On busy Mill Plain Boulevard, right off of Southeast 100th Avenue in Vancouver, you’ll find one of Clark County’s many locally-owned businesses: Shorty’s Garden and Home. But if you look closely enough, you’ll find that this family-run business, which has another location in Ridgefield, has put a stamp on the community that extends far beyond Mill Plain.
For more than 40 years, Shorty’s has been helping local neighborhoods thrive by partnering up for events that fall in line with the nursery’s own mission to help nonprofits that needed a boost.
“It’s a smaller community than it seems,” says General Manager Colin Mahoney. “In the last several years, with the way the economy has gone, those requests have increased.”
So over the decades, Shorty’s has continued to throw time, products and money at community events that are helping people in the greater Vancouver area. While it’ll offer help to 50 to 100 small groups who ask each year (just fill out the form on its website), the business focuses annual giving on larger efforts to improve the environment and help neighborhood kids.
“Children in our community grow into adults,” explained Mahoney. “These events and nonprofits allow kids to stay healthy and active outdoors away from video games and other distractions.”
From events with the Parks Foundation, to the local Master Gardeners Group, to kicking-off to the holiday season with Festival of Trees, you’ll see signs of Shorty’s philanthropic efforts nearly everywhere in town.
“It’s interesting and fun to see so many people come out and get engaged in what they’re doing,” said Mahoney.
The effort to give back isn’t all work and no play for Shorty’s and its employees. Just around the corner is their huge annual Oktoberfest event benefitting the Fort Vancouver Regional Library Foundation.
“You’re going to see the most authentic Oktoberfest in our area,” said Mahoney. “You’re going to see a band straight from Bavaria. Authentic food, authentic beer – you can’t get any closer to the real Oktoberfest anywhere in Clark County. It’s a no brainer. Buy your tickets and come on down and enjoy it.”
Tickets are available on Shorty’s website (www.shortysgardenandhome.com) for the September 23rd event at its Mill Plain location. Buy in advance and you’ll save $5 off the $25 gate price.
So you want to give back?
When it comes to offering advice to new businesses who want to start down a philanthropic path Mahoney says to take baby steps.
“Be precise and deliberate with what you do,” he said.
While many people and companies have the giving spirit, you want to make sure you have your business off the ground and everything in order first according to Mahoney. At that point, he said, make sure to research where you want your resources to go.
“Find an organization that is a good fit and dedicate yourself to working with them,” said Mahoney.
If you’re not a business owner but just looking for some new plants for your front yard, Shorty’s can help you give back to your own neighborhood by improving the look on the block.
Shorty’s strives to give customers quality products and the tools to be successful with them, Mahoney explained. In addition to buying tips, he said the nursery also offers free seminars on a range of garden-related topics that anyone is welcome to check out.
It’s just one more way that Shorty’s Garden and Home is giving back to Southwest Washington.