June 2, 2010

Much Ado About Knock Out

The week before the California Spring Trials, we learned The Conard-Pyle Co. is reining in the production and distribution of rooted young plants for its Knock Out roses. Effective July 1, Syngenta Horticultural Services and Star Roses will be the exclusive brokers and Greenheart Farms and Northwest Horticulture will be the exclusive young plant producers. Star Roses is Conard-Pyle’s sales and marketing arm. Introduced 10 years ago, the Knock Outs have revolutionized the shrub rose category the way Waves revolutionized petunias. Although it’s fairly normal for new products to be introduced on an exclusive or limited basis, it’s rare to see an established product that’s a runaway success get reined in 10 years later. A few of the brokers and licensees who are losing access feel a great, money-making product is being taken away. Conard-Pyle did receive backlash from at least two of Syngenta’s competitors. This took the rose breeder […]

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June 1, 2010

Market Observations From The Buyers

A buyers panel featuring representatives from Delaware Valley Wholesale Florist, Whole Foods and Winn-Dixie discussed an assortment of topics May 24 at the Lilytopia Grower Symposium, including today’s lily market, favorite varieties, where cut lilies sold in the United States are sourced, a consumer trend from cut lilies to pot lilies and more. Cindy Hanauer of Winn-Dixie, a supermarket chain with 500-plus stores across the United States, says Winn-Dixie sold 100,000 Easter lilies in a 10-day span this year. Hanauer says Easter lily sales were up 12 percent this year over last year, and considering the economy, Winn-Dixie is pleased with the growth. Whole Foods, on the other hand, was in a different sales situation over the last year. Sandy Pilgrim of Whole Foods says all floral sales were down 20 percent last year. Whole Foods is just now seeing an upswing in the floral sales, and it’s seeing the […]

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May 18, 2010

Seeley Focus Is Global Warming, Climate Change & You

Only a few seats remain for the 25th annual Seeley Conference in Ithaca, N.Y., where industry leaders will discuss floriculture’s environmental footprint as a consumer opportunity. The 25th annual Seeley conference is only seven weeks away and there are a few seats left. The think-tank conference is June 26-29, in Ithaca, N.Y., where this year’s theme is: “Floriculture’s Environmental Footprint: An Inconvenient Truth Or Consumer Opportunity?” For several years, we’ve heard about global warming and climate change as issues we need to address. Of course, the real issues revolve around what it means for the bottom line for our individual businesses. How will the outcomes of the current legislative debate impact us? Are there modifications we need to make to stay in business once the debate ends and the laws are enacted? Will our businesses be able to remain financially solvent or will regulations force us out of business? These […]

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May 18, 2010

Montgomery Retail Report: New York

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery visited 109 retail garden center locations in the New York area around Mother’s Day. Below is his New York regional retail report: The weather was really erratic over the five days touring retailers on Long Island and the boroughs of New York City, Northern New Jersey and suburbs north of New York up to Norwalk, Conn.–making for a very interesting tour. The weather was fairly nice until Mother’s Day (May 9) when the wind reached up to 50 miles per hour, but it was surprising how much traffic was in the stores. There is no doubt the consumer wants to buy green goods, as I witnessed great traffic flow in most retail locations on the 6th (Thursday), 7th (Friday) and 8th (Saturday). Edibles, of course, were one category that stood out, as evidenced by the number of shopping carts containing vegetables and herbs. This has to […]

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May 18, 2010

Burpee Home Gardens Providing Consumers Help

Burpee Home Gardens is offering retailers and their customers a little support for the answers to vegetable gardening questions. Available in print or online is “Garden Fresh,” a free gardening guide booklet. Also, Burpee Home Gardens can connect with home gardeners via dedicated online social media interaction (Facebook and Twitter), which also aids in getting the word out about Burpee’s new 2010 garden-ready plant program. “As more home gardeners look to plant vegetables and herbs this spring, their search for advice, discussion and overall gardening information grows as well,” says Jessie Atchison, brand manager for Burpee Home Gardens. “The Burpee Home Gardens team has positioned itself to help its core consumer–new and novice home vegetable gardeners–with the answers they need in the formats they prefer.” “Garden Fresh” is a four-color, 32-page booklet from Burpee Home Gardens that contains information on virtually every aspect of how to start, maintain and build a […]

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April 28, 2010

Metrolina Market Report

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery spent the weekend in Charlotte visiting the Lowe’s and Walmart garden centers Metrolina Greenhouses serves, among other garden centers in the Charlotte area. Below are his findings from the April 24-25 weekend. On Saturday (April 24), retail traffic was heavy and consumers were buying like there would be no plants available tomorrow. Vegetables, as usual, were getting a lot of attention with the Bonnie displays being pillaged, especially at Lowe’s, which ran a buy-one, get-one free on 5-inch SKUs. I observed many hanging baskets and potted annuals in the larger patio containers seemed to be a little sluggish at retail. On Sunday, after a huge overnight storm, it was overcast and threatening rain until about 2 p.m. when the sun appeared. Most of the day was slow at retail until the sun came out. Then the pace picked up but nowhere near Saturday’s pace. It is […]

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April 26, 2010

Tesselaar Enters Mobile Market

Tesselaar Plants wants to engage consumers through their mobile phones, and it is listing its entire plant collection with a new online and mobile garden research tool called the GardenPilot. “We’ve entered the age of mobile marketing because the always-on nature of mobile devices provides more timely communications than any other marketing channel,” says Anthony Tesselaar, company co-founder and president. “GardenPilot enables consumers to access vital information about our plants in seconds using their phone.” According to Gartner Group, a leading technology analyst firm, mobile browsing is a widely available technology present on more than 60 percent of mobile phones shipped in 2009, a percentage Gartner expects to rise to approximately 80 percent in 2013. GardenPilot is ideal for garden experts or those new to gardening because it features more than 13,000 beautifully illustrated plant information pages, along with helpful tips and advice from renowned gardening experts and plant breeders. […]

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April 21, 2010

Atlanta Market A Reason For Optimism

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery spent Saturday, April 17, visiting big box retail garden centers, including two Pike Nurseries stores, in the Atlanta region. All garden centers were crowded, he says, and consumers in the area clearly have a garden fever. Talk about a market being on fire: In the Atlanta area, garden centers were packed and in some stores, it was almost impossible to find a parking spot within 500 yards of garden centers. The weather was perfect with night temperatures in the low 50s and days in the upper 70s. The vegetable displays were extremely busy and many of the Bonnie Plant displays were almost empty by the end of the day Saturday (April 17). Although the average vegetable sale appears to carry a much lower sales value than bedding plants, the add-ons with vegetables as a percentage is much greater. I would often see a cart leaving the […]

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April 15, 2010

Change Is A Good Thing

Our industry has always felt changes in certain areas over others, but over the last three years we have entered into more collective rhetoric than ever. The rhetoric is probably driven by more obvious high-impact results than we have experienced in the past. The results of change have been eye opening because the No. 1 result has been the loss of greenhouse businesses at a rate we have never before seen. According to USDA, the number of grower businesses has declined every year since 2001–a clear sign of industry change. What Happened? The retailers took charge and now make the decisions growers used to make. Many growers are mad and would like to return to the “good old days,” but that isn’t going to happen. While the retailers took charge, they also provided more retail selling space than we could ever have envisioned, creating more than 100 million square feet […]

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April 5, 2010

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 […]

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March 16, 2010

The Catch Of E-Commerce

Retail sales online continue to grow faster than sales at brick and mortar stores, according to a recent Wall Street Journal story. In 2009, e-commerce grew 11 percent in the United States, and additional research predicts it will grow another 11 percent this year. However, e-commerce still only accounts for 7 percent of all U.S. shopping (excluding auto, travel and prescription drugs), according to the story. And retailers need to carefully consider the pros and cons of an e-commerce presence. State laws dictate the tax liability for retailers, and a lot of times it’s not favorable to small businesses. For example, many states require customers who are in the same state as the business to pay sales tax on items they purchase online. Meanwhile, major online retailers like Amazon.com can avoid charging those taxes for a majority of its customers, which makes it a more favorable site to shop. Some […]

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March 16, 2010

Is A Pickup Yard In Your Future?

Answering customer demands for fast, convenient access to quality plant material, Pleasant View Gardens will reopen its pickup yard Monday, April 26, at its location in Pembroke, N.H. “The pickup yard makes life easier,” says customer Brenda Dymet of D. McLeod Florist in Concord, N.H. “It’s like having a great market to shop. You go in and pick out just what you want. For me it was very convenient and good quality.” Convenience and quality are exactly what Pleasant View had in mind when it launched the pickup yard last year. “It gives customers the fresh, quality plants they want, when they need them,” says Ben Huntington, pickup yard manager. “They can pick out the specific plants they want so they know exactly what they’re getting.” This year, Pleasant View has expanded and refined the pickup yard’s selection. For example, Pleasant View is stocking more of the hard-to-find and always-in-demand […]

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