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How to participate in the recession . . .

How much are plants worth this spring?

How do the rules of doing business during recession apply to you?

While it could be good advice to follow a growing trend of people who have decided not to participate in this recession, even better advice may be to participate fully in the effects the economic downturn is causing.

Should you make sure you get your share of any government stimulus money opportunities? Or, should you pay more attention to the way you run your business and get everything lined up to increase sales and margin dollars this year?

The news on early spring gardening interest is much better than anyone anticipated six months ago, or even three months ago.  I hope you are not getting tired of hearing about it in all the garden center industry news yet! The question is, are you ready to make everything you can of it, without hanging your backside out so far you cannot recover if it falls short.

How are you planning to fully participate?

  • Product availability – Indications are that greenhouse growers have reduced production. What if there is a run on the product at your supplier? Do you have preference? Will your supplier protect you if their supply begins to run out, or will they sell it out from under you?
  • Customer information – If a lot of new customers come into the gardening scene, will you capture contact information so you can market to them later?
  • Advertising – Will you seek and take advantage of advertising deals on radio, television, newspaper, etc. to possibly draw more traffic?
  • Pricing – Will you reduce discounts since interest is higher? Or, will you advertise discounts to see if you can increase traffic even more since the news says customers are looking for real value? Or, should you increase prices of small fruits, fruit trees, veggie plants and vegetable seeds to take advantage of the increased demand?

While I am not saying you should not try to get your fair share of any economic stimulus the government makes available to you, don’t miss the legitimate way to participate in the increased interest in gardening the recession is apparently bringing.

Post a comment to tell what you are doing to stimulate YOUR economy this year?

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3 Responses

  1. Enjoyed your comments at Steve’s get together yesterday, It was a good day and thanks for your input. john heaton

  2. For me, fully participating in the recession means minimizing the negative effects by reducing risk in areas such as high ticket decor items and landscape sales, while taking advantage of the upside. And there are a lot of upsides.

    We have hired a much better seasonal workforce this year because we had a much larger pool to choose from.

    We have negotiated unbelievable contracts on our media buys and will be getting about 30% more exposure for the same dollars as last year in our advertising.

    We saw early on that edible would be big and purchased 50% more inventory than we sold last year. And I’m already thinking we were too conservative. So far our seed sales are up over 100%. We placed additional orders this week. I want to be in stock when everyone else runs out early this year. If we get them in for garden seed in early May we can wow them with our color and other products as well.

    We have done the same thing with our veggie plant suppliers, getting them to commit to having 50% more available for us this year.

    We are front loading our advertising schedule more than usual this year to get the customers into our store early and often. And our advertising is geared to new and beginning gardeners. We think the recession is a great opportunity to expand our market share by capturing many of these newbies into our fold.

  3. I will continue to weatherize my home and grow food in my urban yard. I’ll add another rain barrel. This can model ideas for my neighbors. I woke up dreaming of a neighborhood weatherizing project that I will try to start. We have to help ourselves and our neighbors. We have skilled folks that can teach us all around us. I saw a man taping maple trees last week. There is much we can do to be more self-sufficient!

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