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Innovation Bound to Happen

Jenn-Aire Obsidian black interior for refrigerators

Inside The Box – Obsidian

It was bound to happen….eventually. Fads come and go but trends stay a while – sometimes a long while. But appliance styles are not supposed to be forever. First there was white. Then we had Avocado Green and Harvest Gold. White came back in style. Then Stainless Steel. Then Black. Red made it into the laundry set. But that can’t go in the kitchen can it?

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Website, Blog, Email Bloopers and Blunders on the New Frontier

Last night I made my first post in recent years to my dormant WordPress Blog that had been replaced with a fancy big city website that I did not learn to operate. This was the post on my trip to Japan. Unfortunately the link to the report was not working when I published the post and the email feed went out. Although I fixed the link it was too late. Here’s the link again: https://hortadvantage.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/sid-raisch-mar-1-2014-japan.pdf

At one time I was pretty far ahead on using the Internet. I forged into the darkness years ago, not on the bleeding edge, but on the cutting edge. I’ve always been an innovative thinker and sometimes that can get me (and other innovators) into some trouble.

Then I hired a “professional”. Trouble is that in the Internet world it is the new frontier. On the frontier there are cowboys with white hats, black hats, and those that are neither good nor bad at the core and are just innovating in an untested, unproven world. That is the land of the Internet – the new frontier. It’s a place of ghost towns, unbeaten paths, roads to nowhere, and the crossroads of America and the World.

So now I’m back posting on the old blog site. Interesting that WordPress became the number one website platform of businesses small and large so its like back to the future. How often does that happen? I’ll be posting here again, and will update the chosen template look and feel over time and probably on my own. Does that make me an Internet cowboy?

I will also be working with and implementing Talk Fusion, a platform for video email and online meeting collaboration.


Japan Garden Centers – What Can We Learn?

Takamatsu Trading LTD of Japan invited Sid Raisch to present a seminar and workshop to their garden center clients. A complete report including many photos can be accessed by clicking HERE.

My friend, garden designer and Japanese Cowboy, Mr. Hitoshi Taketani

My friend, garden designer and Japanese Cowboy, Mr. Hitoshi Taketani

Flyer Sign for Sid Raisch at Takamatsu School

What does this say about Sid Raisch?

You’ll Never Have Enough Staff Until you _____ Enough Stuff.

Business Friends,

I’m taking the liberty to call all of you friends as some of you have taken the liberty to give me a new name when I checked out at your store. But before I tell you about that let’s begin at the beginning of my visit and work to the end.

As I shop this spring it is obvious that one of the biggest opportunities you have is to sell more stuff to the customers in your store right now. So what’s getting in the way of that?

Just the same as in previous years, I walk through stores from front to back and then back to the front and repeat the process. I am NEVER (okay, rarely) spoken to even though there are plenty of employees that I walk by as they are busy adding more stuff apparently for someone else who arrives after I leave to buy.

Instead of selling more of what you already have to customers already in your store, everyone is focused on adding more stuff that won’t be bought by the customers who are already there.

In my estimation, the lost opportunity from this lack of proper focus is in the 15-25% range. Can you really afford to miss that much? Are you confident that enough customers will keep on coming in to make up for what you’re missing now?

When you’re really busy you can’t have enough people to help every customer. I get that. Still, there is opportunity, but you’ll have to stop making it harder for the customers already in your store to shop. As I fight to get my cart through your stores I have to think that it might be better if you saved some room for me to get through to see more of less stuff. Think about it.

When I do manage to buy something and go to the checkout I am essentially ignored there too. The most recognition I get is to have my apparently new name printed on the receipt – “Cash Customer”. Since this is my last impression of your store, it is the most recent impression. If it is underwhelming I am highly unlikely to return soon, much less to excitedly tell friends why they should come to you.

So, what are you going to do about it?

Why Some ________ Cost More Than Others

Copper River King Salmon!

Why is this salmon more expensive than others?

Salmon became one of my favorite foods over 20 years ago on my first business trip to the Pacific Northwest. The high benchmark was set back then with the Alder Smoked Salmon at the original McCormick & Schmick’s  restaurant in Portland Oregon. A pursuit of the perfect salmon occasionally comes close but has never matched the perfection of that meal, even on return trips to McCormick & Schmick’s.

Once I discovered the secret to better tasting salmon the pursuit became more intense. Dayton, Ohio’s Dorothy Lane Market provided the education, and inspiration to invest in a better fish. Lots of grocers sell pricy salmon but never before was there an explanation of why the price was higher when the flavor was often not exceptional. I came to the conclusion that the prices were higher because the store was expensive. Then the email newsletter from my friends at DLM gave me a real reason to pay more for their Honestly Better® Wild Alaska Copper River King Salmon. You may also want to know why (some) salmon costs more than others. Here’s a short story from my most reacent Fresh News from DLM.

Honestly Better® Wild Alaska Copper River King Salmon has Arrived at DLM!

This run of the Chinook Salmon (the King Salmon) is one of the most sought-after fish for those who appreciate the best of the best. The reason for its prized flavor is its high omega-3 oil content. The fish must build up such a large fat content in order to give them the energy to travel the long spawning journey up the Copper River. Fighting tidal currents through the sandbars of the delta, raging rivers from the mountain snow melt, and a never-ending line of bears dining at the salmon buffet, these fish deserve a break! So, plan on inviting one over for dinner. With the rich flavor this fish has, we recommend a little Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, kosher or sea salt, and fresh dill as the only seasoning needed to grill or broil. This is one of the most regulated fisheries in the world, so the supply and price are market driven (In other words

Moral of the Story

If we try to sell better stuff it should actually be better. We should invest the time to tell the story explaining specifically why it is better and how it got to be that way. The tasty salmon’s pursuit of the spawning grounds up the Copper River make it the best of the best salmon – well worth the $$$$. Are your products and services better? How? Why is that important?

Virtually Prepared for Spring

Bill Calkins

Bill Calkins

Virtually Prepared for Spring

Guest Article from Flourish, by Bill Calkins – Business Manager, Independent Garden Centers for Ball Horticultural Company

Right now, an entirely new gardener is walking into garden centers across North America. They know a little bit about plants, a lot about the stores they visit and have specific projects in mind. The plant knowledge might have come from family or friends, but some of it was no doubt gleaned from the Internet. They certainly spent a couple minutes online poking through local garden center websites and box store specials before hopping in the car. And they do not see gardening as a hobby – it’s functional, adding visual impact and value to their home landscape, balcony, patio, deck, etc, etc.

Someday is Here And You Still Don’t Need That Stuff

image of a Round Tuit

Click Image for Larger Readable Version

“No one else sells this anymore.”

“People come in our store looking for stuff like this.”

“You can’t buy stuff like this anywhere else.”

“I might need that someday.”

These are all famous last words of hoarders. I know YOU are not one, in the extreme sense of those portrayed on the A&E hit television show. But are you a hoarder of a different kind?

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