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Multistore Category: The Greenhouse Mall, Austin, Texas

Multistore Category: The Greenhouse Mall, Austin, Texas

Clockwise, from top left: Tracy Wolfrom, Karen Galindo, Paul Galindo and Paul Parker with Cayenne.

Karen Galindo is a contrarian, and finds that approach works well for The Greenhouse Mall, a chain of three stores in south central Texas. As other businesses pull back on marketing and advertising, for instance, she has pushed ahead.

If anything, you need to increase advertising because you're fighting harder for the limited dollars that are out there” Galindo said.

That philosophy has kept business coming through the doors in Greenhouse Mall's stores, two in the Austin area and the other in San Antonio. It has also helped her staff maintain a high level of customer service and earn the business an Apollo Award nomination.

“We listen very carefully to our customers' needs,” Galindo said. “Sometimes you hear other businesses complain that their customers are too demanding. But they're spending their disposable income with us, which should be a fun experience for them. We treat them like they're coming into our home and try to give them the attention they deserve.”

That means fetching customers a cool drink when it's hot outside or loaning them a patio set for a backyard party if a set they ordered won't arrive in time.

The Texas retailer creates a home-like environment with service and display.

“I think big-box stores and chains have ruined that element of customer service,” said Galindo. “We try to take that example and do the exact opposite.”

Galindo is even contrarian about the economy.

“People have a tendency to look at the glass as half empty, but in an economy like this people are more likely to stay at home and support the home furnishings industry,” she said. “And they're more likely to buy quality, which is what the specialty market should be all about.”

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