An interview with Ray Millner, owner of The Planter Box, 12706 Pacific Way, Long Beach, Wash., 98631(Two miles north of Long Beach, on Highway 103).

All your gardening needs are sure to be satisfied at The Planter Box, and with their extensive experience the folks who work there will certainly be able to answer your gardening questions. Before starting this business in 1972, Millner taught chemistry, physics, biology and aquaculture.

The Planter Box is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information call (360) 642-4450.

What do you offer your customers?

"The whole gardening experience. We offer absolutely everything to do with gardening. As a secondary part of the business we also handle animal feed."

What is the most difficult part of your business?

"Outguessing what the trends might be for a given year. For example, figuring out what customers might be buying in the way of specialty items."

What is your busiest time of year?"April and May, when people are preparing for spring planting."

Tell me about your business philosophy.

"I want to treat my customers as I want to be treated."

Is there something you want people to know about your business they may not be aware of?

"Everyone who works here has been gardening for thirty-plus years. Also, we feel we have brought in items specific to the Peninsula."

How far does your customer base extend?

"We have customers from Portland and Seattle. People who appreciate a gardening center for what it can offer have remarked on the good selection we have."

What can you tell me about the volume your business does?

"During the busiest time of year we can serve 100 customers a day. In slack time we might see as few as two. The business is good enough to support our family."

Why did you start this business?

"We originally built this business so we could be with our family."

- Patty Hardin