September 11, 2013

Brands Influencing The Green Industry

Any skepticism of branding plants should be gone by now, with all of the new and existing brands on the market, consultant Jerry Montgomery says.

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September 11, 2013

Reimagining The Grower-Retailer

Everything changes. The economy. Customers. Consumer tastes, wants and needs. Few businesses survive over the long haul without adjusting to these changes, sometimes significantly. Hole’s At The Enjoy Centre is a grower/retailer in St. Albert, Alberta, Canada. This business has been through change before, transitioning from vegetable farmers to ornamental growers and home and garden retailers more than 30 years ago. In 2011, the operation reinvented itself again. Co-owner Jim Hole and his family moved the business to a new site and opened a new production operation and garden center as part of a larger facility called The Enjoy Centre. Hole’s still grows the bulk of its own bedding plants and brings in trees and shrubs and indoor plants for retail. But now, customers can also partake of offerings from a variety of other businesses that lease space in The Enjoy Centre, including a restaurant, a deli, a food store, […]

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September 3, 2013

Plant Something Campaign Making Progress In Marketing Plants

“Want to improve your quality of life? Plant Something. Seriously.” This is the message of the Plant Something marketing campaign in a nutshell. Plant Something targets the sweet spots that could get consumers to participate in gardening—increased home values, reduced home heating and cooling costs and community beautification, among others.  Get more details from Cheryl Goar of the Arizona Nursery Association, the organization behind Plant Something.  GG: What Is Plant Something and what is its goal? Goar: The Plant Something campaign is a grassroots marketing campaign for the nursery industry. Plant Something promotes the environmental, financial and health benefits of gardening and landscaping. The original goal of the campaign was to increase the sale of plant and trees in Arizona and has now expanded to eventually increase the sale in the U.S. and Canada. GG: Who are the participants? Who is the audience for this campaign? Goar: The primary audience […]

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August 20, 2013

Rocket Farms Turns A Food Truck Into A Flower Truck To Promote Herbs

September will be a delicious month in the San Francisco Bay area, when Rocket Farms turns its popular Flower Truck back toward its origins as a food truck. The grower will visit neighborhoods in the area on one day in September to offer tastings of food prepared with its fresh herbs. As a grower of many crops, including a full line of herbs, Rocket Farms wants to enable people to taste different herbs and understand their flavors. The company will coordinate with a local chef to prepare tastings that will highlight memorable and delicious flavors, while still making the herbs the focus. As with Rocket Farms’ other Flower Truck adventures, announcements of the herb events will be posted via the company’s social media channels and live updates will be posted throughout the events. Rocket Farms is based in Northern California, with two locations in Half Moon Bay and the Salinas […]

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August 13, 2013

Three Keys To World-Class Customer Service

Are you doing everything you can for your customers? Dennis Snow thinks you can step it up a few notches and wow your customers with world-class customer service. As a veteran employee at Walt Disney World, where customer service is essential to creating magical, memorable experiences for the popular theme park’s guests, Snow was on the front lines of dealing with customers every day.  At OFA Short Course, Snow delivered a funny, irreverent and enlightening keynote address during the Sunday morning session, setting the tone for the event. Now a business consultant at Dennis Snow and Associates and an author of two books, Snow has built on his experience working at Disney and counsels organizations worldwide. Snow thrilled and engaged the audience with humorous stories about Disney customers, and how his team worked to create solutions that would infuse a little bit of magic and wonder in every Disney experience. […]

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Hermann Engelmanns Sandra Kitain, Chuck Romagnoli and Erin Leonard

August 12, 2013

Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses Reaches Out To Consumers With Merchandising, Web Presence And Social Media

Do you grow foliage and houseplants? If not, it might be time to consider it. In a recent Today’s Garden Center magazine survey, of those garden retailers who carry houseplants, 54.3 percent report an increase in sales in 2013. Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses reports good news, as well, with a 5 percent increase within the foliage segment in the past year. So how does the operation plan to keep the good times rolling? The formula for this grower includes marketing directly to the consumer through in-store materials, a loaded website and an active social media presence. But the message being broadcast through all these media is the same — to inspire the customer to create home décor designs and to educate with plant care tips that will turn timid gardeners into experts. “We want to transition our product from a commodity item to a home décor item,” says Erin Leonard, director […]

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July 30, 2013

Box Stores And Facebook: How Social Media Has Changed Sales

How many box stores are seeing direct sales in plants from social media? That was a question on the minds of attendees at OFA Short Course’s Grower Town Hall. Here are the thoughts of the grower panel.  “I am a Facebook advocate. We don’t get a lot of Likes each week, but we see visits and unique visits from it over a week. I can tie sales to what we’re doing on Facebook. We’re trying to get potential customers into Home Depot stores. We do talk about pricing, what’s hot this week and what’s shipping. We get a good reaction to Facebook.” “Our goal is to get on the Facebook pages of Walmart or Lowe’s. This will have huge impact on our business. It doesn’t always benefit the stores we serve, but that doesn’t bother us. It’s better for everyone involved [when plants are featured on their Facebook pages].” “The […]

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July 23, 2013

Merchandising On Shipping Racks: How Does It Affect Plant Sales, Quality?

When shipping and sometimes even merchandising and selling on racks, growers are now cognizant of keeping plants at a compact size. What’s the effect on consumer success with plants once they leave the retail setting?   A grower panel asked at OFA Short Course’s Town Hall meeting about what a small grower can produce more profitably than a big grower. Here’s how the members of the panel responded: “Big growers ship on racks and fit in as many as they can. I try to grow things like delphiniums or really big hanging baskets, but I only have to ship from the top of a hill to the bottom. Things that take up a lot of room.” “It’s never our intention to grow stuff shorter than what the genetics call for or to keep plants down with PGRs. The stores we supply expect as good or better quality than the IGCs. […]

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July 9, 2013

Garden Retail 2013 Report: Hartford, Conn.

The Hartford area is a mixture of some outstanding IGCs and the usual spread of national retailers based on population density. My visit was June 12 (warm with intermittent rain) and June 13 (cool and rainy). There was not much traffic in any garden center during this two-day retail tour. In almost all stores, whether big boxes or IGCs, there was a lot of inventory on the shelves and in some instances it had some age to it with a typical spring product mix. There was no indication of a transition to a summer product mix. In talking to the retailers, they had a decent year but most thought they still needed a good solid weekend of sales to make their year compete with last year. Walmart: Emphasis On Merchandising And Perennials It seems as though there is far less emphasis on the Better Homes and Gardens brand this season, […]

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June 25, 2013

Two New Plant Marketing Concepts From Spring Trials 2013

Two new marketing concepts presented at Spring Trials this year are designed not just to attract customers’ attention, but to make them more comfortable with the plants they ultimately choose. The People’s Choice POP concept introduced this year by MasterTag allows growers and retailers to highlight award-winning plants to 1) make consumers aware that these plants have been recognized for excellence by experts and 2) inspire confidence in consumers. If they know these plants have been “vetted” by experts, they will feel more comfortable purchasing them. The People’s Choice Program can be purchased at various levels: standard black pots with tags and bench tape; colored pots; and pots printed with cultural information, posters and display cards. PanAmerican Seed’s Think Outside the Pack marketing promotion allows consumers to create container combinations on the spot, choosing from individual components of premium seed-grown plants. To illustrate the concept, the PanAm team built a […]

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June 20, 2013

Dümmen’s Confetti Garden Streamlines Container Garden Production [Medal Of Excellence For Marketing]

Original ideas abound in the floriculture industry, but not every idea is a success. There are the times, however, when a company hits on a concept that fills a void growers didn’t realize was there, and it’s such a game-changer, they can’t imagine growing without it. The 2013 Medal Of Excellence for Marketing goes to a company that used its game-changing idea to not only sell plants, but to solve container garden production problems and streamline this thriving growth area. Dümmen North America’s (NA) Red Fox Confetti Garden products are innovative, time-saving and profit-increasing products that benefit the supply chain and satisfy consumers’ need for quick, convenient and beautiful color. Filling A VoidSpring annuals are a hot commodity for any breeding program, and most plant breeders feel they need a presence in this area to compete. But when Dümmen entered the vegetative spring annuals market in the mid-2000s, it did […]

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June 17, 2013

Burpee Home Gardens Completes Its National Grow Anywhere Tour

Burpee Home Gardens began touring the U.S. this spring on its Grow Anywhere Tour, visiting 23 cities to deliver more than 30,000 pounds of fresh produce, 13,000 vegetable plants and gardening suppport to areas without easy access to fresh, healthy foods, known as food deserts. We asked Burpee’s Product Manager Scott Mozingo about the outcome of the tour, which was completed in mid-May. GG: Why is the Grow Anywhere Tour something that Burpee Home Gardens wanted to do? Mozingo: With the Grow Anywhere Tour, Burpee Home Gardens has nourished a new generation of gardeners by sharing food, plants and advice nationwide. By demonstrating simple ways to grow food, Burpee Home Gardens demonstrated how easy it is to grow anywhere. After years of inspiring and educating the public about the physical and environmental benefits of gardening through our “I Can Grow” school and community garden program, Burpee Home Gardens took its […]

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