Libby Beard, owner
L ibby Beard admits she didn’t know much about horticulture when she became co-owner of the Vicksburg nursery her mother-in-law opened in the early 1980s. “Before my husband, Glen, and I bought the business in 2002, I had an office job,” Libby explains. “Glen had worked with his mother since he was a teenager and has managed the landscaping part of the business since he earned his landscape license. But I knew very little about plants, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and the other products we sold.” Although she was familiar with the day-to-day administrative duties at the Flower and Nursery Center, she knew she would need guidance to learn the horticultural aspects of the business. She had help from several sources, but she also relied heavily on the expertise and resources provided by the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “In the beginning, I asked a lot of questions and spent a lot of time just reading labels on our products,” Libby says. “Any time I came across something I needed to know or better understand, I could pick up the phone and call our county Extension agent. “I was also very fortunate to have a wonderful sales representative who helped me learn about the products and their uses. (My motherin-law) Ms. Bobbie, of course, taught me some things, and our
GROWING A BUSINESS Extension Helps Business Solve Problems
STORY BY SUSAN COLLINS-SMITH PHOTOS BY KEVIN HUDSON
20 Extension M A T T E R S
customers helped me learn a lot about the different plants,” she says. During their 14 years at the store, Libby and Glen have built a strong relationship with the Extension Service that helps them better serve customers and solve problems at the nursery. Anna McCain, Warren County Extension agent, says the Beards and their employees are regular participants in Extension horticultural programs.