Cindy’s Home & Garden
On their quest to discover the ultimate home and garden centre, Ken and Christine Martin have traveled to various locations throughout North America. Recently, their search has brought them much closer to home… their own backyard! Situated behind their home on Seacliff Drive in the Town of Kingsville sits Cindy’s Home and Garden. The newly erected 4000 square foot gift shop is backed by numerous greenhouses loaded with an array of plants, flowers, and garden accessories. Ken Martin, owner of Cindy’s believes his unique gift shop will satisfy many visitors. “This is a one-of-a-kind gift shop with a variety of top quality merchandise,” says Martin. “We want to make it an experience for all the customers who visit.”
Over 20 years in business
Ken started his business 20 years ago from one greenhouse in 1989 to five greenhouses , a business state side and a small gift store in 1997. In honour of his first wife, Cindy, who passed away in 1997 Ken chose to keep the name “Cindy’s Home and Garden.” Today, Ken Martin is happily married to Christine, who is also the designer and purchaser for the company. Martin explains that Christine has contributed an enormous amount of time and energy into the development of Cindy’s Home and Garden. Martin adds that Christine’s research into customer buying trends as well as her personal tastes in merchandise have contributed to the continued development and success of the business. While traveling together throughout North America, Ken and Christine were able to gather and create ideas they would later implement into the design of the gift shop.
After more than five years of utilizing greenhouse space to operate the original gift shop, the 4000 square foot facility and new parking lot opened in March 2004. Martin says that there was simply not enough space in the old shop and that on occasion, temperatures inside were unbearable for customers and product alike. “There were times when the candles inside the shop were melting,” recalls Martin. The new facility is designed to be spacious and comfortable for customers. The interior design includes broader aisles, air conditioning, and electrical power in the floor to specifically accent product displays. Moreover, a gas fireplace was installed in the “cozy room,” an area designed to mimic a comfortable family room atmosphere with wall prints on display. Throughout the store is a wide variety of unique merchandise including giftware, home decor, garden accents, nautical decor, and a plethra of “goodies”. Cindys has the largest variety of perennials in southwestern Ontario as well as an array of annuals,” say Ken.” As far as merchandise for the retail store to date Cindy’s boasts of many Canadian made product as well.”
Customer Service, Product Quality, and Value
Ken Martin feels that the success of Cindy’s Home and Garden is attributed to customer service, product quality and value for the dollar. With a staff that are identified as “Personal Shoppers” not just employees, they are taught at the onset that customer service is the top priority and is followed closely by product quality. “I stand behind my products one hundred percent, “notes Martin. Cindy’s is forever evolving to better serve our customers and to keep up with the times. With technology and the computer we can stay in touch with our customers and they are made aware instantly via our customer club e-mails and Cindy’s “Facebook” fans. They are informed of new products, events and sales as soon as possible. Always watching for an opportunity to grow the business from within and without Ken is true to his philosophy…never stop reaching, striving and be willing to change or the best may pass you by.Value for the dollar is a concept that Martin believes will gratify different types of consumers. “There is good quality and then there is better quality,” says Martin. “We cater to just about everyone. There are products ranging in price from $3.00 to $300.00. This is ideal for a clientele base that is largely residential.” To keep track of what customers are currently seeking, Ken Martin relies on his wife Christine. “Christine has read almost every arts and crafts book around.”
Martin adds that since the opening of his gift shop, the response from the public has been great. One thing that he has noticed is that customers are extending their stay inside the gift store. To make room for the new facility and parking lot, three greenhouses were relocated and positioned at the rear. Martin is happy that the entire business is still situated behind the home he and Christine live in. “Being able to live here and manage the business is great. I can literally keep an eye on what’s going on,” he says.
As for the future, Martin says the company will focus on the development of the gift store and the public demand for products. “Christine and I use common sense when it comes to purchasing and displaying products. People’s tastes change all the time so we must change with them,” stresses Martin.
Ken Martin’s company has come a long way since consisting of a single greenhouse operation back in 1989. With the latest addition to Cindy’s Home and Garden, Martin is emphatic about his company’s future and the impact he is hoping to have on outside visitors and local residents.
“Just give the store a chance and you will see for yourself that there is not another place around like this one,” says Martin.
Cindy’s Home & Garden is proud to announce the opening of Cindy’s Too! The Martins have moved from their home and converted it into a whimsical country store called “Cindy’s Too!”
“You can enjoy a handscooped ice-cream, muffins and pastries, delicious fudge, specialty coffee and tea and much more,” said Tammy Whiteside, Cindy’s Home & Garden Manager, “You will want to bring the whole family and enjoy a treat while sitting on the patio or underneath mini hot air balloons inside.”
The idea of adding a country store was an obvious conclusion to Ken Martin, Owner. Ken found often that women would get out of the car while the men would stay behind and wait for them. “Now they can come in and read the paper and enjoy a refreshment” says Ken.
It was important for the Martins that Cindy’s be a destination for the entire family – Now it is!