What Goes Around Comes Around

My wife’s mother often used the statement in the headline to indicate what you did in the past will come around to haunt you in the future. She was one of the kindest and most considerate people I have ever met. She worked hard, took care of her home, was a great cook and would never say a bad word about anyone. Some people were less than kind to her, but she would always say, “What goes around will come around.”

I’ve thought about her and her saying, and in the last couple of months, I’ve come to the conclusion: “Here we go again.”

In the last two to three weeks, I have read 20 to 30 business and management magazines, listened to television news and even checked the Internet to determine what the feeling is regarding our business position.

Most now acknowledge we are in a recession. With 10 percent national unemployment and almost 20 percent in Michigan, some might say that it is a depression. However, we must realize we have been the richest country in the world since our colonial days.

In an article in March’s U.S. News & World Report, Rich Newman asked, “Are we becoming a soft society afraid to fail and try again?” Let’s take a look at floriculture and the greenhouse industry to see if we are able to fail and try again.

Glancing Back

In the 1930s, our industry had a very formal market structure. There was the grower who sold to the wholesaler who sold to the retailer. Because most of the product at that time was cut flowers and some potted plants, the system was very efficient. Even though the grower thought the wholesaler was making too much money and the retailer thought the price of the product was too high, the system worked fairly well.

In the 1950s, former vegetable field growers started producing flowers and vegetable transplants. Most of these products were not sold through wholesalers, but directly to small independent stores.

I remember going to my local hardware store and seeing wooden flats of tomatoes, peppers, petunias and impatiens for sale by the plant. Most people would buy a dozen. The plants were cut out of the flat and wrapped in newspaper. At that time, the plants sold for three to five cents apiece.

By the early 1960s, the products being developed by the vegetable and bedding plant growers no longer fit into the formal marketing system. In the early 1950s, cut flowers were the largest part of floriculture with potted plants second, foliage plants third and bedding plants last.

In the last 50 years, we have made bedding plants the largest part of floriculture. Cut flower production has moved to South America. Production of potted plants has not increased greatly percentage-wise, nor has production of foliage plants.

Lesson To Be Learned

In the July 2009 issue of Time magazine, there is an article titled “What Barack Obama Can Learn from FDR.” When FDR was elected in 1932, he faced a tremendous job restoring the economy and getting people back to work. It couldn’t be done in 100 days. It took years to bring back the economic system with the guidance and help of the federal government.

FDR’s goal was to develop programs that provided security and safety for the country. He started the Social Security system and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). His administration developed plans for infrastructure, banking, the arts, agriculture, labor, the environment, welfare, housing and unemployment.

With the people and government working together, we took the country from the dark days of the 1929 stock market crash and turned it back into a strong, stable society by 1945. During this time, our country also helped win World War II at a great cost to our soldiers and at great expense to those who supported them at home.

Some people say it took seven years for the United States to recover from the 1929 stock market crash, while others say it took 25 years. Now, more than 70 years later, we have some of the same situations that existed in the early 1930s. What goes around comes around.

In floriculture we see a marketing system that looks like it’s reverted to that of the 1930s to 1950s, with growers, wholesalers and retailers, only today the large growers may also be the wholesalers. They are the ones who deal with the big box stores and use smaller growers to provide the product they can’t or don’t want to produce themselves.

Our safety net for our employees may be as poor as it was in the 1940s to 1950s. Many have lost over 30 to 40 percent of their retirement savings because of the financial disaster of Wall Street and unscrupulous bankers.

While the environment sounds like gloom and doom, we need to make our plans to not only survive but also thrive under these conditions. I have eight ideas I think might help in deciding how to survive and thrive in the next 10 years.

The Ideas

• Successful businesses are founded on need. Do you provide what people want and need? Are you able to produce it when they want and need it? Can it be done profitably?

• In times like these, your business has a chance to show its strength. If you have the right employees, they have the right skills and you have a vision of what must be done, then you have what it takes to survive this difficult economic time.

• Be original! Remember, if you have the right people and the right facilities, one original thought can be worth more than 1,000 questions asking: “What should we do?”

• Learn from experience. It is important to know that the only thing more painful than learning from experience is not learning from experience.

• Time is important. Time cannot be expanded, contracted, accelerated, slowed, mortgaged or saved. You have to use time wisely. Every minute counts. Use it or lose it! But remember, you will never get it back!

• Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It is always discouraging to make a mistake, but it is humiliating when you find out nobody even noticed. You will try lots of things. Many will not work and fail quickly. At least people will know you are doing something, and one day you may be successful. However, you will never succeed if you don’t try.

• Let people know who the leader is. It doesn’t matter what direction you point. You need to provide the guidance and enthusiasm to let people know where you want to go and what you want to do.

• Be an entrepreneur. You are given a blank canvas and you must paint the picture. It may take many people to create the finished product, but you are the one who must have the vision of what it will look like in the end.

All these points prove what my mother-in-law, Lola Beauchamp, told me 50 years ago. We are in a recession or a depression right now. Good luck in adjusting to this part of the cycle.

Leave a Reply

More From Finance/Operations...
Hendriks-Half-Open-Roof_GGS

March 26, 2015

10 Greenhouse Products For First-Rate Growing Environments

From coverings to fork-lifts, greenhouse suppliers offer a variety of products to make growing easier. Check out the slideshow to learn more about these, plus several other products that can offer you value, versatility and durability.

Read More
Rose rosette on Knockout rose, April 2012. Photo credit: Alan Windham, University of Tennessee

March 25, 2015

$58 Million In APHIS Farm Bill Funding Will Support Horticulture Priorities

Nearly $58 million as been allocated by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to support the industry's Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program, under Farm Bill Section 10007. The program will support mitigation efforts for specialty crops, including providing research and other funding to address plant pest and disease priorities for the specialty crop industry, including floriculture and nursery crops.

Read More
AFE scholarship_Ryan Dickson

March 25, 2015

AFE Educational Grant And Scholarship Application Deadlines Approaching

Apply now for American Floral Endowment (AFE) scholarships or educational grants. Applications can be found online. For educational grants for 2015-2016, applications must be submitted no later than June 1. Scholarship applications are due May 1. AFE will award $40,000 in scholarships for 2015.

Read More
Latest Stories
AFE scholarship_Ryan Dickson

March 25, 2015

AFE Educational Grant And Scholarship Application Deadl…

Apply now for American Floral Endowment (AFE) scholarships or educational grants. Applications can be found online. For educational grants for 2015-2016, applications must be submitted no later than June 1. Scholarship applications are due May 1. AFE will award $40,000 in scholarships for 2015.

Read More

March 23, 2015

UF/IFAS Appoints Joseph Albano As Director Of Mid-Flori…

The University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) has a new directors for its Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (REC) on Apopka, Fla. The role has been filled by Joseph Albano, a research horticulturist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture with more than 25 years of experience.

Read More

March 17, 2015

Pike Nurseries Implements Employee Stock Ownership Plan

Independent garden retailer Pike Nurseries has announced it will become an employee-owned company. Pike Nurseries management has combined with its sister corporation in California, Armstrong Garden Centers, to operate under an established Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

Read More
GrowIt! App Wins Gold At Design100 2014 US Mobile & App Design Awards

March 10, 2015

GrowIt! Mobile App Now Available For Android

The mobile app GrowIt! Garden Socially can now be used by gardeners with Android-based smartphones. Now available on the Google Play Market, GrowIt! helps users find plants to fit their lifestyle and connect them with other local gardeners.

Read More

March 4, 2015

Second Annual GreenhouseConnect Will Bring Growers and …

Following a successful inaugural event in Tampa last fall, Greenhouse Grower has announced the dates of its second annual GreenhouseConnect: October 26-29, 2015. Representatives of an expected two dozen leading greenhouse operations from across the U.S. will join senior-level suppliers at Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego for several days of one-on-one strategic meetings, a growers-only roundtable, informational sessions and a variety of networking events.

Read More

March 4, 2015

Maryland Green Industry Associations Unite

The Maryland Nursery and Landscape Association recently announced that it is expanding its reach to include the greenhouse industry, meaning it has become The Maryland Nursery, Landscape and Greenhouse Association (MNLGA). The change comes as a result of the planned dissolution of the former Maryland Greenhouse Growers Association and the invitation for those members to join the existing and renamed association.

Read More
IPPS Sharing Plant Production Knowledge Globally Logo

February 25, 2015

International Plant Propagators Western Region Sets Ann…

The annual meet for the International Plant Propagators' Society (IPPS) Western Region has been set for this September. It will take place September 23 to 26 in Modesto, Calif., and will include learning sessions, tours to local nurseries, a research poster display and poster presentations, various networking opportunities and an awards banquet to close the event.

Read More
myers industries Lawn and Garden Logo

February 24, 2015

Myers Industries, Inc. Lawn And Garden Business Sold, N…

The management of Myers Lawn and Garden Group, along with Wingate Partners V, L.P. have recently acquired the Myers Industries, Inc. Lawn and Garden business. The new company is named The HC Companies, and will continue as a North American leading provider of horticulture containers supplying the greenhouse, nursery and retail markets.

Read More
american-hort-logo

February 17, 2015

AmericanHort Announces New Board Members

AmericanHort recently announced the election of new officers and members to the board of directors. Each will assume their positions on the board during Cultivate’15, July 11 to 14 in Columbus, Ohio.

Read More
All American Selections

February 17, 2015

All-America Selections Elects New Officers, Names New J…

While meeting during the Flower and Vegetable Seed Conference in Tampa, Fla., hosted by the American Seed Trade Association, All-America Selections elected new officers for a two-year term. Read on to learn about the new officers, as well as all of the new judges that were added in 2014.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower.com on your desktop, on your phone, on your tablet

February 11, 2015

GreenhouseGrower.com Relaunches With Responsive Design …

Greenhouse Grower magazine, the nation’s leader in profits, production and education for greenhouse growers, announces the launch of its completely redesigned website, GreenhouseGrower.com. The new design is the product of direct user feedback and GreenhouseGrower.com analytics, and includes responsive design for ease of mobile use.

Read More
Andy Higgins

February 3, 2015

MasterTag Names Andy Higgins As Its New President

Former CEO and president of Ecke Ranch, Andy Higgins, joins MasterTag as its new president. He brings more than two decades of industry experience to the position.

Read More
Syngenta Bioline Hires Ronald Valentin For Technical Lead Role

January 28, 2015

Syngenta Bioline Hires Ronald Valentin For Technical Le…

Ronald Valentin has been appointed technical lead for Syngenta Bioline, effective January 2015. He will be responsible for technical support of Bioline biological control agents and will be instrumental in helping growers develop integrated pest management (IPM) solutions.

Read More

January 27, 2015

Give Equal Time To The Number Crunchers

Before investing in a new business opportunity, check in with the financial gurus of your organization to make certain you have the cash flow to back up your efforts.

Read More
Plant Introductions, Inc. partners Mark Griffith, Dr. Michael Dirr and Jeff Beasley and Bailey Nurseries President Terri McEnaney.

January 20, 2015

Bailey Nurseries’ Purchase Of Plant Introductions Inc. …

When Bailey Nurseries purchased its long-time breeding partner, Plant Introductions, Inc. (PII), in early January 2015, it freed the PII team to concentrate on what they do best: develop new plants. Bailey Nurseries will take on the business management side of the partnership, but otherwise the relationship it has enjoyed with PII for years will be largely unchanged.

Read More
Plant Introductions, Inc. partners Mark Griffith, Dr. Michael Dirr and Jeff Beasley and Bailey Nurseries President Terri McEnaney.

January 13, 2015

Bailey Nurseries Acquires Plant Introductions

Bailey Nurseries has acquired Plant Introductions, Inc. (PII), effective January 1, 2015. PII has developed numerous innovative new varieties that have been marketed worldwide, many introduced by Bailey Nurseries.

Read More

January 7, 2015

How Inflation Affects Your Business And Why You Can’t I…

Awareness of the true increase in costs after inflation is a necessary part of good financial management for greenhouse operations.

Read More

December 4, 2014

New Developments In Shipping/Logistics Software

Improved shipping and logistics software from Picas Software and MapMechanics makes it easier for growers to plan loads efficiently and automate day-to-day distribution planning.

Read More