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Time to Push Your Reset Button!

Press This Button for Help!Time to Press the Reset Button!

This is not a question, it is a statement! There are times that life becomes so confused that it is just better to press the reset button and reprogram our lives rather than try to make-do while the darned thing is out of whack.

Recently I was talking with Matt Horn, owner of Matterhorn Nursery about his plans to totally reinvent his garden center. While Matt has been one undisputed leader of innovation in the garden center business over the years he realizes that it is time to re-engineer the concept of Matterhorn Nursery. The story has something to do with goats, and you’ll have to ask Matt about that. Continue reading

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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

The Second Half

Still Keeping Score?

Welcome to the Second-Half of the Business Year

This is the second half of the fiscal year for most garden centers, aka the un-profitable half according to one client.

The second half of a ball game is where it all happens most of the time. The second half of the calendar fiscal year of a garden center is not so exciting, but it is still where the game is won or lost. Although I’ve never seen a garden center add even one dollar to their bottom line after June 30 (in any year), every dollar that is preserved from July 1 forward is preserved for profitability.

BUT, if you want to end up with a small pile of profit at the end of the year begin with the biggest possible pile of profit by the end of the first half of the year. You can quote me on that.

Maximizing Second-Half Profit Starts in the First Half of the Year

Even though every dollar of margin earning income from the second half is to the good, there are no lines at the concession stand during the second half of the game, and thus, limited  potential to accumulate significantly more margin dollars. 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

It Ain’t _ _ _ _ Until It’s Over.

This is addressed mainly to garden centers that are located in the areas that experienced a very strong and warm early spring, a very wet and cool early May, followed by recent high humidity and daytime temperatures. This year that covers most of you.

In the past several days I’ve talked with several garden centers and found all of them to say something to the effect that there was NO WAY they could make up what they’re behind this year. I think they are WRONG. 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

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