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Single Store Category: Dodds & Eder, Oyster Bay, N.Y.

Single Store Category: Dodds & Eder, Oyster Bay, N.Y.

After more than 110 years in business, Long Island's Dodds & Eder has proven it can handle an economic downturn. This time, it's relying on strong customer service and a new revenue channel to buck market conditions.

Standing: Joseph McLaughlin. Seated from left: Jo-Ann Perkins, Dorothy “Dottie” Simons, Carrie Leopold, Katie McLaughlin

The retailer is starting to build its business in the landscape build and design trade. General manager Dottie Simons said she and her staff begin working with the designers and builders after the projects have kicked off.

“One client in particular loves to do business with us because we're the last one in before the check gets handed over, and we always put a smile on their clients' faces,” Simons said.

This business has turned out to be a boon for Dodds & Eder. Not only are they working with new clients, the landscape builders and designers, but these clients are also introducing the retailer to their clients, who become loyal Dodds & Eder customers.

“By doing that kind of work, the consumer learns we're willing to come in and provide design advice and create the whole elegant outdoor look they want,” said Simons. “The minute we get in their back yard, that's it. They get comfortable with us.”

The main reason those and other Dodds & Eder customers are so loyal is the service they get. Simons said the whole operation, including the garden center and nursery, is 75 employees, with 22 in the retail division. But everyone pitches in to respond to customers' needs right away. There is no chain-of-command issue. The bottom line is a quick response to the customer.

Dodds & Eder caters to its Long Island clientele with this nautical-themed vignette.

Simons said Dodds & Eder service is also all-encompassing. Employees will set up their customers' outdoor space at the start of the season and take it all down at the end of the season.

“It's a lot of work on our end,” said Simons. “But as soon as their umbrellas don't look so good they'll come to us to get a new one.”

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