A Grower’s Best Resource Is Other Growers

GROW logoGreenhouse Grower’s sister publication, Today’s Garden Center, honors a unique group of garden retailers each year with its Revolutionary 100 Garden Centers list. It’s a little like Greenhouse Grower’s Top 100 list, but instead of ranking them by size or revenue, retailers are selected for the list by how progressive and innovative — how revolutionary — they are. Numbers play a role, but mostly as a measuring stick to see how well these retailers translate creative business ideas into bottom-line success.

Each January, Today’s Garden Center invites the 100 retailers on the list to get together for a three-day roundtable meeting to ask each other questions, share ideas and brainstorm solutions to each others’ problems. I’ve been attending this meeting for the last seven years and it’s amazing to see what they accomplish. I believe for many of the retailers in the room, it may be the most valuable event they attend all year.

So why am I telling you about this? Because I think it’s something that growers, in their own way, could be doing just as well — if not even better.

Many of the challenges these independent retailers face (selecting the right product, merchandising and marketing for their specific customer base, for example) are unique to their own operations. As a grower, on the other hand, you often deal with many of the same challenges your peers down the road or across the country are trying to work through. How are they managing timing or nutrition issues with a new variety? What are they trying that’s helping control whitefly or downy mildew? How are they training seasonal labor? If you have a problem in the greenhouse, you know there are hundreds of other growers scratching their heads over the same subject right now. Some of them are coming up with ways to do things better.

Sharing that kind of information is our job here at Greenhouse Grower. (This month’s Talking Shop column from D.S. Cole Growers’ propagation grower on his experiences with predatory mites is one great example.) But this exchange of ideas and tips and best practices is something you can do on your own, as well.

At the Revolutionary 100 Roundtable meeting, one garden center manager told the group about a regular meeting he has with peers in other garden retail businesses. Every other Monday, he and the group meet online in a Google Hangout and share. They talk about what’s working in their garden centers and what’s not. They exchange information about promotions they’re trying, products that are selling and what ideas they might be able to borrow from each other to solve a problem.

While these retailers aren’t direct competitors for customers — they’re all at least a two-hour drive apart — the garden center manager said they’re friendly competitors in other ways — who’s doing the best on sales or turns or margins, for example. They drive each other to be better.

Take a minute this month to think about a half dozen of your peers you could benefit from sharing ideas with. Then pick up your phone or send a few eMails. See how you can make another grower’s job a little bit easier and how they can help you solve a few of your problems, too.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

More From Grow Initiative...
Dramm-Echter-Pink-Gerbera-Daisies

November 22, 2016

Dramm & Echter Donates Pink Gerbera Daisies During Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day Event

“As a local flower farm, we are honored to show our support by sharing symbolic pink flowers with each participant as they reach the midway point on their amazing journey,” says Bob Echter, Owner of Dramm & Echter.

Read More
deming-pdsa-cycle

November 21, 2016

How The PDSA Cycle Can Help You Improve Your Business

No successful business stays stagnant, which means you should constantly be looking for ways to make improvements to your business and your products. Are you looking for a good model to follow? Try the PDSA Cycle.

Read More
afe-fundraising-dinner

November 17, 2016

AFE Fundraising Dinner Celebrates Success, Raises Almost $20,000

The American Floral Endowment’s biggest fundraising event of the year, the 2016 Annual Fundraising Dinner, did more than just honor industry champions. It also raised nearly $20,000 for the future of floriculture programs.

Read More
Latest Stories
Dramm-Echter-Pink-Gerbera-Daisies

November 22, 2016

Dramm & Echter Donates Pink Gerbera Daisies During …

“As a local flower farm, we are honored to show our support by sharing symbolic pink flowers with each participant as they reach the midway point on their amazing journey,” says Bob Echter, Owner of Dramm & Echter.

Read More
deming-pdsa-cycle

November 21, 2016

How The PDSA Cycle Can Help You Improve Your Business

No successful business stays stagnant, which means you should constantly be looking for ways to make improvements to your business and your products. Are you looking for a good model to follow? Try the PDSA Cycle.

Read More
afe-fundraising-dinner

November 17, 2016

AFE Fundraising Dinner Celebrates Success, Raises Almos…

The American Floral Endowment’s biggest fundraising event of the year, the 2016 Annual Fundraising Dinner, did more than just honor industry champions. It also raised nearly $20,000 for the future of floriculture programs.

Read More
hoffman-nursery-owners

November 9, 2016

How Hoffman Nursery Invests In The Future Of The Greenh…

Hoffman Nursery believes in the future leaders of horticulture, and the operation invests in several programs to cultivate young people in their careers.

Read More
2015 GROW Summit_discussion shot

October 28, 2016

How We Can Inspire Millennials To Get Involved In Horti…

By uniting our efforts, we can attract new generations of growers and consumers to the horticulture industry, starting when they are young.

Read More
green-plan-it-gardening-outdoor-nature-explore-classroom

October 22, 2016

Here’s A Great Way To Bring Horticulture And Scho…

The Green Plan It Challenge gives school students in the U.K. the opportunity to participate in a 10-week project where they rethink the role of green space and develop solutions to horticulture-related problems.

Read More
Albert Grimm, Jefferys Greenhouses

October 19, 2016

How Jeffery’s Greenhouse Is Investing In The Indu…

Greenhouse Grower reached out to Albert Grimm, the 2016 Head Grower of the Year and Head Grower of Jeffery’s Greenhouse, to ask what he and his company have done in the last 12 months to invest in the industry. Here is what he had to say.

Read More
Dallas Johnson Greenhouses has significantly reduced the amount of time and labor spent pulling and processing orders, while improving plant quality at retail

October 1, 2016

Political Stalemate On Labor Means Your Opportunity To …

Despite the frustrating nature of our current political climate, now may be the best time for you to address your long-term labor and automation needs.

Read More
Vogel Alcove NGB Therapeutic Grant Winner

September 27, 2016

National Garden Bureau Announces Horticulture Therapy G…

The NGB’s annual grant program, Growing for Futures, recently selected three therapeutic gardens that will receive grants totaling $5,000.

Read More
customer-base

September 21, 2016

6 Creative Ways To Expand Your Business

Marketing experts offer tips to help you catch the attention of new customers and grow your business.

Read More
America In Bloom Project

August 29, 2016

Your Chance To Help America In Bloom As It Celebrates I…

America In Bloom is launching a fundraising campaign to help the group continue its mission of creating beautiful and vibrant communities across the country.

Read More
Next Generation

August 27, 2016

Australia Launches Initiative To Ignite A New Generatio…

Hort Innovation Chief Executive John Lloyd says the goal is to identify and build future industry leaders at all stages of their career through investment in a host of new initiatives.

Read More
Albert Grimm, Jefferys Greenhouses

August 25, 2016

7 Ways Albert Grimm Strives To Be An Effective Leader

Grimm, Greenhouse Grower's 2016 Head Grower Of The Year, tries to live by the "Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People” from author Stephen R. Covey.

Read More
LuxFlora - feature

August 22, 2016

Check Out Luxflora’s International Adventures In Europe

A new, women-led professional organization provides its members the opportunity to gain insight, develop ideas, and build connections on its annual international trip.

Read More
Echinacea ‘Butterfly Rainbow Marcella’

August 12, 2016

IR-4 Project Receives Federal Funding For Pollinator An…

Grants from the Specialty Crop Research Initiative will fund IR-4 projects on protecting pollinators through ornamental horticulture, and downy mildew management strategies.

Read More
Emily Teng

August 11, 2016

American Floral Endowment Announces Its 2016 Scholarshi…

This year, thanks to the generosity of several donors, AFE awarded more than $35,000 to 17 students pursuing careers in horticulture.

Read More
Josh Henry, North Carolina State University

August 8, 2016

Get To Know Joshua Henry, Winner Of The 2016 Richard T.…

Henry, a graduate student at North Carolina State University, is pursuing a Master’s degree in horticultural sciences, with a focus on crop nutrition in bedding plants and flowering potted plants.

Read More
Workers

July 23, 2016

5 Reasons To Invest In Employee Training

Training and developing your employees is critical to the future success of your organization and the horticulture industry at large. Here are five reasons why your employees are worth the effort.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]