July 22, 2010

Meet AIB In St. Louis

If you’re a grower, you have at least two great reasons to go to St. Louis this fall. One is to brush up on and perfect your plant production skills at the OFA Disease, Insect & Plant Growth Management Conference, Sept. 28-29. The second is to learn how your business can benefit from planting America In Bloom in your market during the ninth annual America In Bloom Symposium and Awards Program, Sept. 30-Oct. 2. Both events will be hosted at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark in the heart of a beautifully planted downtown. For nine years, growers and garden center retailers have led the way in getting their cities involved in the America In Bloom (AIB) competition. To date, nearly 200 towns and cities from 38 states have participated, touching a population base of more than 20 million people. Cities compete in population categories and a pair of […]

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July 22, 2010

Perspective: Don Blume, The Home Depot

Lawn and garden continues to be a hot growth category for The Home Depot, which has nearly 2,000 stores in the United States and Canada. Divisional Merchandise Manager Don Blume has been at the helm directing live goods sales for the last five years. He works closely with a dozen merchants who are in the trenches with growers and store managers executing programs each season. Prior to coming to Home Depot, Blume worked for another large retailer, Kmart, for 28 years–14 years in the stores and then 14 years in the buying office. Seven of those years were in plant sales. In this exclusive interview, Blume shares the strides growers and the stores have made and what’s next. GG: How have the last five years been a transformation in how growers are working with The Home Depot? DB: Growers are utilizing our point of sale data more today than years […]

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July 21, 2010

Planting Pride: Wisconsin Governor’s Residence

Portions of the landscaping at the Wisconsin governor’s residence that were in need of rejuvenating presented a great opportunity for Wisconsin Green Industry Federation (WGIF) members to bring awareness of the impact of a well landscaped yard right to the governor’s front door. The entrance area around the fountain and the foundation landscape of the residence were transformed in May through the efforts and top quality stock of WGIF member companies. The Bruce Company of Wisconsin, on behalf of the Federation (WGIF) and its industry members, designed a new landscape plan, removed the previous landscape and installed the new plantings as a donation. In meetings with members of the Wisconsin Executive Residence Foundation and the residence executive director, WGIF and Bliss Nicholson of The Bruce Company proposed the plan as a gift to the people of Wisconsin and the “people’s house.” Learn more about WGIF at http://www.wislf.org.

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July 15, 2010

Rancho Tissue Honored For Marketing

The U.S. Commerce Association (USCA) honored Rancho Tissue Technologies with the 2010 Best of Rancho Santa Fe Award in the Nurseries category. The USCA Best of Local Business Award recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community. The award focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on information gathered both internally by the USCA and data provided by third parties. For more information on RTT’s Best of Local Business award, visit RanchoTissue.com.

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July 15, 2010

New Addition To Eco-Industries Program

The Green Business Bureau (GBB) announced the latest addition to its best-in-class green business certification platform. GBB Eco-Industries Program for Horticultural Nurseries (E-IPHN) features initiatives and information to help members gain an edge in the competitive horticultural industry. “The number of households that use organic gardening has more than doubled in the past five years,” says Marcos Cordero, GBB CEO and co-founder. “The National Gardening Industry estimates that today, about 12 million households are currently using all-natural methods, 17 million are planning to switch and another 22 million are considering it.” Cordero says that, when combined with the 27 percent of consumers who say that they are more likely to patronize a company that is mindful of their impact on the environment, these numbers illustrate the demand for green nurseries and plant suppliers. “This is an industry that stands to benefit significantly by incorporating sustainable business practices both in the […]

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July 10, 2010

Social Media Extravaganza: Tips For You To Do Now

New ideas flew around the room at the four-hour Social Media Workshop, hosted by new media marketer Jeff Korhan (@jeffkorhan). Here’s a few interesting thoughts Korhan shared. - One size fits all does not apply. Try things out. Experiment. It’s the only way to see if it will work for you. - Get comfortable with authenticity. Be real and have conversations with people. - Even if you’re not “on” social media, you are. Use Google Alerts to see who’s talking about you and what they’re saying. - Think of the keywords that your customers will search for, and use those words often on your site, on your blog and in your social media. - Sites that are updated more often are indexed more often by Google, bumping them up in the search rankings. Update often. - Hang in there with blogging. Even if you don’t think you have any followers, […]

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June 29, 2010

VIVA!: 2010 Marketer Of The Year Award Winner

Greenhouse Grower will present its Marketer of the Year award to The Home Depot and Floragem for their successful reinvention and repositioning of the VIVA! brand. Together, the companies have worked with the supply chain to develop a model that rewards innovation in breeding and packaging while delighting consumers at retail. This will be the first time we present our marketing award to a large retailer. Past honorees have been breeders, growers and grower consortiums, as well as industry organizations that promote top-performing varieties (All-America Selections) and even causes (Plant For The Cure). VIVA! is a Home Depot brand that is supported by Floragem, a marketing and product development company founded by Ken and Deena Altman of Altman Plants in Vista, Calif. While the VIVA! brand is exclusive to Home Depot, Floragem is focused on creating new live goods products and coordinating the supply chain to ensure offerings are successful […]

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June 24, 2010

New CostaFarms.com Sets The Bar For Grower Websites

Just as the summer solstice signals a change of seasons, Costa Farms is changing the look of its website to one that is more consumer friendly, engaging and appealing to a broader audience. The industry will now find a redesigned website CostaFarms.com, which is filled with alluring images and the latest interactive tools and technology. “We want to help people be successful and get more from their gardening experiences,” says Jose Smith, president & CEO of Costa Farms. “We’re creating an online community where consumers will come together in one place to share gardening tips and information, as well as learn best practices from our experts.” The homepage features a special feature: “Window Into The World Of Gardening.” There, consumers can experience the changing seasons with seasonal plant suggestions. They’ll also learn from educational and public service campaigns and be guided to events nationwide. “With a simple click, visitors will […]

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June 16, 2010

AIB Named To Associations Advance Honor Roll

America in Bloom (AIB) has been named to the 2010 Associations Advance America (AAA) Honor Roll, a national awards program sponsored by the American Society of Association Executives & The Center for Association Leadership in Washington, D.C. The prestigious awards program recognizes associations that propel America forward with innovative projects in education, skills training, standards setting, business and social innovation, knowledge creation, citizenship and community service. The Associations Advance America Awards are presented year-round to recognize associations that propel America forward–with innovative projects in skills training and development; ethical, technical or professional standards; economic development; business and social innovation; information and knowledge creation; public education and information; civic and community volunteer activities; and citizenship and democracy enhancement. “America in Bloom is honored to be recognized by the American Society of Association Executives & The Center for Association Leadership,” says Marvin Miller, president of the America in Bloom board of directors. […]

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June 15, 2010

NRF: Consumers Hold Back in May

The spur in economic activity hit a small speed bump last month as the latest retail sales report shows evidence of a more timid shopper. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), May retail industry sales – which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants –  decreased 1.4 percent seasonally adjusted over April and increased 2.7percent unadjusted year-over-year.   May retail sales released by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales – which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants – decreased 1.2 percent seasonally adjusted over April and increased 6.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.   “May retail sales results represent a reminder of the uncertainly that still exists in the economy,” says NRF President and CEO Matt Shay. “The road to recovery is paved with caution as consumers remain concerned about key indicators such as employment and housing.”   Adds Rosalind Wells, chief economist for NRF: […]

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June 7, 2010

Study: Consumers Avoiding In-Store Assistance

People strongly prefer to do their own research online instead of speaking to a sales associate at a store, according to the 2010 Social Shopping Study from the e-tailing group and PowerReviews. Study respondents say they like online research better for three reasons: 1) its ability to save time, 2) boost confidence and 3) provide credible information. The research also found online research remains key to consumer shopping behavior, with 50 percent of respondents saying they conduct research online for at least half of their purchases, versus 54 percent in the 2007 Social Shopping Study. The study does not, however, indicate if consumers prefer online research over in-store assistance when shopping for plants or at a garden center. When asked where they’re doing their online research, the majority (57 percent) of survey respondents said they begin with a search engine. The top three places consumers go when researching product information […]

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