January 20, 2010

Remembering Will Carlson

Greenhouse Grower’s Will Carlson, a friend to hundreds of growers across the country, died after battling a serious illness. A viewing will be held Sunday at Gorsline Runciman Funeral Home at 1730 East Grand River in East Lansing, Mich. Viewing hours are from 1 to 4 p.m. A reception will follow at the Plant and Soil Sciences Greenhouse Conservatory at Michigan State University (MSU) from 5 to 7 p.m. The funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, January 25 at University Lutheran Church, which is located at 1020 South Harrison Road in East Lansing. A graveside burial will follow at Evergreen Cemetery on the corner of Mount Hope and Aurelius roads. Will retired from MSU in 2002 and has been active in his retirement writing his column for Greenhouse Grower, “One to Grow On,” and consulting for growers. He launched Greenhouse Grower more than 25 years ago with […]

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January 20, 2010

A Tribute To Will

Dick Meister, who launched Greenhouse Grower magazine with Will Carlson more than 25 years ago, remembers Will as a friend and colleague who inspired countless growers over the years: Shortly before he died, I had a talk with Will in which he said: “My work is done.” What a “work” that was! Will was one of the foremost floriculturists of our time. He was a leader whose enquiring mind, energy and drive changed the face of floriculture and brought untold millions of dollars of wealth to the industry and to thousands of growers. He was the person with a new idea every day, and the nerve and audacity to change the status quo and the uncanny ability to sense trends before they happened. Will was tough. He ruffled the feathers of those in the path of change. He had no patience for bureaucracy and red tape and was impatient for […]

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January 19, 2010

McGuiness Receives Todd Bachman Award

Patrick McGuiness, founder of the Zlimen & McGuiness law firm serving the green industry, is the recipient of the Todd Bachman Award for Innovation in Horticultural Business. The award is presented jointly by the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association (MNLA) and the MNLA Foundation. The award annually recognizes an individual whose innovation in private enterprise has positively influenced one or more green industry businesses in the region. McGuiness began his career in the green industry in 1995 as a laborer for a small St. Paul landscaping company. His love of the industry continued as he founded his first company, which he called McGuiness Landscaping. The profits from this company helped McGuiness put himself through college and law school. Following graduation from the William Mitchell College of Law, he and a friend founded One Call Property Care. While founding this business, McGuiness noticed an opportunity to help […]

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January 16, 2010

Designing With Poinsettias Catching On

Ecke Ranch hosted its annual poinsettia trial and open house, but it wasn’t the cultivars that generated the attention. A record number of attendees wanted to see design trends. “It’s like someone flipped a switch. Our guests really got these concepts, and the notion that working together we can help the channel be more successful,” says Snow Maestas, marketing manager at Ecke Ranch. Everyone was looking for ideas, trends and concepts that add value and define products at retail. Simple, fresh and elegant were some common themes seen during the event that lasted for two weeks. Ecke’s Design Center created over 10 unique vignettes featuring design and decorating trends for poinsettias, including a Couture Collection Plant Fashion Runway Show that showcased poinsettias in different fashion categories: Black Tie, Cool Season-Hot Colors, Office Attire, Sportswear and Ready-to-Wear. “I am really pleased to see value being designed into the poinsettia,” says Paul […]

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January 10, 2010

Jerry Montgomery’s 2009 Retail Report Recap

In 2009, Jerry Montgomery tracked retail prices and trends. How will garden retail fare in 2010? Compare this year to last year and take a look back on our interactive map. Click on the tabs on the map for a link to that region or city’s retail report. Click on the plus and minus signs to zoom in and out on the map.  View Jerry Montgomery’s 2009 Retail Reports in a larger map

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January 4, 2010

Walmart Aims To Cut Global Supply Chain Costs

Walmart is launching a drive this year to cut billions of dollars of costs from its supply chain by combining its store purchasing across national frontiers in a new stage in the globalization of its business. The effort is part of plans by the world’s largest retailer to increase the proportion of goods that it buys directly from manufacturers, rather than through third-party procurement companies or suppliers. Eduardo Castro-Wright, the head of Walmart’s US stores, has said that the retailer sees the opportunity to consolidate global sourcing as “a major source of leverage for the company in years to come.” To read more about Walmart’s efforts, click here.

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December 29, 2009

Become A Business Driver

Finishing up 2009 and heading in to 2010, it feels like we’ve entered a new era in the greenhouse floriculture industry, like we’ve come out the other end of a long and somewhat painful transition. For the last 10 years, we’ve been collectively bracing ourselves for a lot of what has happened: more growing operations of all sizes leaving the industry and a mature market where overall sales are flat. As some businesses leave, others are gaining market share. While some of this is normal and generational with growers retiring without successors, for others it’s an inability to compete and turn a profit. This is especially true when owners don’t reinvest in their business over time and have dilapidated structures and use inefficient methods. If you’re running the business the same as you did 20 years ago, chances are, you have fallen behind. Those who made it through 2009 on […]

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December 28, 2009

Make It Happen Again

Every obstacle presents an opportunity. Our industry has taken advantage of opportunities before, and now we have to do it again. At Christmas, you could see big changes in approach occurring at the major retailers. The major Christmas toy sales started in mid-October, and the major toy stores and mega-chains started selling toys at year-end prices. Walmart had a Black Friday sale that lasted all day and all night. Brand name toys were selling at $10 apiece, with hundreds of different toys priced in this range. Kmart advertised layaway plans with little or no interest that attracted many early buyers and also helped them pay for purchases made in October over a three-month period. If you read any of the business magazines, you’ve realized the large retailers were going to get their product early and sell as much as they could at discount prices. Their goal was to make certain […]

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December 21, 2009

Wishing Will Well

A friend to hundreds of growers across the country, Will Carlson was hospitalized with a serious illness in late November. Will retired from Michigan State University in 2002 and has been active in his retirement writing his column for Greenhouse Grower, “One to Grow On,” and consulting for growers. This March will mark 36 years Will has been writing columns for Greenhouse Grower and before that American Vegetable Grower–a wonderful record of service to the horticulture industry. While Will recovers, we will be publishing a few of his best columns that continue to stand the test of time. These can also be found in the book we published in 2003, “One To Grow On.” Will’s friends and loved ones are pulling for his recovery. Cards may be sent to his home at 6330 Pine Hollow Drive, East Lansing, MI 48823. While Will recovers, he asks growers interested in getting in […]

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December 16, 2009

Using Distribution Hubs

Producing a quality plant is just the first step. Finding an efficient and cost-effective way to get that quality plant from the greenhouse to the customer is something else entirely. A number of growers have responded by using distribution hubs to control delivery costs, get plants to their final destination in better shape, and in some cases, open doors to new opportunities and markets. Delivering New Relationships EuroAmerican Propagators’ efforts to refine its shipping schedules will most likely lead to improved deliveries for its propagation facility, as well as a number of fellow propagators in Southern California this spring. Rich Ouellet, EuroAmerican’s director of marketing and sales, says the Euro Transportation Team, led by manager Kenny Soles, spent a great deal of time over the last several months sorting through delivery records and building a historical picture of its last five years of orders. EuroAmerican used the information to develop a new […]

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December 9, 2009

Educational Tools & Early Registration From ANLA

December 17 is the early bird registration deadline for the 2010 ANLA Management Clinic–and ANLA is featuring a full week of programming to promote the event. Beginning Monday, December 14, ANLA will launch the following series of events: –ANLA Today. The December issue launches Monday with a focus on how the economy has impacted our industry. With fewer staff, increased customer counts and smaller, more frequent orders, how are businesses addressing the challenges? –Webinar. Clinic speaker John Kennedy presents: “When Business is Slow…Sharpen the Tools!” The webinar will take place Tuesday, December 15 from 3-4 p.m. EDT. For more information and registration, click here. –Webinar. Clinic speaker Dr. Charlie Hall presents: “Got Recovery?” The webinar will take place Wednesday, December 16 from 3- 4 p.m. For more information and registration, click here. –The Early Bird Blog Spectacular. On Thursday, December 17, tune in for 12 blog postings in 12 hours […]

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December 2, 2009

Dishin’ On Distribution

Nearly two years ago, leading horticultural distributors BFG Supply Co., BWI Companies and Griffin Greenhouse and Nursery Supplies formed an independent organization called the Integrated Horticultural Alliance (IHA). The organization was formed to remove redundancies and inefficiencies that drive up input costs. We recently caught up with Joe Farinacci, managing director of the Integrated Horticultural Alliance, who provided an update on IHA’s progress and how the organization is providing more value in the supply chain to growers. Q: How has IHA improved the efficiency of the supply chain since its inception early last year? A: Since coming to IHA, I have read and heard many comments regarding the lack of standardization within the horticultural industry. We all know, especially the grower, you need to develop standard procedures to be successful. Last year was a volatile year in terms of prices for horticultural products, specifically for plastics and products that contained […]

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