January 2024 - 66

5 MINUTES WITH ...
5
MINUTESWITH
By Teresa McPherson
Michael Fiore is vice president of Smith's
Gardentown, a fourth-generation familyowned
nursery and garden center in
Wichita Falls, Texas.
What made you choose horticulture as a career?
It chose me - twice! I was born into the business and
worked in it growing up. However, once I reached college age,
I left the business to get my degree in wildlife and fisheries
science, thinking I'd be a game warden or biologist or
something. After finishing school, I moved to the rainforests
of Costa Rica, then Peru, where I ended up staying for four
more years. I thought I would live there forever, but a crazy
turn of events (we'll save that story for another day) ended
up bringing me back to the U.S. and the family business in
2015 - and I haven't looked back ever since.
What do you love about your job?
There's so much I love about it. I love the variety that it
brings. I couldn't stand working at a job doing the same
thing every day. I love connecting people to nature. I love
educating people - that's why we put such an emphasis
on producing videos for our social media platforms. The
people I meet within the industry at trade shows are
incredible folks as well. What's not to love?
66 | LAWN & GARDEN RETAILER | JANUARY 2024
As a family business, what measures do you take to
separate the family part from the business part?
At first it was hard. Being the owner's son means you're
held to higher levels of scrutiny from your coworkers. You
really have to lean into your work ethic, commitment and
moral character. Respect has to be earned, and it can take
years for that to happen. Now, I try to embrace the family
side of it. I like to have my kids come up to the nursery and
hang out and play whenever possible.
What's something that few people know
about you?
I used to sing and play guitar a lot, including leading
worship for a couple of churches. I have not sang in front of a
crowd in a long time now, I rarely play guitar anymore and I've
lost the calluses on my fingertips. I think I'll pick the guitar
back up again when I get out of this busy season in my life.
Favorite plant to grow? Why?
I've been big on catmint for the last several years. There
are many good cultivars out there - 'Walker's Low' is a
workhorse in the landscape. It's early to wake up in the spring,
late to go to sleep in the fall, it blooms for a long time, and the
bees go crazy for it. It also handles the extreme heat in Texas
like a champ.
Michael
Fiore

January 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of January 2024

Editor's Letter
Table of Contents
AmericanHort
Headlines
Calendar
Innovative Ideas: Creating a Team culture
Green Goods: New Varieties for 2024
Showcase: Miniature and Indoor Gardening
Garden Gifts: Prepare Now for Market
Garden Gifts: Gift Market Lookbook
Management: Cultivating Innovation in the Garden Center
Showcase: Garden Accents & Décor
Merchandising: Revamp Your Retail Series Merchandising
Merchandising: Give Your Tool Display a Tune-Up
Consumer Trends: 2024 Gardening Outlook Infographic
Showcase: Apparel & Accessories
Marketplace
Ad Index
5 Minutes With ...: Michael Fiore
January 2024 - 1
January 2024 - 2
January 2024 - 3
January 2024 - Editor's Letter
January 2024 - 5
January 2024 - Table of Contents
January 2024 - 7
January 2024 - AmericanHort
January 2024 - 9
January 2024 - Headlines
January 2024 - Calendar
January 2024 - Innovative Ideas: Creating a Team culture
January 2024 - 13
January 2024 - Green Goods: New Varieties for 2024
January 2024 - 15
January 2024 - 16
January 2024 - 17
January 2024 - 18
January 2024 - 19
January 2024 - 20
January 2024 - 21
January 2024 - 22
January 2024 - 23
January 2024 - Showcase: Miniature and Indoor Gardening
January 2024 - 25
January 2024 - Garden Gifts: Prepare Now for Market
January 2024 - Garden Gifts: Gift Market Lookbook
January 2024 - 28
January 2024 - 29
January 2024 - Management: Cultivating Innovation in the Garden Center
January 2024 - 31
January 2024 - 32
January 2024 - 33
January 2024 - 34
January 2024 - 35
January 2024 - Showcase: Garden Accents & Décor
January 2024 - 37
January 2024 - Merchandising: Revamp Your Retail Series Merchandising
January 2024 - 39
January 2024 - 40
January 2024 - 41
January 2024 - Merchandising: Give Your Tool Display a Tune-Up
January 2024 - 43
January 2024 - 44
January 2024 - 45
January 2024 - 46
January 2024 - 47
January 2024 - Consumer Trends: 2024 Gardening Outlook Infographic
January 2024 - 49
January 2024 - Showcase: Apparel & Accessories
January 2024 - 51
January 2024 - Marketplace
January 2024 - 53
January 2024 - 54
January 2024 - 55
January 2024 - 56
January 2024 - 57
January 2024 - 58
January 2024 - 59
January 2024 - 60
January 2024 - 61
January 2024 - 62
January 2024 - 63
January 2024 - Ad Index
January 2024 - 65
January 2024 - 5 Minutes With ...: Michael Fiore
January 2024 - 67
January 2024 - 68
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