March 3, 2010

Not Much New At National Retailers

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery spent the weekend February 27 and 28 in Southeast Florida touring garden centers at Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot and other retail locations. Below are his findings in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas. The weather was ideal for gardening with day temperatures in the low 70s. It did rain in the late afternoon on Saturday, the 27th, but the weather was sunny and warm on Sunday, the 28th. It was somewhat surprising to observe how little traffic there was at retail. Of course, traffic varied by time of day and there was a steady stream of it. But very few stores were crowded, with Costco being the exception. It seemed to be at capacity. Walmart Walmart is sticking with its “less-is-more” concept with minimal SKUs and a major focus on outdoor foliage. Lots of damage was observed in this area coming out of one of the […]

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March 2, 2010

Lowe’s TV Marketing Plans For Spring

Lowe’s has decided to focus on its employees with its spring TV commercial campaign this year. Lowe’s will do this by giving the actors who play the employees as much screen time in the initial commercials as the actors who play customers, The New York Times’ Stuart Elliot reports. In advertising, Lowe’s employees will come across as knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. “Everything we do in the campaign is grounded in service and value, because that’s where the consumer lives right now,” says Tom Lamb, senior vice president of marketing for Lowe’s. Lowe’s creative agency, BBDO New York has made several changes to this year’s advertising, which includes no longer using the voice of Gene Hackman to narrate commercials. A new slogan is also in place. In the past it was “Lowe’s: Let’s build something together.” Now the slogan is “Experience. Lowe’s. Let’s build something together.” Or, “Experience Lowe’s. Let’s build […]

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February 19, 2010

Burpee Launches Consumer Ad Campaign

Businesses signed up with the Burpee Home Gardens program to grow and sell premium vegetables and herbs will experience an influx of media and marketing support this year, which will include a comprehensive and exciting consumer print advertising push to reach shoppers during the height of the gardening season. Throughout 2010, Burpee Home Gardens will run full-page ad placements in seven national consumer publications for a total of 14 ad pages, ultimately achieving more than 19 million impressions through magazines alone. The magazines are Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, Health, Parents, Food Network magazine, Vegetarian Times and Urban Farm. Ads begin running in April to reach the target audience as they’re looking for more vegetable-gardening content. “These publications have been hand-picked by Burpee Home Gardens as part of our big consumer media campaign to reach our targeted audience: the casual gardener looking for more information on growing her own vegetables,” […]

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February 18, 2010

A Grower’s View: Marketing In A Slow Economy

Scott Titus, owner of Windy Meadow Nursery in Bellingham, Wash., has an idea to generate long-term sales and it involves giving away free vegetable starts. Free?! Hear him out. Because of the recent economic conditions, companies have lowered their prices more than any time in the past 50 years. Microsoft recently reduced the price for leasing software by more than 25 percent. When companies reduce the price of their products, they must also cut their variable costs to remain profitable. As sales volume and profitability decline, so must the number of employees within the company. The pricing level a retailer sets is a double-edged sword. Price your product too high and you will lose market share to low-cost competitors like big box stores. Higher margin pricing strategies target customers who are less sensitive to price. Last summer, Starbucks lowered prices on staple items like iced coffee to compete with McDonalds […]

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February 17, 2010

Seeley Conference To Discuss Environmental Footprint

The 25th annual Seeley conference will be held June 26-29 in Ithaca, N.Y. The theme this year will be: “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. The debate has had arguments spanning from compelling science to just a natural cycling of weather patterns. Now, legislators the world over have begun to amend the dialogue to one of measuring the carbon footprint. Scientists have added water to the equation and are now beginning to speak of measuring the entire environmental footprint. For our industry, the issues are more compelling. We think of ourselves as being the original green industry but we often fail to promote that, perhaps, partly out of fear. Do we know what our environmental footprint really is? Are we as green as we think? Do we have an opportunity […]

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February 4, 2010

E-Retailer Launches iPhone App

California Blooms an internet retailer of fresh, boutique-grown roses from the central coast of California, has launched a new iPhone application just in time for Valentine’s Day. The CalBlooms App, currently available on the iTunes App Store for iPhone, iTouch and soon for the all new Apple iPad, allows customers to order the highest-quality, eco-friendly roses anytime and anywhere. The launch of this new app distinguishes California Blooms as the first of 35,000-plus businesses on the Yahoo! Merchant Solutions platform to develop and release an app for the iPhone. The app features include: –Quick and easy ordering. Most orders can be completed in three minutes or less.–The ability to save previous orders, as well as ship to and bill to addresses.–Order from anywhere at anytime over 3G or Wi-Fi . “Now there’s an app for Valentine’s Day heroics, as well as everyday special occasions,” says Mark Skorlich, CEO of California […]

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January 28, 2010

Teleflora Returning To Super Bowl Ad Front

Teleflora, the flower delivery service that produced a controversial Super Bowl commercial within our industry last year, is returning to the Super Bowl scene this year with another 30-second spot. Teleflora, once again, is taking its wilted-talking-flowers-in-a-box approach. If you missed last year’s controversial Super Bowl commercial from Teleflora, scroll to the bottom of the page to watch it. This year’s new spot will air during the second quarter of the Sunday, February 7 game between the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints. The spot is again staged in an office and features a Valentine’s Day flower arrangement that’s designed and delivered by a local florist in the recipient’s neighborhood. The voice of the flowers is Don Rickles. “With Valentine’s Day, one of the busiest flower-buying days right around the corner, we knew being part of the game’s advertising lineup offers us the chance to reach 150 million potential customers,” […]

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January 21, 2010

Webinar: Get Your Town Involved With AIB

America In Bloom (AIB) is hosting a February 4 webinar to explain how the program works and how you can get involved. The 45-minute webinar will take place at 1 p.m. EST. Growers interested in participating in the webinar can register here. AIB veteran judges Evenlyn Alemanni and Jack Clasen will host the webinar.

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January 16, 2010

Ecke Poinsettia Open House Design Ideas

Take a look at some of the design tips on display at the Ecke Ranch Open House.

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January 6, 2010

Hort Couture 2010 Merchandising Guide Available

Hort Couture’s 2010 Merchandising Guide is now available. The brochure gives grower-retailers a comprehensive tool to develop point of sale materials for their store. Hort Couture offers a wide array of merchandising accessories to differentiate the independent garden retailer from competitors. Fun posters, sophisticated packaging and unique products such as the Haute Tote and the Fashion Plate make selling Hort Couture fun and profitable. For more information about the merchandising guide, call 866-955-HORT. Visit for more information on Hort Couture.

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December 21, 2009

Emerald Coast Growers Taps Friel For Marketing

Emerald Coast Growers has hired John Friel as its marketing manager. Friel brings over 30 years experience in the greenhouse industry to his new position. A familiar face on the lecture circuit, Friel served in a number of positions in transportation, sales and marketing with Green Leaf Enterprises, Yoder Brothers and the Green Leaf Plants division of Aris Horticulture. Emerald Coast Growers is a family-owned propagation nursery headquartered in Pensacola, Fla, with greenhouses in Lancaster County, Pa. Founded in 1991 by David and Wyona Babikow, the firm specializes in starter plants of ornamental grasses and herbaceous perennials, which it ships throughout North America. Friel is a former regional director and current president elect of the Perennial Plant Association. For more information on him or Emerald Coast Growers, visit

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December 7, 2009

Reader Response: Promise For Industry In St. Louis

Fran Hopkins got the industry talking last week when she offered her two cents on the state of our industry. Bill Ruppert, executive director of the Horticulture Co-op of Metro St. Louis, responds this week in a letter to Fran. Here’s the letter: Hi Fran, I just finished reading your interview. While I can understand your apparent frustrations, I must tell you that landscape green industry collaboration and visioning for today and the future is alive and well here in the Gateway region. On behalf of the Hort Co-op of Metro St. Louis, I crafted and pitched the “Power of Plants Tour” to our state’s first lady. The Tour includes representatives from a broad cross section of the horticulture and landscape green industry. The intention of the tour is to share the big picture about plants beyond the landscapes (First Lady Georganne) Nixon has already experienced during tours of our […]

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