Shorty’s Garden Center creates beauty for 40 years

Since first opening, Shorty’s has become a full-service garden center with two locations

Flowers in Shorty's Garden Center
Shorty’s Garden Center has two locations that specialize in trees, shrubs, perennials, vegetables, bulk soil products, garden gifts and more. Courtesy of Shorty’s Garden Center

Shorty’s Garden Center has been helping gardeners of all kinds since the 1970s and has since become a full-service garden center that serves Clark County in its two locations.

The company primarily sold bark dust in the beginning, but over time, plant material was added to include what is offered today. Now, they not only sell bark dust, but specialize in trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, vegetables, bulk soil products, garden gifts and more. Their resident cat Kammie can be found wandering the grounds at the Mill Plain store, and their resident hummingbird Lucy, who has been there several years, can be seen tending to her babies.

The company’s original owner, Ron Fornier, settled in the area after working on the Bonneville Dam and had earned the nickname Shorty. After discovering that the local timber industry produced an abundant by-product called bark dust, he set up a bark dust yard and delivery service on his property in Ridgefield. The company grew from there and has since changed ownership, most recently in 2016 with the acquisition by Dennis’ 7 Dees. Today, Shorty’s Garden Center employs just more than 30 people, and since the recession, they have seen steady growth and a slight increase in their employee count.

Shorty’s Garden Center continues to look for ways to be involved in the local community and holds multiple fundraising events during the year, while donating proceeds to local charities and nonprofits. Their upcoming Art in the Garden event will support local artists and profits will be donated to Second Chance Companions. The company is also currently in the midst of planning a large event in the fall that will allow them to partner with a well-known local foundation, which will be announced soon.

“We’ve found that, like us, many people like to support local business,” said Jeff Olson, corporate sales manager. “Shorty’s buys as much as we can from local growers to help support the local economy, just as our customers do.  Shorty’s lives and breathes customer service.  We train our staff to provide the best service we possibly can.  Our mantra is ‘just be nice!’ If everyone were to do that, the world would be a far better place. We also employ such knowledgeable staff that there is always a steady stream of guest with questions, or baggies full of plant samples for us to diagnose.”

Shorty’s also employs skilled container designers, so if customers want to bring in their container, the designer can help select plants that fit the site conditions and color palate. Rental equipment is available, and there are plant and bark dust delivery options available seven days a week.

Shorty’s has two locations – one at 10006 SE Mill Plain Blvd., in Vancouver, and one at 705 NE 199th St., in Ridgefield.

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A lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, Brooke Strickland is a full time freelance writer & social media specialist that specializes in writing blogs and other website content for local and national companies. She is also the co-author of Hooked on Games, a book about technology and video game addiction.