November 10, 2009

Starting Black Friday Sales Early

For Sears and other large retailers, this year’s Black Friday came before Halloween, which came with hopes to meet the growing customer demand for sale-priced items. The Washington Post reports Sears announced it is launching a sales campaign called “Black Friday Now” that will feature weekly big discounts through Thanksgiving. The sale, which began October 30, includes $80 diamond earrings and 50 percent off a 302-piece Craftsman tool set. Retailers have been chomping at the bit to go after Christmas sales this year. “They’re definitely thinking about the holidays sooner rather than later this year,” says Sears spokeswoman Natalie Norris-Howser of her company’s shoppers. The spokeswoman also said Sears customers were looking for Black Friday-style sales without the crowds. “A lot of them don’t necessarily like to get up and do the panic Friday shopping the day after Thanksgiving,” she said. In addition, Sears and its sister-company Kmart are realizing […]

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November 10, 2009

Readers React To PlantLife As National Promotion

Greenhouse Grower columnist Laurie Scullin wrote his November column, “Now Is The Time For National Promotion,” about his grassroots national marketing promotion idea: PlantLife. Now, Greenhouse Grower readers chime in with their thoughts about the idea: From Jim Berry, J. Berry Nursery: I missed the presentation of your idea when we were at OFA (Short Course). I heard about it and today read the column in Greenhouse Grower about the same idea. I like the idea. I would find a place to print the right slogan on my printed materials–trucks, tags, website, etc. Spending a few minutes thinking about this, the best I could come up with is: “Plants Make Life Great!” Thanks for the suggestion, and we will see what others think. From Scott Titus, Windy Meadow Nursery: You have hit on a very good concept. It brings to mind the current debate over healthcare. For those of us […]

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November 6, 2009

Montgomery’s Charlotte Retail Report

Home Depot featured two pumpkin-face containers–a 10-inch and a 12-inch–that were interesting items with a Halloween theme.for more photos from Jerry Montgomery. Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery visited Charlotte, N.C., in late October and toured garden centers at Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart to see the fall product. He also stopped into Pike Nurseries. Below are his findings, and you can view a slideshow of Montgomery’s Charlotte tour: Much like Atlanta, Charlotte has been plagued with rain and unseasonably cold temperatures. The two days I was there, night temperatures were in the high 30s and the day temperature was 52°F and 62°F on Sunday. Stores were well stocked with garden mums, pansies and other fall plants. Charlotte is a market Metrolina Greenhouses dominates. Metrolina is the vendor for Lowe’s and Walmart in the area. In this market, you see some of the best product quality and merchandising. Quality and merchandising are […]

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October 23, 2009

Montgomery Reports On Fall Retail

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery recently visited garden centers at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, and he stopped by Pike Nurseries to get a feel for the fall product. Below are his findings. The fall weather in Atlanta has been wetter and colder than usual for October, but the good news is the rain has filled the lakes, bringing the water supply back to normal levels while removing all irrigation restrictions. During the two days I visited Atlanta, it was cold, overcast and wet with temperatures in the low 40s at night and low 50s during the day. Home Depot Home Depot had large inventories of mums and pansies with an array of sizes and price points. Home Depot built fall-oriented displays incorporating mums, pumpkins, corn stalks and bales of straw that created a nice fall-themed look. Home Depot had great 14-inch coco mum baskets that were a value at $19.97. It […]

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October 19, 2009

Now Is The Time For National Promotion

Time to kick the hornet’s nest: Now is the time for a national marketing program for our products. We just survived the scariest spring in recent memory. Many of us did it by growing and selling less material. Many of us lost sales, especially those who grow bigger-ticket items like shrubs. We survived, but not without cost.   Remember our great growth spurt of the past decades? The experts say that spurt is well over, and many of our markets are flattening or shrinking.   Plus, the environmental movement has its costs. We may have to retool what and how we grow, and many of us really don’t understand younger consumers. Taking Action So, I think it is time to say we need help to grow the market–and to help direct messages to consumers about how great plants really are. Growing the market will help all of us–all products, all […]

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October 12, 2009

Europeans Embracing Merchandising

The garden center concept. Van den Berg says Dutch garden centers are more “business oriented” today than they have been, and there’s a push for back-to-basics concepts that hook consumers. As I mentioned in an earlier post featuring Zabo Plants’ Frits Kneppers, a Dutch grower’s success is based on quality whereas an American grower’s success is often based on the ability to build a marketing program or promotion for products. Quality is still very important in the U.S., but Kneppers says it is not as vital to consumer sales as it is in The Netherlands. So because quality has always been the No. 1 factor in whether Dutch consumers buy plants or not, growers have historically spent less time working on marketing or merchandising and more time growing. But times are changing in The Netherlands. Breeders, growers and retailers see the potential for increased sales with an embrace of merchandising, and […]

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October 8, 2009

Calloway’s And Simply Beautiful Team Up For Charity

Calloway’s Nursery and Ball Horticultural Co. recently partnered to host a Simply Beautiful Container Contest to benefit the Lena Pope Home, a local Fort Worth, Texas, charity. It’s the third Simply Beautiful contest that has benefited a local charity in 2009, and the contest not only provided a significant donation to the Lena Pope Home, but also built momentum and demand from gardeners. “Calloway’s strives to engage with Texas gardeners to make gardening fun and easy,” says Kimberly Bird, VP of Retail Marketing. “The Simply Beautiful Container Garden contest that we hosted was well received by customers and helped raise funds for a very worthy cause.” The event attracted gardeners of all skill levels who had fun creating mixed containers for a cause. Each contestant was given 45 minutes to plant a 14-inch container and was judged on style, color and creativity. With more than 15 different Simply Beautiful varieties […]

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October 7, 2009

America In Bloom Announces Winning Cities

[imageviewer] How sweet it was to be in Hershey, Pa., last week celebrating the communities participating in this year’s America In Bloom competition.  America In Bloom (AIB) is a national campaign and contest that promotes enhancing communities through beautification. In the friendly competition, communities are matched by population and evaluated on their efforts related to floral displays, urban forestry, landscaped areas, turf and groundcover, tidiness, environmental awareness, heritage conservation and community involvement. Judges visited the communities this spring and summer. Twenty-five communities from all regions of the country participated in the eighth edition of America In Bloom. AIB has engaged more than 170 cities in 37 states to date. AIB’s 2009 population category winners are: - 4,000 or less - Echo, Oregon - 4,001-10,000 - Charles City, Iowa - 10,001-20,000 - River Falls, Wisc. - 20,001-50,000 - Collierville, Tenn. - 50,001-100,000 - Lompoc Valley, Calif. - 100,001 or more - Milwaukee, Wisc. Eight special awards were […]

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September 29, 2009

Private Garden Participates In Extreme Home Makeover

Private Garden Greenhouse Systems is donating a Victorian glasshouse to a deserving family in this coming season’s “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” on ABC. The build took place July 14 through July 21 this year. “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” approached Private Garden about donating a personal greenhouse to the Hampton family in Ash Grove, Mo. The Hamptons, who love to garden, recently welcomed their four nieces and nephews into their home — a one bedroom cottage that was already very small for the the family of four.   “While taking part in a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it was great to see what good a group of strangers can do with the goal of helping others in mind,” says Peter Sackrider, one of three crew members to fly to Missouri and construct the Victorian glasshouse. “Through our time on site, it was interesting to see how friendly and willing to help all the […]

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September 29, 2009

Why Your Advertising Is Lacking

A recent AdweekMedia poll on the social networking site LinkedIn asked the question: Of the ads you see in a typical day, how many engage your attention? The results were a little scary. BusinessWeek reports that two-thirds of respondents said “a small minority of them,” while another quarter answered “none of them.” That combination made up 91 percent of the vote. If this is a cause for concern, BusinessWeek reporter Steve McKee says it’s best to keep this business axiom in mind: Companies get the advertising they deserve. If your advertising isn’t working, it may be you that’s the problem. Here are McKee’s seven reasons why your advertising might not be cutting it: 1. It’s Boring. “Ads that fail to offer at least two of these three benefits (information, entertainment and engagement) flop. … Creativity has always been the coin of the realm, but in our time-starved culture it’s truer than […]

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September 28, 2009

Getting Ready For Walmart’s Sustainability Index

GreenBiz.com hosted a webinar Getting Ready for the Sustainability Index with Walmart’s senior director for sustainability, Rand Waddoups. “We want this to turn into something that is far bigger than Walmart, far more important than any one company,” Waddoups said. “We announced it to the world so we could call on the world to join the effort; you have to call on the world to join the effort to develop the effort so they have ownership of it.” He said that the goal of the program is to respond to the demand for transparency the company hears from its customers. Click here for more details from the webinar and for a link to an archived version of the webinar.

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September 22, 2009

Homegrown Gourmet Takes Off

Riding the garden veggies wave, Schmidt Brothers Farm & Greenhouse in Swanton, Ohio, reports a 30 percent increase in sales of its Homegrown Gourmet brand this year. The brand is marketed to other growers through broker Henry F. Michell. “We’ve gained a lot of business from grower-retailers, which may be the market we really want,” says Allan Schmidt, who is in charge of sales and marketing. New this year will be a 3- by 4-foot sign to show consumers all the varieties of tomatoes available and their traits and uses. In addition to the encouraging results in garden vegetables, Schmidt and his family are looking forward to producing flowering plants for Master Nursery’s Garden Elements brand, available to its member garden centers.

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