What do you do?
Mike Estes

Where do you work and what is your title?
       I am the owner/manager of Rick’s Garden Center.
What do you do there and/or what are you responsible for?
       Taking care of the customers is my main job. I answer a lot of questions. Problem solving, “What’s this insect, this plant or weed.” I do a little of everything. I manage the staff, order a good portion of the hardgoods (non-perishable items). I take care of the computer, building maintenance and anything that needs to get done. And... sometimes I just sit.
How long have you been doing this kind of work (total)? How long on the Westside?
       Since August 23, 1977, right here in this store. My wife Gail and I bought it in 1985.
What do you like best about it (other than quitting time)?
       Every day is different. There’s a new question or problem to be solved, new merchandise or a bug you’ve never seen (we use our microscope to identify an insect or fungal spores and have reference books to help find answers). No matter how you plan for a day, something always comes up. And I like our customers. We have customers from the Springs and all over (Pueblo, Monument, Denver). I like being able to call them by their first name. It’s gratifying for me to get to see people who’ve been loyal customers for 20-plus years.
If you could change one thing (other than pay), what would it be?
       The size of my store and the parking lot. I’d like to make room for more. Or, I’d settle for a pedestrian overpass (or tunnel) from Uintah Gardens.
What part of your work did your training/education never prepare you for?
       What you don’t expect is how much time that you have to dedicate to owning a business. How consuming the whole thing is.
What makes working on the Westside special?
       The down-to-earth, good, loyal people that genuinely care about supporting small business and us.

“What do you do?” is a regular feature in the Westside Pioneer. If you know someone who has an interesting job on the Westside (but doesn’t live here), he/she might be a candidate for this column! If you know someone who might qualify, give us a call at 471-6776.