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

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 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 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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September 15, 2009

Planting Pride In New Amsterdam

[imageviewer] Lilies and tulips were the main attraction in a 10-day celebration of the 400-year anniversary of the Dutch settling in Manhattan in 1609. From Sept. 4-14, New York City’s Bowling Green Park became New Amsterdam Village, complete with a greenhouse, windmill and vendors selling cheese, herring and wooden shoes. Longwood Gardens and Zabo Plants provided potted lilies for the event. A number of Dutch dignitaries were flown in, including Princess Maxima, wife of Willem-Alexander, Crown Prince of Orange. She baptised a new tulip variety, ‘Henry Hudson,’ the same Henry Hudson who discovered Manhattan and has a very large river named after him—the Hudson River. The event was a partnership between the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and The Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. The Dutch shared how agriculture will play a significant role in feeding and greening large metropolitan areas in a sustainable […]

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September 15, 2009

Another Reason To Visit Home Depot

Home Depot and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia announced an agreement to develop an exclusive Martha Stewart Living brand of home improvement products in select categories, including outdoor living, home organization and home decor. With the addition, Home Depot gives consumers another reason to give the big box retailer a visit. “Our partnership with Martha Stewart is a natural fit,” says Frank Blake, chairman & CEO, The Home Depot. “For years both organizations have been the go-to destination for consumers seeking ideas and information regarding their home improvement project. Martha and her organization offer the best, most practical design ideas for customers and together we will offer unique products at affordable prices, along with enhanced know-how to help consumers complete any project.” Home Depot reports Stewart and her team of designers are working side by side with Home Depot merchant and design teams to produce a brand that allows customers to easily […]

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September 3, 2009

White House To Set Up Farmer’s Market

It wasn’t too long ago when the big news coming out of the White House lawns was the vegetable garden the First Lady planned on planting. It’s safe to say those back-to-the-basics efforts helped spark a gardening interest in many Americans–albeit, some for the first time. Now the Obamas are interested in taking the next step and going to market. Or in their case, setting up a market: a farmer’s market. The president and his wife hope a White House farmer’s market will help two things: support local farmers and encourage healthier diet choices in D.C. school cafeterias. “One of the things that we’re trying to do now is to figure out, can we get a little farmers market outside of the White House?” President Obama says. “It suddenly gives D.C. more access to good, fresh food, but it also is this enormous potential revenue-maker for local farmers in the […]

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September 1, 2009

Eco Ratings Are Coming

As we went to press, growers who serve Walmart had just received a questionnaire about their sustainability efforts. This survey went out to more than 100,000 of Walmart’s suppliers worldwide and is the first step in gathering data that will be used to create a sustainable product index. Walmart is asking its suppliers 15 questions about their approaches on four key issues: energy and climate, material efficiency, natural resources and people and community. The goals are to be able to truly compare suppliers on their sustainability performance and to create a real sustainability index consumers can use to compare products and inform their purchasing decisions. It’s expected to be an informational tool, like nutrition labeling on food. Walmart rolled out the initiative July 16 at a meeting with 1,500 suppliers, associates and sustainability leaders. “Customers want products that are more efficient, that last longer and perform better,” said Mike Duke, […]

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August 31, 2009

Lessons from the Market: Packaging

Based on his extensive retail travels the last two years, Jerry Montgomery digs into packaging: why growers should invest in it, what a good investment entails and an example other growers could follow: During our travels to numerous garden centers, we paid a lot of attention to packaging and tried to evaluate the visual appeal as it related to merchandising and, in general, the visual impact on various product displays. Clearly, product displays that had colorful, upgraded packages were visually more compelling and drew the attention of the shoppers. In the grocery industry, generic products are the fastest growing as consumers look for more value and can be more easily swayed to abandon the purchase of some of their preferred brands. Recently there has been a concerted effort by supermarkets to get manufacturers of generic products to upgrade the packaging to attract more impulse purchases. In our industry, the preponderance […]

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