In response to Vinny Naab’s views last week on merchandising services, Dave Hutsell of Gro-ECO, Fraleigh Nursery in Madison, Fla., wrote:
First, I remember a few years back when Wal-Mart was slammed in the news media for allowing undocumented workers through third-party janitorial services. While these services were totally contracted business, Wal-Mart still had the responsiblity to make sure all workers were legal. As third-party merchandising services grow, this is an issue all will have to address. Since Congress seems to want to put the burden of proof on the employer, it will be difficult for growers to keep up with the demand.
Second, growers are growers, merchants are merchandisers. It would be nice to keep it that way. I think the real question here is who directly pays for markdowns and shrink? The grower or the merchant? Ultimately, the customer will. I think that historically in a retail accounting world, the customer gets a better product when stores bury their dead. Growers and customers would much rather see fresh, healthy product in the stores. Nothing is worse than walking a garden center full of damaged, dead product that the store manager won’t throw out to avoid markdowns. While everybody loves a clean walk, today’s retail giants just can’t swallow a markdown. So ultimately, it is less painful to pay for it with higher prices.
What do you think? Are you providing merchandising services or contracting them out? What are your successes and challenges? Drop us line at [email protected]