Montgomery’s Orlando Retail Report

It was an ideal day for gardening, as well as shopping with temperatures of 55°F at a.m. rising to 85°F by the p.m. hours. Consumers were out in droves during the a.m. hours, but the traffic subsided dramatically in the afternoon.

Bedding plants, perennials and vegetables were moving well with the top selling annual appearing to be the T-18 landscaper tray. In the vegetables category, both seed and plants were selling well along with tremendous volumes of potting soil, top soil and mulches. There was also good movement in foliage plants that double as landscape plants in this market.

We visited two independent garden centers, but both were more focused on landscape plants, fountains and containers, so there was little to report about annuals and perennials.

Home Depot
Home Depot clearly has improved its products, quality and merchandising with better color, plant size and improvements in accuracy of pricing. Every item had the correct price card. The overall look of the interior of the garden centers was clean, neat and well organized.

On the outside aprons, Home Depot seems to have more emphasis on bagged goods, patio stone and larger trees and shrubs with most of the color on the interior of the garden center.

Home Depot uses more plant brands than the other national retailers–VIVA!, Vigoro, Florida Friendly Plants, Wave and Bonnie Plants.

Lowe’s had really impressive displays with great color and the right plant size, giving it a very compelling look. At Lowe’s, we saw some of the best geraniums–a 6-inch SKU consistently with five to six flowers per plant, where we normally see one to three flowers.

Lowe’s also had the best dahlias with good plants, size and loads of flowers. The same held true for New Guinea impatiens. Merchandise of this quality and look clearly is a challenge to any independent garden center with which Lowe’s competes.

Lowe’s offers most of its premium annuals in the Garden Club Select house brand, but it also offers some interesting programs (i.e. Strawberry Petunia and Yellow Petunia), both with separate SKUs and identity at premium prices. Smart, huh? Costa Farms does a great job mixing petunias and other items by putting two contrasting colors in the same basket.

Lowe’s also, in my opinion, maximizes the impact of its outdoor aprons with great colorful displays. The aprons are the highest impact areas and the first thing anybody driving into the parking lot sees.

Wal Mart
Walmart has made huge improvements in their Orlando stores with good quality plants showing lots of color that clearly improves the shopping experience. It appears Walmart has reduced the number of SKUs, focusing on the high-volume items and eliminating most of the “cute stuff.” Its garden centers look better than ever from my observations.

Along with SKU management, Walmart has really simplified prices. It rounds off either to full dollars or half-dollars (i.e. $3, $3.50 or $4). This strategy really makes pricing easy to understand and simplifies signage.

Costco was focused primarily on Easter offering the following items:
– 10-inch hydrangeas retailing at $14.98
– 10-inch 3ppp Easter lily retailing at $16.99
– 6-inch orchid. ceramic pot retailing at $19.99
– 10-inch bromeliad garden retailing at $19.99

All items were excellent quality, and the Easter lilies seemed to be moving at the best rate.

Sam’s Club
Sam’s offered mostly Easter items but did have two outdoor garden offerings.
– Three 6-inch Easter lilies retailing at $15.88
– 10-inch Easter lily 3ppp retailing at $15.88
– 12-inch tulips retailing at $21.62
– 10-inch hibiscus tree (braided) retailing at $14.88
– 12-inch geraniums retailing at $11.12

The 12-inch geraniums were out of bloom, appearing to have been on the shelves far too long.

Orlando Retailers & Vendors
Retailer Store Number City Vendor Grower
Home Depot 8447 Lady Lake Pure Beauty Riverview
Home Depot 0278 Leesburg    
Home Depot 8929 Apopka    
Home Depot 0263 Altamonte Springs    
Home Depot 6349 Orlando    
Home Depot 0262 Casselberry    
Home Depot 0264 Lake Mary    
Lowe’s 1685 Lady Lake Costa Farms Windmill Farms
Lowe’s 0569 Leesburg    
Lowe’s 2673 Apopka    
Lowe’s 0604 Altamonte Springs    
Lowe’s 1657 Sanford    
Lowe’s 2577 Mt. Dora    
Walmart 0955 Apopka American Farms  
Walmart 3207 Sanford    
Walmart 0857 Sanford    
Walmart 0943 Casselberry    
Walmart 0908 Orlando    
Walmart 0890 Orlando    
Walmart 0705 Mt. Dora    
Costco   Altamonte Springs White’s Nursery Kerry’s
Sam’s Club 8214 Fern Park Kurt Weiss Sunshine Growers


Retail Prices Orlando Metro
Item Size Home Depot Lowe’s Walmart
Annuals basic 4-inch   0.78  
  4.5-inch 0.99   0.95
  6-inch 2.97 2.48 2.50
  209     5.00
  306 3.88    
  T-18 9.96 9.98  
Annuals premium Quart 2.97    
  1G 3.97 5.98 3.50
Geraniums 6-inch 3.97   3.50
  4-inch     2.00
Wave 6-inch   3.98  
Wave 306      
Proven Winners Quart 3.97    
Proven Winners 1G 4.97    
VIVA! Quart 2.97    
VIVA! 1G 4.97    
Strawberry Petunia 1G   5.48  

After visiting 65 stores in the past three weeks, it seems as though retail sales are better than many (including myself) expected. Perhaps we were somewhat skeptical given the current economic conditions. As most anticipated, vegetable sales are strong and big ticket items are seemingly slow to move. We noticed what seemed to be far less patio pots, obviously because of their price points. We did see more 10-inch basic hanging baskets with price points under $10.

What is most positive is the tremendous increase in product quality and color we have observed from all three national retailers In-store merchandising also made the stores cleaner and easier to shop. One of my pet peeves regarding retail has been the lack of clear, concise price signage, but this is not an issue with the stores visited this spring.

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Montgomery’s Orlando Retail Report

  1. I visit the Garden centers in Central Florida all the time. I am a retired nurseryman with lots of flex time in my schedule now.
    The quality of the plants this spring has been better than ever. Great value.
    I would hate to be competing with Lowe’s. They are by far the best in availability. The merchandising is great and the vendors and Lowe’s employees both very professional.
    Costa Colors is doing a great job, far better than their competition.

  2. I visit the Garden centers in Central Florida all the time. I am a retired nurseryman with lots of flex time in my schedule now.
    The quality of the plants this spring has been better than ever. Great value.
    I would hate to be competing with Lowe’s. They are by far the best in availability. The merchandising is great and the vendors and Lowe’s employees both very professional.
    Costa Colors is doing a great job, far better than their competition.

More From Marketing...
PP&L CAST 2015 intros

April 22, 2015

6 Breeding Companies Serve Up New Varieties At Pacific Plug & Liner

Pacific Plug & Liner’s theme this year, Labyrinth, a conservatory of the world’s most captivating plants, was perfectly topped off (pun intended) with fascinators for the women and newsboy caps for the men. The PP&L team dressed their part to act out the gothic “conservatory of the world’s most captivating plants.” Truly, the displays looked like they practically popped out of a catalog, and the costumes were a nice touch. Retailers take heed, the fully merchandised displays at Pacific Plug & Liner are worthy of emulating. We’ll let the pictures tell the story of all the fabulous variety introductions presented at  Pacific Plug & Liner’s 2015 California Spring Trials, where Cultivaris, Cohen Nurseries, Histil Nurseries, Jaldety Nurseries, Southern Living/Sunset Collection and Pacific Plug & Liner all highlighted their 2016 introductions.  

Read More
Speedling 2015 CAST intros

April 22, 2015

Speedling Inc. Presents New Varieties From ABZ Seeds, Hem Genetics, Thompson & Morgan, Vista Farms & PSI

You name it, we saw it at Speedling's California Spring Trials location in San Juan Bautista, where five companies showed off their new introductions for 2016.

Read More
PittMoss on Shark Tank

April 22, 2015

PittMoss Wins On Shark Tank

Mont Handley, president and CEO of PittMoss, appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank on April 17 to try to get the “sharks” to invest in his peat moss alternative. Three investors from the TV show contributed $600,000 to PittMoss for a 35 percent stake in the company. Check out this clip from ABC’s website in which Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec discuss getting on board with the product. PittMoss is an alternative to sphagnum peat moss, made up of a mix of proprietary additives and recycled paper rescued from landfill space. Handley founded the Pittsburgh-based company in 1994. What started as a small experiment grew into a full-fledged business with the help of funding provided by an EPA SBIR grant and Pittsburgh’s Idea Foundry. Today, PittMoss is available to commercial greenhouses and nurseries from Michigan to Maine to North Carolina, with plans to grow. To learn more, visit PittMoss’ website, or check it […]

Read More
Latest Stories

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

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

December 9, 2014

New Website For PanAmerican Seed

PanAmerican Seed's new website is mobile-friendly and has a fresh look and enhanced navigation.

Read More
What’s a pumpulent? It’s a pumpkin planted with succulents, and it’s also one of the ways Altum’s is catching customers’ attention with new products and modern marketing.

December 1, 2014

9 Digital Marketing Resolutions For 2015

Whatever your experience with digital marketing, here’s some advice for keeping your business progressing into the new year.

Read More

November 25, 2014

Conley’s Launches New Website

Conley’s Manufacturing and Sales recently launched its newly designed website, which was redesigned to create a user-friendly digital environment for customers to explore Conley's products.

Read More

November 17, 2014

Canada’s Plants Love You Campaign Educates Consum…

In a cooperative effort to promote the benefits of plants to consumers, the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) recently launched its Plants Love You campaign to make consumers more aware of the health, environmental and economic benefits of plants.

Read More
Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum™ Petunia from Proven Winners

November 11, 2014

Plantbid Offers New Tool For Growers, Plant Buyers

Plantbid is touted as a revolutionary new tool that allows plant buyers to purchase their whole plant list at one time, from growers who provide their complete availability online. According to the company, this new offering could change the way growers and landscapers do business.

Read More
Dahlia Dahlinova Temptation Lavender from Dummen Fides Oro

November 10, 2014

Bas Pellenaars Takes On New Role As Brand Manager For D…

Dümmen group announces the transition of Bas Pellenaars from area manager to brand manager.

Read More

October 28, 2014

Zombie Adventures Are Back: GGS Releases Premiere Of Ne…

What's good for plants, but bad for zombies? GGS structures. The company released a new promotional video to get growers in the spirit of Halloween. GGS Structures ran a series of zombie movies last year, and this year, something new was released October 24.

Read More
Suzanne McKee

October 27, 2014

Use Your Data To Make Smarter Marketing Decisions

Learn which marketing metrics are important to your business, measure successes and learn where changes are needed.

Read More