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New Friends – Comedian Drew Hastings

Comedian Drew Hastings
Drew Hastings, Comedian and Farmer

My mission this year is to make a lot of new friends. One of the best I’ve met is comedian Drew Hastings. I live in a small quaint rural community of Hillsboro located 3o miles East of Cincinnati, Ohio. Things change slowly out here for the most part, but the activity is picking up over the 15 years since I moved here. One of our most notable residents of the past few years is comedian Drew Hastings.

After becoming disgusted with living in Los Angeles Drew escaped to Highland County Ohio and bought a working farm. He’s also become involved in historic preservation and more recently, local politics. Unlike most part-time farmers, Drew does his comedy gig on weekends and farms weekdays. So what’s significant about this and why am I bragging about my new celebrity friend and neighbor? Continue reading

Roll Your Sleeves Up – Higher

Roll Your Sleeves up HIGHER

"Let's Roll"

Are You Guys Ready? Let’s Roll

If you are waiting for the economy to improve for your company to do better stop waiting now.

The phrase “Let’s Roll” was made famous when it was spoken by Todd Beamer, passenger on flight 93 over an in-flight phone before the fatal crash in a Pennsylvania field on September 11, 2001. “Let’s Roll” can also serve as the battle cry of your company to overcome the market forces, excusitis, or whatever resistance you’re dealing with to make 2011 the best year it possibly can be. Continue reading

STAY OUT of the Garden Center Graveyard

Airplane Graveyard

Graveyard of Defunct Aircraft

Why do they not ask for help?

The grave yard of garden centers is growing like the Arizona graveyard of defunct aircraft. Contraction of the airline industry has caused many older, inefficient and costly to maintain aircraft to be retired permanently. It used to be the case that new upstart competitors would buy older aircraft to start their companies, but it is actually less expensive to make the payments on newer machines that use less fuel, require less labor to operate, and require less repair and maintenance.

It saddens me to learn of such things as the pending closure of Porter’s Home & Garden Center near Ocala Florida. Ocala.com reported that liquidation of inventory has begun. The loan in default is backed by the business and the private homes of three of the Porter family owners. Continue reading

The Benefits of a Poor Economy

The Benefits of a Poor Economy

Who said the recession is over? Has the consumer finished cocooning? Are they all done with Stay-cations? I think not, but someone is going to have to inspire them to have one at home in their own backyard. Are we going to leave that up to Frontgate and Pottery Barn?

This economic near-depression is probably going to last a long time as long as our government has anything to do with it, and it does. This is reflected in a broad range of change in consumer and business spending habits ranging from SLD (spending lock down) to basic simplification frugality. Those who continue to earn and spend are paying down debt, saving aggressively, and have adopted a consciousness NOT to flaunt luxuries in front of their friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers and employees. That’s pretty much everyone isn’t it? Continue reading

The Price of a Bad Economy – How Much Will THIS Cost?

The Price of a Bad Economy – How Much Will THIS Cost?

Rodney Johnson, President of HS Dent

Rodney Johnson

This post has been incubating for a while and I decided to scrap what I had started in favor of pointing you to what Rodney Johnson with HS Dent has to say. Harry Dent and his organization have been accurate about our economy since the 80’s. That’s because they use what they call The Dent Method to make projections, not predictions. Click on Rodney’s picture to hear what he has to say about potato chips.

Dent’s basis for making projections is the birth rate and resulting demographics that can be projected in real numbers rather than subjective arbitrary opinion. No, they’re not 100% accurate on everything about the economy, mainly because they don’t make predictions about the economy. They only make projections of the impact of the birth rate and immigration on the economy. The fact is that a lot of what happens in the financial world is caused by people changing direction, sometimes irrationally, and that cannot be predicted accurately. But birth rate and resulting demographics can be projected so that is what they do – project. Continue reading

Educate for Understanding, Train for Skill

My son Owen began his college career this past year at Xavier University in Cincinnati. It was interesting to see how various people who asked him what major he had chosen offered their style of advice to him. I think he made the right choice, but it will be a while before we know.

The education many college freshmen begin pursuit of today will be obsolete by the time they graduate four years later. Education is and always has been a constant pursuit. Learning to learn well is the only possible way to compete in the future.  It really always has been that way, but in the past you could have a career and retire before your industry of choice made your education obsolete.

Our world is changing faster than anyone can change with it. Can you beat the pace of change by being the one causing the change? No way. Continue reading

Give Me A Break

Is it time to Take a Break?

It has been said that a pilot that is landing a jet airplane is really conducting a controlled crash. I’ve heard that piloting a plane during takeoff is a 3-minutes of pure emotional rush and the landing is 3-minutes of sheer terror. In that way, explaining spring in this business is like spreading out the five minutes of controlled crash landing of a jet on an AIRCRAFT CARRIER into five weeks of pure adrenalin rush mixed with moments of sheer terror. Continue reading

Saving Money IS Making Money

Saving Money IS Making Money

It is a simple principle: Saving Money IS Making Money.

When it comes to making money there is no faster way to do it than to hold on to what you have already earned.

We’ll discuss that for sure, but hold on because there is more to it than simply holding on to what you have and we’re going to discuss that as well.

A Penny Earned

You’ve heard the adage “a penny saved is a penny earned”, which is true, but would you consider that holding tightly to a dollar may also mean saving your company from the brink of bankruptcy.

Continue reading

Should Your Suppliers Sell Direct?

(Approx. read time 3 min.)

Proven Winners is now selling online direct to consumers.

Yes, others do it but Proven Winners is the first major brand in our industry that has begun selling finished annuals, perennials, grasses and shrubs direct to consumers from the Proven Winners website.  This is called cross-channel distribution by the way.

Just when I was getting used to things as they are now my cheese has been moved again. This is not entirely a bad thing though I’m still not saying it’s entirely a good thing. Maybe it is just is what it is? Continue reading

Will More Consumers Bypass The Garden Center?

What’s NEW in the garden business? Do you know? Will you know in the future – and will you act – before it, and the customer you want in your store passes you by?

WARNING: If you just skim over this article without digging deeper and clicking on links to learn more you might as well bail out now and go stick your head deeper in the quicksand of life getting in the way of where life is growing.

What this article is really about is figuring out how to be where consumers are in the future so your garden center business has a better chance of surviving and any chance of thriving. It might help to know where many consumers are now that you may not know about, or have disregarded, or have paid too little attention to.

You may have been one of those who blew off the post here titled Will This Be The Year of the Fairy Garden? Or you may be thinking about it and looking into it and if you are sincere about that you are right to take a little time to size up the opportunity. Fair enough, just don’t wait too long.

Continue reading

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