the same department, as multiple generations of several families can attest.

Greenhouse manager and company spokesperson Carrie Engel credits Valley View’s family focus and the loyalty it breeds as the fuel behind the company’s success. Like many employees at the business, she started there in her teens. Even with a five-year break, she’s logged nearly 40 years at Valley View. Numerous employees have been there as long or longer.

The family-owned IGC takes great care in treating its employees like family. “It’s the loyalty the owners show to us and us to them – we really are like family,” Engel says. “They’re behind us 100 percent and show up in every way.”

And when employees are taken care of, customers are, too.
 

Customers first

With a 7 a.m. opening time seven days a week, Valley View employees keep customers’ needs at the forefront. The early hours stem from the company’s start as a roadside vegetable stand more than 50 years ago. “It’s the produce-farmer mentality,” Engel says. With most key personnel already on hand between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. each day, adding a cashier for customers wanting to shop those hours seemed a given.

On-demand services are encouraged, too. “If a customer wants a pot planted up or needs something more, we’re ready and happy to do it right there,” she explains. “We also make sure employees are well-trained, so even a 17-year-old can take care of anything a customer needs.” Though the IGC doesn’t do on-site work, they allow employees to take on the added work on their own time. “Our employees appreciate it, and it helps out the customer,” Engel says.
 

Consistency in the process

Rather than trying new things to increase customer traffic and revenue, Valley View keeps a sharp eye on improving existing products and services first. Though they aren’t official company slogans, “Do what we do better” and “Do the details!” are ingrained in the company’s work ethic. That type of thinking and action to match keeps departments growing and improving. Only when room for improvement can’t be found is it time to move on.

Valley View’s numerous long-term employees establish a consistent foundation that allows them to build from season to season and generation to generation. This past spring, founder Billy Foard turned the company’s reins over to his son Andy, a Valley View veteran with nearly four decades of service behind him.

Engel sees the change in leadership as one more united step forward for the devoted workforce. “It’s our mutual integrity and respect,” she says. “We know that’s what it takes. We’re proud of each other and take joy in each other’s success.”

When a recent visit by an important industry group approached, Engel confides that there were a few concerned minutes of planning what needed to be done to prepare for and accommodate the visitors. Then she realized the work was already done. “We didn’t do anything different from any other day,” she says. “All we had to do was be ourselves, and do what we do.”