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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.
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It’s Never Too Late to Look Back

Friends,

Someone recently said something to me that makes complete sense.

“You’re not marketing for business today or tomorrow.  You did that months and years ago. You’re marketing today for business months and years from now.”

Didn’t we leave a generation or two of potential gardeners out of our current picture?

There are a vast number of people who grew up in suburbia, or disengaged from gardening. Most of us got an interest in gardening from a parent, grandparent, or other relative. (Some of you ended up with the whole business from them!)

But most of our non garden industry friends were left behind and in turn their offshoots have also been left behind because their parents and grandparents didn’t turn them on to gardening. Continue reading

Yes, I AM definitely talking TO YOU.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I AM definitely talking TO YOU.

When I see clients and readers of my magazine articles, blog, email news, and other printed words people often tell me that what I write makes them feel like I’m talking directly to them. I hope that is true for you. If it is you’re right.

No, YOU may not actually be THE client I’m talking about in any specific article or discussion, but believe it or not, all the mistakes you have made have most likely been made by others before you.I write to the situations I see other clients get into that I wish for you to avoid or take supreme advantage of, depending on the situation. 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

WHY Do Customers Think of You?

What do customers think of you?

While they probably don’t just sit around and actually think much about the companies they do business with, consumers generally form specific opinions about stores over time and exposure to marketing messages, personal experience, and what they hear from others.

Whatever value equation a company brand has established with a consumer, unless it is a discount brand, it is lowered by constantly promoting deals and discounts on what customers already want to buy. These discounts do more than cost money. They also make it easy for the customer to categorize in their mind what type of retailer each store is to them. And once they’ve chosen the category, it is very difficult to change their perceptions. 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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