Saturday, February 27, 2010

Earning a reputation…

Earning a good reputation is always a long and hard fought battle…earning a bad one is very easy. I can relate to one of the big box stores in our area. Their level of understanding for good customer service is almost non-existent. It is truly hard to imagine in today’s business environment that any company just does not get it. On the flip side of this argument is the Wegman’s Food Markets, based here in Rochester. They have been cited for being the very best grocery chain in America, and for good reason. They have a complete understanding of high quality products and exemplary customer service. No one does it better in their marketplace.

You know friends, it is a mind set, and a company cannot waver. The Harris Seeds Company began in 1879 with these sets of principles, and they evolved over the next century. The company has always strived to put the very best products in the Harris Seeds catalogs through stringent product testing programs. But product alone will not cut it today. The customer cannot ever be taken for granted. It is the customer that makes everything good happen for our company. For me, it is pretty simple…take care of our customers and they will take care of us.

By example, Ken Ralph, a long retired salesman in New England for Harris Seeds, was reported to have had a 90% market share with New England growers. This is a phenomenally high number, but it did not happen by chance. Ken earned the respect of his customers by providing the very best products for their farms and coupled it with friendly and dependable service. That’s really all it takes.

In closing folks, here is our company motto:

We will strive with pride
to provide our customers with
the finest products available, coupled with
friendly and reliable service.

Dick Chamberlin - President

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Welcome friends to the Harris Seeds blog…

Bear with me friends, as I am a novice blogger. My name is Richard Chamberlin, president of the Harris Seeds Company. Allow me to welcome you to this new communication piece. I hope it will be fun. Over the term of this activity, I hope to provide you with some meaningful and interesting information on our company.

The Harris Seeds Company has a very strong tradition rooted in history, going back to 1879 when its first catalog was published. Around 1850, Joseph Harris, the original founder, emigrated from England to the fertile Genesee Valley of Western New York. His agricultural skills that he brought with him from England soon became well known with other growers in the area. Joseph Harris was very adept at selecting superior strains of grains and vegetables for future production. These superior strains soon became extremely popular with other growers in the region, and this demand for his seeds prompted Mr. Harris to start selling his seed products to other growers in 1879.

His business philosophy was quite simple…provide a high quality product at a fair price and my business shall succeed. And indeed it did. The company was guided through good and bad times by future generations of the Harris family. In the 1950s, the Harris Seeds plant breeding department was responsible for introducing many of the first market-leading vegetable hybrid varieties in the country. During this time, the company made a significant expansion in the professional vegetable marketplace throughout the country, all due to its hybrid vegetable seed program.

Joseph Harris, the grandson of the founder, was the last Harris to guide the family business. His long tenure at the company earned him the reputation as of one of the very best seedsmen in the country.

I started with Harris in 1981. My father, a long time Harris Seeds gardener, told me I was the luckiest man alive. It did not take me long to realize what he was talking about. I quickly fell in love with everything about the business and what it stood for. It was a far cry from my school teaching days. Harris Seeds was one of the most respected seed businesses in the country, fully vested in good principles and high quality standards. These high standards that I learned back in the beginning remain today.

As we move forward, I hope to share with my readers many of the values that have made our company one of the most trusted names in the seed business today…stay tuned!