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Do You Have Zombie Defenders?

Read time: Approximately 3 minutes

Defense Against Zombieconomy

Defense Against Zombieconomy

Your best defense is a great offense.

Not long ago I wrote posts on the Horticulture Zombieconomy, Zombie Stores and Zombie Departments, and Horti-Zombies Come Alive! Next thing you know, during The Garden Center Group‘s Fall Event awards cruise Robert Hendrickson presented me with the NY Times bestselling book, The Zombie Survival Guide – Complete Protection from the Living Dead.

The book is a sort of spoof (so excuse and think through the metaphor) on How-To survive the complacency and fearless tactics of Zombies to recruit others to join the living dead who are constantly yet un-remarkedly at work among us.From the introduction:

Conventional warfare is useless against these creatures, as is conventional thought. The science of ending life, developed and perfected since the beginning of our existence, cannot protect us from an enemy that has no “life” to end. Does this mean the living dead are invincible? No. Can these creatures be stopped? Yes.

To survive Zombie attacks we must recognize them for what they are and forge ahead to live as we were meant to live. We must survive their relentless draw toward the Zombie life.

On the way home from the Fall Event I received an email on my phone from a client who apparently purchased their own Zombie Survival Guide and escalated their fight.

A wise first response to a Zombie attack is to assemble your defenders against Zombies, as did the folks at Altum’s Horticultural Center in Zionsville (Indianapolis) Indiana.


Don't Mess With Us

The defenders are assembled at the entrance to the garden center where clearly visible to passersby.

The defenders were envisioned by Jeff Cooksey, Altum’s very talented buyer and merchandiser and constructed by container designer extraordinaire – Mary Beth Stagg.

The message is clear – Zombies employees are not going to be happy here.

Head 1

The Lookout

The Lookout has a watchful eye toward complacency.

Head 2

The Inspirer

The INSPIRER, as the name indicates inspires their counter-attack with Altum’s amazing assemblage of eyeshocking color, and electrifyingly exciting displays (I am giving them a fine reputation to live up to).

The Warrior

The Warrior

The Warrior is ready for hand-to-hand combat protecting Altum’s clientele from the everyday normal life so they take home inspiration in the form of cool plants, pottery, and other supplies to create a garden and escape the Zombieconomy they must also battle against be it a cheapskate husband,  competitive neighbor, threat of job-loss, or the evening news and newspaper.

The Altumate Figurehead

The Altumate Figurehead

The Altumate Figurehead certainly stands out in leading the troops to defeat dull-dome throughout Altum’s. (I think she is disguised with red hair but represents owner, Dana Altum in all of her fun and glory.)


The Zany

The Zany yet wonderful character of Altum’s still captures the hearts and minds of their loyal clientele. And that is why so many of them are loyal despite the absence of a member loyalty program.

“Advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable.”

— Robert Stephens, founder of Geek Squad

I really don’t know if Altum’s bought the book, but it appears from their actions that they have bought into the concept and are using it effectively to stand up and stand out to inspire consumers to spend money they are trying harder to hold onto. Maybe they will reply to let us know?

Some of you won’t get this at all, while others will want to get some Zombie protection for yourself. Let’s both talk soon.

(The pothead containers are from Miller Horticulture St. Louis – 314-966-4644)

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And as always,

7 Responses

  1. Outrageous! Outrageous! Outrageous! I’ve heard Zombies are terrified of outrageous displays, outrageous people, and outrageous businesses. Zombies have no chance at Altums! Bravo! I’ve also heard (though not confirmed) that zombies are especially attracted to businesses during bad weather and or businesses that have a TV located by cash registers.

  2. I believe you are correct Jonn, and I think I know what you’re referring to with the TV remark. I would agree that it will take way more in-store sales increase to get a return on the cost of $4800/yr. toward in-store television (not to mention the cost of managing it) than alternative ways to increase selling either in-store or out. My bet is that almost all garden centers could step up their merchandising, signage, and external marketing effectiveness without spending more dollars to do so, and still get the increase in sales without spending more money. Keep in mind that at 1% profit, you have to sell $100 more for every additional dollar spent on wages, operating expense, or cost of goods. That means to offset $4800.00 in added expense you have to increase sales $480,000.00 to pay for it. Or, you could just reallocate from other spending that isn’t effective. Still it has to be that effective to make profit, not just sales.

    I’ll leave you with this parting thought – especially for you Jonn although it applies to any garden center. If you don’t do the things you must do to put your store in your customers minds you are not there, and they are not there in your store.

  3. We didn’t buy the book, but since the sign ordinances are incredibly strict in our area, we have to be creative in attempts at curb appeal. I think we have been battling the zombies for 13 years!

  4. Thanks for your comment Karen, and thanks to Jeff, Mary Beth, Dana, and everyone else at Altum’s for material for this post. You’re all the best!

  5. And here I thought we were just trying to make it fun! You never know what comes out of the brainstorms here @ Altum’s. Just trying to take it to the edge a bit, make a few heads turn while not trying to cause an accident and maybe, just maybe they might pull in and see what else we have to offer!
    My real hope is that either Disney or Pixar sees this and they want to make a movie out of the characters and I get to sell the rights to the them!

  6. Great to hear you are still having fun while accomplishing something Dana. That is one thing that I and your incredible team at Altum’s love most about working with you.

  7. […] Do You Have Zombie Defenders? « Strategies Blog from Horticultural Advantage hortadvantage.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/zombie-defenders – view page – cached #Strategies Blog from Horticultural Advantage RSS Feed Strategies Blog from Horticultural Advantage » Do You Have Zombie Defenders? Comments Feed Strategies Blog from Horticultural Advantage Just another day on the way to Christmas Open Letter to Independent Garden Centers — From the page […]

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