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Southern States Cooperative, Inc Nursery Associate in Chesapeake, Virginia

General Summary Provides friendly and efficient customer service to Southern States Cooperative, Inc. (SSC) retail store patrons shopping in the plant nursery. Relies on knowledge and expertise to assist customers with plant selection and to properly care for and maintain healthy plant material. Provides recommendations for additional products, services and/or equipment to meet overall project needs. Maintains plant nursery to ensure effective merchandising and a safe and welcoming shopping environment. Essential Job Functions - complexity of essential job functions increases with grade level * Maintain the health and overall appearance plant material to minimize inventory loss and damage. Perform deadheading, pruning, regular watering, movement and rotation of plants in optimum sun/shade locations. Communicate regularly with facility leadership regarding issues of plant health including markdown items. * Accept delivery of plants to the nursery. Verify plants to shipment documents and inspect plants for damage. Unload plants by hand using proper lifting techniques and/or equipment. Request assistance from team members as necessary when unloading large shrubs and trees. * Effectively merchandise plants in the nursery. Organize plants to optimize space and customer access. Regularly move and rearrange plants to accommodate new shipments. Ensure locations provide proper sunlight and watering based on plant type. Cross-stage plant merchandise with companion products including containers, fertilizer, soil, tools and other plants. * Proactively greet customers in a welcoming and professional manner. Utilize customer-focused interpersonal skills including smiling, making eye contact, meeting them in aisle when possible, helping lift products as necessary, providing appropriate attention including when assisting more than one patron at time, acknowledging they will be assisted soon if waiting, and thanking each one for their business. * Discuss plant merchandise needs with customers. Assist customers with quickly locating items in the plant nursery. Rely on knowledge and expertise of a wide variety of plant material, local growing conditions, plant pests and diseases, general care and planting techniques to help with selection and offer recommendations for maximum growing success. * Seek information to understand the full scope of customers' projects. Assess whether companion products or additional equipment and services may be useful. Provide assistance with overall landscape design ideas. Make genuinely helpful recommendations and identify opportunities to sell additional merchandise or services. * Partner with facility team members to plan and conduct seminars and "How To" meetings for customers. Lead discussion on various topics, including: plant varieties and care, promotional product usage, local growing conditions, and other related subjects. Demonstrate techniques and communicate step-by-step procedures. Utilize effective presentation skills for both large and small groups. * Update signage, pricing and merchandise labeling to ensure a neat and professional presentation according to facility procedures. * Proactively identify opportunities to assist store patrons and facilitate efficient service. Assess the need for loading assistance, resolve customer pricing and merchandise inquiries, ensure merchandise is accessible to customers and offer assistance as needed. Handle general and many complex customer issues with skill and diplomacy. Escalate more complex issues to store leadership for assistance. * Answer incoming telephone calls in a professional and courteous manner. Communicate information regarding order status, product availability, current sales, promotions and store events. Contact customers regarding their orders, and arrange for pick-up or delivery. * Monitor entrances and exits in an effort to promote store security and to minimize merchandise loss. Request receipt or proof of payment in keeping with facility procedures. Escalate potential security concerns to store leadership. * Perform daily housekeeping duties according to facility procedures to ensure a neat, clean and welcoming shopping environment. * May provide assistance with a variety of other functions to support the team, including storefront and/or warehouse inventory, loading customer vehicles, facility housekeeping and maintenance, cashiering and customer support. Functions and frequency will vary by location. * Perform work safely as to not cause harm to yourself, customers, co-workers, equipment, or inventory. Utilize Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as required. Operate all equipment according to SSC policy and government regulations. Comply with OSHA regulations, Southern States Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) standards, work rules and policies. * Perform all other job functions as assigned. Education: Requires a High School Diploma or General Education Degree (GED). Prefer additional college coursework or Associate's Degree in plant science, agriculture or a related field. Experience: Requires a minimum of one (1) year of work experience in a retail sales environment providing high quality customer service, with prior knowledge of plant care and local growing conditions. Previous Southern States work experience a plus. Requirements - complexity of requirements increases with grade level * Effective knowledge of a wide variety of plant material, local growing conditions, plant pests and diseases, general care and planting techniques * Able to consistently demonstrate customer-focused interpersonal skills, communicate in a positive and professional manner and resolve customer concerns effectively * Able to learn and effectively apply knowledge of a wide variety of merchandise in order to correctly answer customer questions and make recommendations * Able to learn and consistently demonstrate knowledge of facility guidelines and standard operating procedures * Effective presentation skills for both large and small groups * Able to add, subtract, multiply, divide and calculate percentages using whole numbers, common fractions and decimals * Attention to detail * Able to speak, read, write the English language in a proficient manner * Able to work extended hours to meet business demands Work Environment Primarily performs essential job functions outdoors based on seasonal growing conditions and the availability of plant merchandise. May not be protected from adverse weather conditions. Also works indoors in a climate controlled environment and occasionally in a warehouse subject to seasonal humidity and temperature changes. May be exposed to hazards including: * Drafts, temperature changes, and wet floors due to open doors during adverse weather and seasonal conditions * Water and dirt due to the continuous care of plant material * Merchandise, supplies and tools with sharp edges or containing hazardous materials * Dust, odors, fumes and hazardous chemicals associated with sales and storage of dry and liquid fertilizers, crop protectants and other agricultural, residential, animal care and home care products * Moving mechanical parts and vehicles, vibrations and electric current * Noise levels where hearing protection is optional per PPE Plan Schedule requirements will vary based on location. Extended hours and/or alternate work schedules may be required. Ability to report to work on time and in adverse weather conditions is required. Physical Activities & Requirements * Continuously bend and stoop; manual dexterity (fingers and hands), handle and utilize repetitive hand motion with merchandise and tools; reach with arms and hands for extended periods; stand and walk for extended periods, at times may be on concrete or uneven surfaces; utilize eye/hand coordination; twist back and neck. Pull, push, lift, carry up to 50 pounds. * Frequently climb, crouch, stack, and sweep. Pull, push, lift, carry 50-80 pounds, may be assisted. * Occasionally balance, kneel and shovel. Pull, push, lift, carry 80-100 pounds, may be assisted. Must be able to speak to co-workers and customers regarding operations and safety. Must be able to hear customer service phone calls, hand held radio, equipment and vehicle sounds. Specific vision abilities required by this position include: close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and the ability to adjust focus. Tools & Equipment Gloves, scissors, pruning shears, garden hose, irrigation system, hand held scanner, telephone, hand held radio, computer, printer, scanner, copier, fax machine, writing instrument, reports, logs, spreadsheets, merchandising diagrams and other tools and equipment as determined by specific location (such as point of sale terminal). Southern States Cooperative is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate against individuals based on their race, color, religion or belief, national or ethnic origin, sex (including pregnancy), age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, family medical history or genetic information, or any other status protected by federal, state or local laws or regulations. Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Women/Protected Veterans/Disabled