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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.

FOR SALE – garden centers, nurseries, greenhouses, landscape operations

Business For Sale SignDo you know of garden centers, nurseries, greenhouses, or landscape operations that are listed FOR SALE?

Listings are scattered across the Internet but there is no other central location where they are consolidated. We have established a page where links to listings of garden centers, nurseries, greenhouses, and landscape operations are offered for sale. Links may be provided to Realtors, Multiple Listing Services, magazine and newspaper online classified ads, Craig’s List, eBay, BizBuySell, BizZilla, BusinessBroker.net, local newspapers, trade magazine websites, trade associations, and For Sale By Owner listings (if there is a website that can be linked to) etc. Continue reading

New Garden Centers in THIS Day and Age?

You’ve got to be crazy! Who, in their right mind would dare start a garden center now?

Well there are some people who are. Read about them in the Garden Center Birth & Re-birth room.

It is in the nature of our business that we’re approached by wanna-be garden center owners. The reasons for starting a garden center now are many, but these five are the most popular.

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

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

All you believe…may be ALL WRONG – Belief #3

Misconception #3 – Garden Centers Should Employ Horticulturists with College Degrees Full-Time, Year-Round and Pay Them Professional Salaries with Comprehensive Benefits

(Read time approx. 3 minutes.)

This is the third misconception in a series of six. The concepts being discussed here will likely be counter to your beliefs. The comments left on the previous posts are quite interesting so you may want to go back and read them. Click HERE to go back and begin with the first post related to this series.

Disclaimer: While I focus on the business side of the horticultural business my education, training, and experience is broad in the green industry including plant production and retail garden center with Scarff’s Nursery, landscape services with Horticultural Advantage, and marketing and sales of plants with Bailey Nurseries, and Sunrise Marketing. Let it be known that I am all in favor of the future success of the many educated and knowledgeable horticulturists in our industry, especially those that are effective in carrying out their responsibilities.

Necessity is the mother of invention. When the facts are laid out and we discover that it is simply not possible to 1) do what we once did, 2) do what others do, or 3) do what we would like to do, then why not open our horizons and explore opportunities we previously ignored? The title of this post is designed to get interest and discussion going rather than to discount the value of horticultural expertise. So please, read on then leave a comment. Continue reading

All you believe…may be ALL WRONG – Belief #2

Misconception #2 – Garden Centers Should be ‘Full-Service’ – Says Who?

(Read time approx. 3 minutes.)

This is the second misconception in a series of six. The concepts being discussed here will likely be counter to your beliefs. The comments left on the previous posts are quite interesting so you may want to go back and read them. Click HERE to go back and begin with the first post related to this series.

Who says a garden center has to be ‘Full-Service’, and WHO DO THEY THINK THEY ARE to tell YOU?

Hint: (It’s NOT the consumer.)

Why fly your flag at half mast?

What would happen in your garden center if you were to do the things you must do to raise the flag of ‘annuals’ (for example) all the way up to the top of your flag pole?

Should you be building  taller flag poles for your core product lines?

“It is not enough to do our best. Sometimes we must do what is required of us to actually succeed.” – Winston Churchill

What is ‘Full-Service’ anyway? Continue reading

All you believe… may be ALL WRONG – Belief #1

Misconception #1 – Garden Centers Should be Open Year-Round – Oh Really?

(Read time: approximately 3 minutes.)

Hot NOW!

Are Krispy Kreme's Hot NOW?

(Garden centers may be violating the Scarcity Principle)

A correct statement would be closer to this:

Belief #1 “In certain conditions garden centers should be open year-round, and in other conditions they should not be.”

The conditions for being open fall primarily into three categories. Continue reading

All you believe about making money in the garden center business may be ALL WRONG

(Read time:  approximately 2 minutes.)

"What gets us in trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

"What gets us in trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

Part One – This is the first in a series of posts that will address Six Mistaken Beliefs many of us have about making money in the garden center business.

I have arrived to the point of developing Six New Beliefs that may be unpopular among some of the “old-guard” establishment in the garden center business. Switching from the mistaken beliefs to the new beliefs may make the ground shake (like during an earth quake) beneath some of your own current beliefs. Some of our supplier friends may find this truth troubling to the future of their businesses. Others may embrace it and thrive. Continue reading

A New Link or 2

NEW Stickers

Read Time: approximately 3 minutes

Summer tour and trade show travels bring with them perhaps the most frequent question everyone wants to know the answer to when we talk or meet:

What’s New?

One of the new things I learned this summer was that things are changing faster than we imagine. If you think you’re on top of what’s going on I challenge you to Click HERE to watch a fascinating short video titled “Shift Happens” that was shared during a panel discussion at OFA, and also the title of a presentation by Clint Albin at the IGC Show.

I am not into new for “New’s sake”, however, given the pace of change it is no wonder why we have all become “new junkies”. The trouble is that a lot of what we discover is not relevant, not useful, and not productive. What we are really looking for is what is relevant, helpful, and productive. And we could find and implement the new things we need faster and better if we share. Continue reading

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