Montgomery Retail Report: New York

Montgomery Retail Report: New York

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery visited 109 retail garden center locations in the New York area around Mother’s Day. Below is his New York regional retail report:

The weather was really erratic over the five days touring retailers on Long Island and the boroughs of New York City, Northern New Jersey and suburbs north of New York up to Norwalk, Conn.–making for a very interesting tour. The weather was fairly nice until Mother’s Day (May 9) when the wind reached up to 50 miles per hour, but it was surprising how much traffic was in the stores.

There is no doubt the consumer wants to buy green goods, as I witnessed great traffic flow in most retail locations on the 6th (Thursday), 7th (Friday) and 8th (Saturday). Edibles, of course, were one category that stood out, as evidenced by the number of shopping carts containing vegetables and herbs. This has to be a banner year for Bonnie Plants.

Home Depot

Home Depot is clearly the leading retailer of green goods in this area with the largest footprint on Long Island and in New York City and its surrounding suburbs that included two very interesting Manhattan locations. Most impressive is the performance of Ivy Acres, arguably one of the top Home Depot vendors, by providing great-looking bedding plants and far more color than I’ve seen in most retailers this season.

An interesting program is the Straw Pot 306 program: six 3.5-inch pots made from straw similar to a 306 with a retail of $9.99. It’s the equivalent of $29.97 for a 10 x 20 tray. The item seemed to have good sales velocity with many displays picked over by consumers.

Home Depot also had larger-than-expected Proven Winners SKUs, which did not seem to be moving off shelves at the velocity of other brands–particularly Wave petunias. No Calliope Geraniums were available but I was told by several garden center mangers the earlier shipments sold out quickly. There were small amounts of Viva petunias and SunPatiens, and fairly large inventories of Tex-Mex geraniums.

The space allocated to shrubs and trees seemed much greater here, but if you looked at the traffic, 95 percent of the shoppers were in the bedding plant and perennial areas–in my estimation not a good use of space.

Lowe’s

Lowe’s has a far smaller footprint in this area with seven locations on Long Island versus 21 for Home Depot. In the boroughs of New York City, Lowe’s has two stores versus 13 for Home Depot.

The Grow Your Own edibles program was in every store I visited. The big difference from other areas was the addition of a “flat talker” inserted on the end of each tray that made variety recognition far easier. Also in the vegetable category, Bonnie Plants has changed its large POS signs by making them more colorful and eye catching.

All Lowe’s stores carried the Proven Winners brand of which many Home Depot vendors assumed they had an exclusive.

Walmart

In this area, there are very few Super Centers. I visited three stores on Long Island that offered no outdoor green goods. The best marketing program was the 8-inch Confetti petunia retailing for $6.00 with standout packaging.

BJ’s Wholesale Club

Clearly the warehouse club leader in this area is BJ’s with its overwhelming store density, carrying large inventories of green goods displayed outside on the sidewalks against the store walls. Whether it was the conditions or the plant material, the overall look was not that attractive.

Costco

The following items are worth mentioning:

–Ten 4-inch premium annuals retailing at $21.49
–10-inch geraniums in a colorful tin watering can at $17.99–a high-impact item
–12-inch coco fiber hanging baskets retailing at $17.99
–12-inch patio Clematis trellis retailing at $24.99
–6-inch orchid ceramic retailing at $17.99–outstanding
–Full flat 508 (40 plants) basic annuals retailing at $7.99
–16-inch patio combo retailing at $29.99
–3-packs of 1-gallon perennials retailing at $12.99

Sam’s Club

The following items are worth mentioning:

–12-inch fiber hanging baskets retailing at $17.62
–10-inch fern hanging baskets retailing at $7.43
–Wishing Well planters retailing at $29.88
–  12-inch tulip ceramic containers retailing at $18.83

Kmart

Although Kmart has small garden centers, most of the bedding plants are displayed outside on sidewalks with little to no protection form the elements. Its offering was not very appealing and had little of the “wow” factor. The inventory looked aged, possibly a sign of less-than-anticipated sales.

King Kullen (Grocery)

King Kullen had a very small area outside the store that was not well merchandised. Green goods, therefore, did not look appealing. The following items were offered:

–4.5-inch premium annuals at $2.99
–10-inch basic hanging baskets retailing at $8.99
–11-inch premium hanging baskets retailing at $14.99
–Three 6-inch tomatoes retailing at $9.99
–Wave petunia 6-inch retailing at $5.99
–Wave 306 retailing at $3.99

Waldbaum’s (Grocery)

Waldbaum’s is another grocery chain trying to sell bedding plants with seemingly little sales volume. The displays are outside in the front of the store and don’t seem to get much attention:

–10-inch hanging basket premiums retailing at $12.99
–  12-inch premium hanging baskets retailing at $19.99
–6-inch Waves retailing at $4.99
–4.5-inch premium annuals retailing at $3.99
–12-inch patio geraniums retailing at $19.99
–4-inch basic annuals: four for $5
–306 annuals basic retailing at $4.99
–10-inch Sun Parasol retailing at $22.99

Hick’s Nursery

These guys know how to sell plants and get premium prices exhibiting some of the best merchandising I have seen in a long time. Everything either has a price tag or a corresponding group of price signs that makes shopping easy for the consumer. Hick’s also has more informational signs that any other retailer I have visited.

This is where you really see the “wow” factor, displaying large inventories with amazing color that’s well merchandised. The employees are all engaged with customers and seem to go out of their way to answer questions and make recommendations.

Martin Viette Nurseries
Martin Viette is an old-line nursery with a huge following of long-time customers that seems to specialize in outdoor living as averse to focusing on bedding plants. It does offer bedding plants, but there is a not a huge emphasis.

A large selection of patio containers and outdoor furniture compliment the green goods offering. Martin Viette is a really high-quality operation with well-trained employees who seem to be very knowledgeable and project a sense of liking their customer’s–kind of unusual in today’s world.

Summary

The demand for outdoor green goods is as good as ever. The X factor continues to be the weather. Edibles are growing in demand, as well as the related hard goods that make edibles the real engine of growth both in green goods and hard goods.

Home Depot is clearly the market leader with a huge footprint on Long Island and New York City metro. Some of the unique programs are Straw Pots, large offerings of Red Star cordyline in sizes up to 10 inches and the Weather Channel accent program–under the brand “Weather Tough.” It’s a good example of how a program approach brings focus to a generic category. Arguably, this program drives higher sales and increased margins.

In this market, Ivy Acres clearly stands out as a high-performance vendor with its stores showing more of the “wow” effect than others. It has one of the most professional group of merchandisers I have seen anywhere in the country. They bring in unique products like the Solenia begonia that was a standout at retail, the Straw Pots, Red Star cordyline and Knockout roses in Straw Pots–all of which are moving well at retail. I would guess the margins are above average.

One of my pet peeves is the way mixed variety baskets and containers are devalued by recipes that don’t provide varieties that all bloom together at retail. It seems as though when it comes to creating combinations the industry disregards the mantra “color sells” in favor of extolling their creative instincts. We see retailers dictating combinations that have little to no appeal at retail, as evidenced by what I saw from the dominant retailer in the area.

Consumers want mixed containers but they want stuff that looks great and will flower together all summer. Currently, we are not delivering the goods. The best combinations we saw both in baskets and pots were both single varieties with masses of color, and those produced from the Confetti liner. Let’s give the consumer the same “wow” factor in mixed containers as we do in pots and flats, and they will respond by opening their wallets.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

More From Marketing...
Double Whammy Merchandise Display At CAST2015

May 28, 2015

Grow Inspiration To Grow The Horticulture Industry

We need to work together as the horticulture industry to inspire and instruct consumers with our plant knowledge and marketing expertise.

Read More
Plant-Select_for-web

May 28, 2015

PlantSelect.org And FindPlants.net Assist Consumers With Growing And Finding Plants

The recently launched PlantSelect.org and FindPlants.net websites offer growing and maintenance tips, where-to-buy information and design ideas to help consumers have success with growing and finding plants.

Read More
Cal-Poly fields

May 27, 2015

Cal-Poly Students And Faculty Ask Industry To Help Save Horticulture Facilities

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, has released an update to its Master Plan that indicates that almost all of its orchards, horticulture facilities and field sites could be repurposed for buildings, including residential, and/or recreational space. According to a letter from Scott Steinmaus, the horticulture and crop science department head, the proposed changes directly affect the current orchard plantings and other long term plans for the department. The department is committed to making sure that its facilities remain invaluable teaching environments that enable its students to learn about crop, fruit and horticulture production, food safety and pest protection, in addition to providing sites for externally funded research projects that benefit the industry. Industry members are invited to submit comments to the university. According to Steinmaus, a recent eMail to the Cal-Poly community from the university president indicates that all of the input gathered through the end of May will be studied by the planning […]

Read More
Latest Stories
Double Whammy Merchandise Display At CAST2015

May 28, 2015

Grow Inspiration To Grow The Horticulture Industry

We need to work together as the horticulture industry to inspire and instruct consumers with our plant knowledge and marketing expertise.

Read More
Plant-Select_for-web

May 28, 2015

PlantSelect.org And FindPlants.net Assist Consumers Wit…

The recently launched PlantSelect.org and FindPlants.net websites offer growing and maintenance tips, where-to-buy information and design ideas to help consumers have success with growing and finding plants.

Read More
Four Star Greenhouse Proven Winner Plants At English Garden

May 26, 2015

Retailer To Grower: It’s Time To Offer Services To Loc…

Retailers wonder why mass merchants are the only ones to receive stocking, merchandising and plant care from growers.

Read More
New Guinea Impatiens

May 14, 2015

10 Tips To Improve Retail Shelf Life Of Bedding Plants

Good-looking plants at retail lead to stronger sales and less postharvest shrink. Try these 10 ideas for maintaining quality and keeping plants looking beautiful.

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

May 12, 2015

Suntory And GrowIt! Garden Socially Partner On A New Se…

Three different contests will run from May through early August. Garden center retailers can upload their own photos or encourage their customers to enter and win.

Read More

May 6, 2015

Orange Is The New Green: An Interview With Dümmen Orang…

The day the news came out about the name change of DNA Green Group to Dümmen Orange, and everything that meant for the large flower breeding conglomerate, Greenhouse Grower Editor Laura Drotleff talked with Dümmen Orange Operations Manager Kate Santos about what the identity shift would mean for the company, its customers and ultimately for consumers. What’s going to happen to the brands and what was behind the decision to do away with those brands and consolidate? A key objective for our organization in moving to one corporate brand is to continue to stay true to the heritage and history of the individual brands that have made us what we are today and what we will build the future of our company upon. For this reason, some of those brands that have a deep-rooted history and much more recognition within the market, will have a longer persistence in our overall […]

Read More

May 1, 2015

Restoration Landscapes: A Specialized Market For Nativ…

Restoration landscapes, depending on their purpose, often require straight native species, along with a confirmation of their known provenance. Research is key in this area and good recordkeeping is a must.

Read More
Dummen_Begonia_UnbelieveableFirstKiss

April 29, 2015

Dümmen Orange Is The New Name For DNA Green Group

DNA Green Group has a new name: Dümmen Orange. The company revealed its new name, logo and brand values at all of its facilities in 16 countries on Thursday, April 23. The well-known corporate brands Lex+, Bartels, Terra Nigra, Dümmen Group, Agribio China, Agribio Colombia, Oro, PLA, as well as the production locations, are changing their identities immediately to Dümmen Orange. Other established brands like Rijnplant, Ecke, Oglevee, Red Fox, Fides, Japan Agribio and Barberet & Blanc will convert over limited time. The company’s CEO Biense Visser calls it a logical next step. “All companies that have been acquired have a rich and successful history,” Visser says. “We have always tried to respect that heritage. Doing so, we created confusion for our customers. Our employees expressed a preference for a more uniform approach to the market, too. That is why we have chosen one large umbrella brand that embraces the entire product […]

Read More

April 15, 2015

Redesigned SunPatiens Website Offers New Tools For Saka…

Sakata Seed America's new and improved SunPatiens website launched March 1, 2015 and provides growing information, marketing support, product location and many more tools to encourage consumer success with SunPatiens.

Read More
Keenland

April 13, 2015

Proven Winners Partners With Award-Winning Designer Jon…

Proven Winners will partner with award-winning garden designer, author and fine living expert Jon Carloftis on a new series of four LIFE + STYLE events in 2015. In true Carloftis style, food and spirits will be paired with inspiring architecture and innovative garden designs featuring Proven Winners plants.

Read More

April 13, 2015

New Consumer Website Makes Buying Roses Easier

A new website has been created as a resource tool for gardeners who are looking for a rose that fits their needs. This website is 100% consumer focused and will inspire confidence and promote rose gardening to the next generation of gardeners. Visitors will also find links to connect on social networks, such as Facebook and Pinterest. The website promotes roses, not specific brands, and that is what makes it unique.

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 Hor…

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
National Floriculture Forum 2015 029

March 18, 2015

2015 National Floriculture Forum Focuses On Marketing I…

The 2015 National Floriculture Forum, held March 6 to 7 in Minneapolis, Minn., zeroed in on the topic of marketing in horticulture and included visits to Gertens Greenhouses and Garden Center, Bailey Nurseries, Bachman’s Floral, Home and Garden and Tangletown Gardens. The annual meeting allows greenhouse and floriculture faculty, graduate students and industry partners to meet and share updates on current research, issues and initiatives.

Read More

February 18, 2015

Range Of Nursery Inspections To Protect Patented Plants…

Plant patents are under protection, and breeders are fighting for their rights to keep growers from illegally propagating protected varieties. It's something you don't want to take a chance on, because the risk is far higher than the reward. More than 300 inspections were carried out last year from New York to British Columbia and from Ontario to Florida to protect plant patents, Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) and branded programs.

Read More

February 4, 2015

TPIE 2015: An Electrified Industry Vibe Boosts Cool New…

The general feeling at the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association's 2015 Tropical Industry Exhibition (TPIE) was upbeat and positive. Attendees were inspired by exciting new products and varieties, as well as creative new displays and innovative ideas and left energized for the season ahead.

Read More
Costa Farms Website

January 21, 2015

Costa Farms’ Launches New Interactive Website

Costa Farms is making efforts to educate consumers while pushing horticultural digital marketing forward with the re-design of its website. The new website features a fresh design and improved navigation, as well as a plant finder that gives gardeners easy access to plant information.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Growers Are Successfully Marketing The Benefits Of Pla…

Growers who are already marketing plant benefits and gardening as a lifestyle say they think this could be the best angle for the floriculture industry to promote our products.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Plants Love You Campaign Raises Plant Benefits To Foref…

Plants make us feel good. It’s a no-brainer, backed by numerous studies, but there’s more to the story. And it’s one the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) hopes its Plants Love You campaign will tell in such a way that it will inspire people to make plants a part of their life, and on a bigger scale. COHA is an alliance between the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA), the Fédération Interdisciplinaire De L’Horticulture Ornementqale Du Québec (FIHOQ) and Flowers Canada Growers (FCG). Inspiration for The Plants Love You campaign came from COHA’s research, which revealed that 96 percent of consumers surveyed have a favorable attitude toward plants. When COHA delved deeper into the numbers, one thing stood out loud and clear. “It quickly became apparent that while consumers like plants because they are pretty and make them feel good, few understood the environmental and health benefits plants offer.” says Frank […]

Read More