Putting People First

As Roy den Hollander describes how Garden State Growers has automated itself in recent years, you can hear a strong sense of compassion for his employees in his voice. At a time when minimum wages, health care and workers’ compensation costs are on most people’s minds, den Hollander is talking about adding conveyors as a means of rewarding his hardest-working employees.

Equipment and automation are obviously a great way to shrink your labor force and reduce costs. Garden State, located in Pittstown, N.J., has been able to do both. But as den Hollander ponders automation’s value, he also considers the operation’s automation investment an investment in the loyalest people serving it.

Before outdoor conveyors were added at Garden State, den Hollander describes employees lugging 2-gallon perennial containers two at a time into a field hundreds of feet away from the greenhouse. Imagine having to do that task a few hundred times in a day, den Hollander says. Your shoulders would plead with you for mercy. The operation’s new mobile outdoor conveyor puts an end to that pain staking task.

Den Hollander’s approach to automation is a team-oriented one, too. Garden State is very much a family business, but the compassion den Hollander exudes reflects the inclusion of even the entry-level worker as part of the operation’s “family.” Garden State’s approach to automation is also the right one. It’s an approach that enhances employee efficiency, balancing the needs of the business with those of the people serving it.

Getting To Know You

Keeping the people we at Greenhouse Grower serve in mind, the redesigned magazine we’re unveiling this month continues to focus on the knowledge and tools you need to sustain and enhance the vitality of your business. The biggest difference between the old and new designs is the ease by which information can be read and used.

A big part of this new design are the pillars on which the magazine is now built. By now, you’re familiar with BenchPress, our regular columnists and extensive varieties coverage. All those elements are still here. We’ve simply broken them into four sections you’ll see in every issue: News & People, Production, Profit Center and Variety Central.

Perhaps most striking to you is our new Greenhouse Grower logo. The new logo reflects the cleaner, crisper look we think you’ll prefer on our pages. We’re also devoting a little more space to photos, particularly in our varieties coverage, because photos of the products you grow really are worth a thousand words.

The people you’ve come to know and trust over the years are still part of Greenhouse Grower. You’ll continue to read Will Carlson’s take on news and people in the industry and Allan Armitage’s take on varieties. And you’ll be seeing some new contributors, as well. Guest grower columnists will appear in the Production section, and experts like Charlie Hall and Laurie Scullin will anchor Profit Center, a new section that adds a bottom-line focus to the former Market Watch section. We realize marketing is only part of the equation that makes your business profitable these days. Profit Center keeps marketing in mind, but we’re taking a broader approach each month to help you generate more revenue and reduce costs.

Let us know what you think of the new look. Our goal, after all, is to help you grow.

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