Orlando IGC Trumps Box Stores

Orlando IGC Trumps Box Stores

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery visited garden centers at Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart on Saturday, March 27 around Orlando, Fla. He also spent time at Lukas Nursery in Oviedo and visited Costco and Sam’s Club. Below are his findings:

Consumers were out in droves on this ideal spring day, and all garden centers I visited were crowded with goods moving rapidly off shelves. The spring season has clearly arrived after an unseasonably harsh winter.

Although I observed good sales velocity–with green goods there were incredible quantities of bagged goods being sold–it had to be a huge weekend for companies like Scott’s.

Home Depot

Although Home Depot is a major player in green goods, it seems to sell higher percentages of dry goods than Walmart or Lowe’s–from many hours of observations. Bonnie Plants has a huge presence here with large inventories, prime space allocation and well-merchandised material on risers with improved POS materials.

The Proven Winners brand and the Florida Friendly premium annuals, both in 1 gallons, are the premium-priced items. The Viva brand has morphed to a mid-tier brand with 1-gallons priced at $3.97–the same as the Vigoro brand 1 gallon. One-gallon Sunpatiens at $4.97 are an item that appears to be at the mature stage of its products life cycle.

Lowe’s

As the season progresses, there is increasing space allocated to the Grow Your Own (GYO) program vegetables, herbs and a large assortment of fruits like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, grapes and figs. All are offered in an 8-inch picture pot.

Grow Your Own has also packaged edible roots and strawberry jars with dormant berry plants. Some of the Orlando stores had a dedicated area where all the GYO items were displayed, although the area was behind a wall of bagged goods adjacent to the checkout area and not very visible.

Walmart

The Orlando area has some of the best Walmarts I have seen, featuring clean well-organized stores with high-quality high impact annuals and perennials. Orlando offers some of the best values around in hanging baskets–10-inch premiums at $9 and 12-inch premiums $13. Walmart’s 10-inch basic hanging baskets were similar to Lowe’s but higher than Home Depot’s sale price of $4.98.

Lukas Nursery

Lukas is a garden center that knows how to sell green goods well. It is located on five or six acres and is full of everything, from annuals to shade trees.

After spending 30 minutes watching the checkout lines–the average sale is 98 percent green goods–Lukas Nursery is in the business to sell plants but does offer many of the basic gardening supplies. Annuals are displayed on tables that have rubber tires for easy movement. Tables are generously spaced to create wide aisles for easy shopping. Lukas has made shopping a pleasant consumer experience that obviously is a destination for many.

On Saturday afternoon (March 27), cars were being parked on both sides of the street while consumers were buying more plants than you can imagine. Lukas has a butterfly house called the “Butterfly Encounter” that attracts throngs of children who, of course, brought their parents along.

Pricing is not much different than the national retailers on many items except for unique or hard-to-find items. The only real push on hard goods is a very extensive line of high-quality containers at reasonable prices. I would estimate from the 20-plus stores visited, Lukas sold more green goods than five to seven big box stores combined.

Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club offered a mix of spring and Easter items. Most were really good values.

–12-inch Proven Winners fiber hanging basket retailing at $19.88. The only issue was Sam’s Club only offered one variety: Super Bells Blue.’
–14-inch patio pot at $19.88
–10-inch tree hibiscus at $15.32
–3 pack of 6-inch Easter lilies at $16.88
–11-inch hyacinth (10) bulbs at $15.38–a little past prime
–8-inch sculptured ceramic pot at $19.28
–10-inch hydrangea (eight to 10 flowers) at $23.72

Costco

Costco offered the following items:

–7-gallon Bougainville retailing at $35.99–one of the best values you will ever see in a warehouse club.
–6-inch Calla lily in a ceramic sandstone wave container at $14.99
–8-inch hydrangea (five to six flowers) at $13.99
–10-inch hydrangea (8-10 flowers) at $19.99
–10-inch tomato staked at $11.69
–16-inch patio pot at $29.99

Summary

It is clear the season has started and the demand is strong. Hopefully, the weather patterns will provide decent conditions that could make this a banner year.

Vegetables will be a major driver of consumer garden spending but the real benefactors will be those companies that market the edible category much like Lowe’s is doing with the Grow Your Own (GYO) program. Some retailers will create entire departments built around the edible category. It’s not just about vegetables any more.

About the author: Jerry Montgomery is a 40-year veteran of the floriculture industry and has worked for distributor companies, breeders and large growers specializing with a focus on sales and marketing. As an industry consultant, he works for large growers, distributors and breeder/producers. His focus is to understand the market dynamics from breeder to consumer through intense retail travel, visiting almost 1,500 stores since January 2008.

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Orlando IGC Trumps Box Stores

  1. Lukas Nursery is one not to miss if you are in Orlando. Phil Lukas sold the parcel by his Nursery to developer where Home Depot sits and I have heard he thinks they get some of his customers. Phil has a parking limitation in spring. It is a good volume HD for us. (Every store is big now after this most severe winter. Sales are off the charts) Costa also has the new shorter VIVA SunPatiens in THD with much bigger flowers in qts for $2.97 and they are moving well. SunPatiens live as everblooming perennials and bloom in the heat of summer in Florida. Gardeners are going to see how well the NEW Sunpatiens perform after they are out for a while. I wouldn’t plant any other NGI in Fl. The Florida press will pick up on this. The tall original SunPatien varieties had good performance but poor appeal and sell through that made the original program a big looser for the growers.

  2. Lukas Nursery is one not to miss if you are in Orlando. Phil Lukas sold the parcel by his Nursery to developer where Home Depot sits and I have heard he thinks they get some of his customers. Phil has a parking limitation in spring. It is a good volume HD for us. (Every store is big now after this most severe winter. Sales are off the charts) Costa also has the new shorter VIVA SunPatiens in THD with much bigger flowers in qts for $2.97 and they are moving well. SunPatiens live as everblooming perennials and bloom in the heat of summer in Florida. Gardeners are going to see how well the NEW Sunpatiens perform after they are out for a while. I wouldn’t plant any other NGI in Fl. The Florida press will pick up on this. The tall original SunPatien varieties had good performance but poor appeal and sell through that made the original program a big looser for the growers.

More From Marketing...
Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Arizona Apricot'

February 25, 2015

National Garden Bureau Designates 2015 As Year Of The Gaillardia

Gaillardia, also known as the blanket flower, is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and a long-blooming pollinator plant. It is fitting that the National Garden Bureau has specified 2015 as The Year of the Gaillardia.

Read More
IPPS Sharing Plant Production Knowledge Globally Logo

February 25, 2015

International Plant Propagators Western Region Sets Annual Meeting Date

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
Evolvulus Blue My Mind

February 24, 2015

Blue Ribbon Bloomers For Greenhouse Production

Grow what consumers want! Surveys show that blue is one of the top preferred colors of today’s consumers. Here are twelve top recommended blue-flowering Proven Winners annuals and perennials to suit your spring production cycle.

Read More
Latest Stories

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
Sara Tambascio

October 2, 2014

How To Measure The Success Of Your Digital Marketing

Take a look at these metrics in your digital marketing to see if you’re connecting with your audience or just adding to the clutter.

Read More

September 26, 2014

How To Get The Digital Generation Into The Garden: Gard…

Capture millennials’ gardening interests with these marketing tips.

Read More
The Joseph Shinoda Memorial Scholarship Foundation

September 9, 2014

Shinoda Foundation Contributes Nearly $15,000 In Schola…

Based in California, the Joseph Shinoda Memorial Foundation's mission is to encourage educational opportunities for young people interested in entering the industry. Since 1965, the foundation has awarded $790,000 to more than 660 undergraduate floriculture students.

Read More
Salvia 'Playin the Blues' from Proven Winners

September 9, 2014

Grand Gardening Show On Mackinac Island Draws Huge Audi…

Dates are already set for Proven Winners' 2015 Grand Garden Show after the great response the 2014 show received in late August.

Read More

August 27, 2014

New Gardening App GrowIt Connects Community Of Gardener…

Thanks to Ball Horticultural Co.’s Mason Day and Seth Reed, gardeners can now share photos of their plants, interact with other growers and learn about what grows best in their area with the duos new app, GrowIt!

Read More