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

‘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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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 28, 2011

SBI Adds Team Member

SBI Software recently added Chester Bammel, a former grower with a background in production management software support and development, to its team. Learn more about SBI online at www.sbiteam.com.

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October 17, 2011

Selecta Cut Flowers Launches Its Website

Selecta Cut Flowers has launched a new website with customer-focused tools, including: • Advance Search. Lets you browse our product easier and faster. • Brief news. Gives updates from Selecta on topics that impact your business. • Research and Showrooms. A map allows you to find our trial locations worldwide and request an appointment to see Selecta’s products. • A printable wish list. Helps you create your own product preference list. • Download Center. Offers an easy access to images for your marketing needs. • Virtual Catalog. Allows you to browse pages of Selecta’s catalog online. “At Selecta we understand the unique demand cut flower growers face,” says Nils Klemm, president and CEO of Selecta Cut Flowers. “We are doers who make our decisions in the fields, side-by-side with our customers, and innovators who support growers in staying a step ahead. This new website illustrates these goals.” To discover more, […]

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October 12, 2011

8 Tips For Getting Started In Social Media

1. Set your goals ahead of time detailing what your operation wants to get out of social media. This will help you focus your message appropriately. 2. Research each channel to find the one that suits your goals the best. 3. Identify the audience you want to reach ahead of time: is it consumers, retailers, growers or some other segment? 4. Have a plan for posting – who does it, how often, who answers consumer questions, what type of content at what time, etc. 5. Keep it fresh on each channel if you do multiple (i.e., don’t post the same thing on Facebook and Twitter every single time). 6. Go with your existing strengths when choosing content and channels. If you have an extensive photo gallery, send your audience to photos via Facebook or Twitter. If you have video, send them to YouTube or videos on your website. 7. Track […]

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October 12, 2011

Improve Your Bottom Line In Tough Times

The nursery industry has been hit with a 1-2-3 punch over the last five years. First, the advent of pay-by-scan, in which growers got paid when the consumer bought instead of when the store bought, created immediate losses on plants that died in the stores. Then the recession hit, driving down consumer demand for plants and shrubs. Finally, the weather this year created one of the most challenging growing seasons ever. Each of these events has forced growers to focus more intently on controlling cash and inventory. For many growers, techniques to increase top-line revenue have also become a central focus. In this article, we will focus on the key opportunity areas for growers to increase revenue and control expenses and inventory. Increasing Revenue The adage that it is easier to keep and expand an existing customer than create a new customer has never been more relevant than it is […]

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October 12, 2011

Social Media Isn’t Just For Retailers Anymore

Bell Nursery CEO Gary Mangum received conflicting advice on the merits of social media from the people around him who know it best: his kids. “My then 14-year-old let me know Facebook was no place for an old person,” Mangum says. “And my then 28-year-old daughter told me we ought to be on Facebook to capture the young people.” Mangum, whose company produces plants solely for Home Depot, started out on Facebook with just a personal account to catch up with old friends “with the side benefit of keeping up with the children.” But he soon realized there was a natural extension to the business in communicating directly with the end consumer. He set up the Bell Nursery page about 18 months ago to drive end consumers to either Home Depot stores or the retail giant’s Garden Club website. Right now there are about 3,000 people who “like” the Bell […]

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October 12, 2011

Social Media 101

What the heck is a Twitter? If you’re not yet schooled, check out this quick summary of the free social media channels available to you: Facebook. With more than 750 million active users, Facebook has a population more than twice as large as the United States. Users “friend” other people and “like” pages for companies or general topics. Users see a news feed that shows status updates, links, photos, videos and other information from all the people and pages they follow when they sign on. Twitter. A form of a mini-blog, Twitter lets users “follow” other accounts, and limits all posts to 140 characters or less. Twitter is a great option to feed followers to websites, blogs, photo galleries and videos for more information. YouTube. A video warehouse, YouTube is the second-largest search engine behind Google. Users upload videos and can create a “channel” that others can subscribe to and […]

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