March 23, 2012

Politics, Presidents And The Economy

Campaign season. These two words conjure up images of stump speeches, issues debates, super PACS and truth stretching. Okay, maybe stretching is too harsh; perhaps manipulation of facts is more accurate? Nonetheless, the phrase “lies, darn lies” seems to come to mind more often these days. Because of this, in the coming months, you will hear much rhetoric about the economy because it is considered to be the pivotal topic for candidates on all sides of the fence. The irony is that you will hear some folks say we are doing as well as can be expected and others pronouncing economic Armageddon is just around the bend. The Economic Reality Personally, when I look at the fundamentals in the market, it seems clear (at least to me) that things really are on the upswing. No, the economy has not yet fully recovered from the downturn (and may not ever completely […]

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February 22, 2012

Hoffman Nursery Earns Top Honor From NCNLA

The North Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association (NCNLA) recently recognized Hoffman Nursery by naming it Grower of the Year for 2011. “NCNLA is proud to present the 2011 Grower of the Year Award to Hoffman Nursery in recognition of more than 25 years of premium plant development and its expanded production facility,” says Ross Williams, NCNLA executive director. “The award also recognizes Hoffman’s active support of horticultural research, environmental stewardship and community service.” The Grower of the Year is always an operation that is an NCNLA member exhibiting a high level of professionalism in the management or ownership of a field or container nursery in North Carolina (or other states where that operation may be located). In addition, the Grower of the Year exhibits leadership in the nursery industry through participation in local, regional, state and national organizations. John and Jill Hoffman started Hoffman Nursery in 1986 on 45 acres […]

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February 17, 2012

James Greenhouses Licensed To Produce Green Roof System

LiveRoof has appointed James Greenhouses, Athens, Ga., as a new licensed regional grower and distributor for the LiveRoof hybrid green roof system. Other recent additions to LiveRoof’s network of licensed regional growers include: Pépinière Premier Plant, Saint-Sulpice, Quebec, Canada; Joss Growers, Georgetown, Texas; and Rocky Mountain Green Roofs, Denver, Colo.

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February 15, 2012

SBI Recognized For High Quality Integration

SBI Software has been awarded for the high-quality integration SBI created between its ERP software for growers and the Prophesy Transportation Solutions, the provider of trucking and logistics software. The partnership between SBI and Prophesy creates a customized integration specifically built to help growers and garden centers leverage efficiencies while effectively managing their transportation needs. The Prophesy team was impressed with how far SBI went to make this integration seamless and user-friendly. Specifically, Prophesy was fond of SBI’s use of an error report that is exported directly to an Excel file, which makes trouble shooting easier for everyone. The seamless integration offers the ability to select orders in SBI Software and export them to Accellos One Optimize. Optimize consolidates the orders into shipments and converts them to full and/or multi-stop truckloads. Loads can be built one-way or round-trip. Once loads are built in Optimize, they are transmitted to SBI, where […]

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January 6, 2012

Will 2012 Be A Repeat Of 2011?

Conjure up the image of enthusiastic Americans getting up in darkness on Black Friday and racing to shopping malls to spend hard-earned money. Now, contrast that with the heads of the major European countries acknowledging in the same week that the end of the euro is a distinct possibility. On one side of the Atlantic, cautious yet stubbornly optimistic Americans began to open their wallets and spend. On the other side, the line in the sand is being drawn and the cost of short-term borrowing nearly doubled in the last quarter of 2011. Whether Europe is able to identify a modern-day white knight country willing to lend multiple distressed European countries massive amounts of money at below-market interest rates, or whether the European Central Bank concludes it has no choice other than to print money, the end game in Europe may play out in the early part of 2012. 10 […]

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January 6, 2012

Independent Retailer: Garden Centers Should Operate More Year-Round

GG: As an independent retailer with different locations, what are your thoughts on the strides the box store channel has made in the last year? AP: The box stores are gaining a lot of ground, regardless of what the independents may believe. The box stores are a lot more aggressive and the growers are taking a lot more control of the product. This Christmas, the box stores even had cut Christmas trees – Fraser firs, a good selection of trees. They weren’t premiums, but they weren’t Charlie Browns either. The box stores affected the independent sales of cut Christmas trees because they were selling them at a very attractive price. Poinsettias are another example of improvement. It used to be you could (only) get a big beautiful poinsettia at a garden center, and the cheap ones were at the box store. Now, you can get one whose quality is just […]

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November 15, 2011

Interstate Transport Opens Two Regional Sales & Dispatch Centers

Interstate Transport has opened two new, company-owned and operated sales and dispatch centers. The centers, located in Colorado and Missouri, opened simultaneously last month, adding to the company’s current regional locations in Florida and Georgia. “The key to our amazing growth is that we listen intently to our customers,” says Tim Higham, president and CEO of Interstate Transport. “When they need experts who are ready to respond and provide regional solutions on the spot, we’ll open a sales and dispatch center nearby to meet their defined needs in that particular region. We want our customers to know that we are more than just a vendor, we are truly a partner and we’re willing to commit the resources and technology necessary to help them succeed. Our success only comes from their success.” Geographical diversity means Interstate’s trucks are moving efficiently, which results in the best possible rates and on-time service for […]

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November 10, 2011

12 More Ways Growers Can Enhance Their Retailer Relationships

Alex LaVilla, Liane Smith and Gabriel Maki represent the buying team at Swansons Nursery. The green goods buying team at Swansons Nursery includes Alex LaVilla (perennials), Liane Smith (annuals and seasonal color) and Gabriel Maki (woody trees and shrubs). Two weeks ago, the three buyers shared 11 ways growers can improve from a retail perspective. This week, we share another list from Swansons Nursery – this one featuring 12 things growers can do to enhance their relationships with retailers. 1. Custom grow specialty products for niche markets. 2. Establish inventory partnerships with guaranteed sales for bulk purchases to move more plants. 3. Establish discount partnerships during a garden center’s sale periods to help move more product. 4. Know the current market. Be aware of the old standard best sellers, but don’t be afraid to offer newer introductions to test the market and see what the new standards will be. 5. […]

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October 31, 2011

11 Ways Growers Can Improve From A Retail Perspective

Brad Siebe, the president and general manager at Swansons Nursery in Seattle, Wash., connected with his green goods merchandise managers—Alex LaVilla (perennials), Gabriel Maki (woody trees and shrubs) and Liane Smith (annuals and seasonal color—on areas in which growers can generally improve their business management skills. Here are 11 areas the team shared with Greenhouse Grower: 1. Better use of available technologies for consistency and accuracy in ordering and billing. The days of handwritten invoices are over! We need to be able to order, receive acknowledgements very quickly and receive the order in a few days. 2. More interest in what our specific market is and how they can be successful partners in serving our market with us. Many growers do not know their own market share and are not knowledgeable of what other growers are offering. Often times, they are all offering the same plants and the only variation from one […]

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October 31, 2011

‘Sustainability’ That Boosts The Bottom Line

Erik Runkle, right, interviewing experts at Wageningen University. Growers who think investments in sustainability techniques and technologies are a drain on the bottom line should make time to view a new series of videos. The series, live on TheSustainabilityInitiative.org, features Michigan State University’s Erik Runkle interviewing greenhouse growers in the United States and Holland about their sustainable practices. The project involved more than 20 greenhouse growers and industry experts who share their experiences and insights in a series of more than 40 videos. The interviews explore major issues in sustainability today, including energy, lighting, water, automation, pest control, logistics and profitability. In dozens of candid conversations shot on location in greenhouses, labs and garden centers, Runkle delves into the ways the trade is investing in sustainable solutions to increase productivity and profitability, with a sharp eye on return on investment. “We talked to a lot of people and asked tough questions,” […]

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October 31, 2011

Marketing That Speaks To Your Customers

Garden State Growers isn’t afraid to explore industries like cosmetics, fashion and home furnishings for ideas that appeal more directly to the emotions of our industry’s core consumer: women. Here’s a look at a few of the marketing concepts Garden State recently developed:

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