October 20, 2008

Planting Pride

The seventh America In Bloom (AIB) symposium and awards gala had a homecoming feel with the big event hosted by OFA in Columbus, Ohio. OFA–An Association of Floriculture Professionals, provides the home and staffing for the nonprofit organization. AIB is a national campaign and contest that promotes enhancing and revitalizing communities. In the friendly competition, communities are matched by population and evaluated on their efforts related to eight criteria: floral displays, urban forestry, landscaped areas, turf and groundcover, tidiness, environmental awareness and heritage.  The symposium, Oct. 2-4, kicked off with a pep-rally inspired reception, where all attendees were encouraged to show their community spirit. That night, special criteria awards were presented to eight communities representing the “best of the best” in America In Bloom’s judging criteria. Look inside to see which communities won these coveted awards on page 7. The next two days were packed with educational seminars, networking opportunities […]

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October 20, 2008

Winner 25,001-50,000 Category – West Lafayette, Indiana: Bubbling With Enthusiasm

In addition to winning in its population category, West Lafayette was recognized for the tremendous contribution members of the community make to improve the quality of life. Numerous groups and organizations volunteer thousands of hours to help the city. Students and faculty at Purdue University also volunteer many hours to the city by cleaning up public and private areas, especially on Boiler Bash Day and at the De-trash the Wabash event. Participants in the 25,001-50,000 category:   Collierville, Tennessee: The judges recognized the city for its landscaped areas. The buildings and landscape are very impressive as you drive up to them, and the entrances into town have been well thought out and planned. The greenbelt project offers bikers, walkers and joggers the opportunity to exercise in a safe and pleasant environment, while the boardwalk from Johnson Park to the Wolf River Loop is fabulous!   Michigan City, Indiana: The community […]

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October 20, 2008

Winner Under 5,000 – Greendale, Indiana: Preserving History

Greendale, an Indiana community that won in its population category, has preserved its old firehouse and turned it into a state-of-the-art police station. Both the police station and new firehouse have preserved many old photos that have been enlarged and placed on walls for public display. Under municipal leadership, the community is working together to save the old, prehistoric fort on the Glenn property rather than allowing it to fall victim to a housing development.  A proposed state park would preserve the history and provide educational, recreational and economic opportunities for the area.  Preserving the top of this bluff is a sound decision for the environment because it is so close to several rivers. Participants in the under 5,000 category:   Aurora, Indiana:  Community involvement in Aurora stands out. The community is very active, scheduling numerous events for locals and visitors.  Aurora has an active Main Street organization that plans […]

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October 20, 2008

Winner 10,001-15,000 Category – Greendale, Wisconsin: Like Old Times

The streets, plants, homes and form of government of Greendale are exactly as they were orginally designed in 1938. This is only possible through the responsible direction of the administration and residents. The village leadership was instrumental in obtaining the Greendale Original Historical Preservation District Designation. And the municipality has a Historic Preservation Code to protect the historical integrity of the village. Participants in the 10,001-15,000 category:   Bemidji, Minnesota: The judges recognized Bemidji for its community involvement. The winters there can be downright nasty, but the springs are refreshing and the summers are adventurous.   Bexley, Ohio: Outstanding landscapes throughout the city sets Bexley apart. It’s hard to focus on the road when driving through the Central Ohio community. The surrounding landscape is breathtaking and just as exciting to see as the sprawling estates.   Ironton, Ohio: The city is blooming again. Ironton, in harmony with the municipal leadership, […]

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October 8, 2008

America In Bloom Announces 2008 Winners

After months of anticipation, emotion and celebration, America In Bloom (AIB) is proud to announce the award recipients for its seventh annual symposium and awards gala. The big event was hosted by OFA in Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 2-4. AIB is a national grassroots community enhancement program that engages communities in a friendly competition. OFA provides the home and staffing for AIB and treated more than 200 attendees to a homecoming-themed event that encouraged them to show their community pride and spirit. Pictured is the OFA staff in their “Team AIB” shirts inspired by Ohio State’s Buckeyes. The event kicked off Thursday night with a pep-rally inspired opening reception in which eight sponsored criteria awards were presented. The night’s emcees were AIB board members Alex Pearl, who has managed AIB judges training and recruitment the last seven years, and Greenhouse Grower’s Editor Delilah Onofrey, who helped found the organization. While Pearl […]

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September 22, 2008

Reaching Retail

Of the growers I’ve spoken with recently, one problem is standing out among the rest–prices. Everything costs more these days, from the gas that powers my Ford Focus, to the gas that heats greenhouses. And not every retailer is willing to pass along that extra expense to the consumer. And just when you didn’t want to hear about more spending, along comes our MarketWatch story “Building Legacy.” Conard-Pyle’s Steve Hutton says as growers are getting hip to branding, so are retailers. The message retailers want to get out there is, “Shop at my store,” not “buy this other guy’s plants.” Down the road, retailers may not want to help you brand your products. How do you build buzz about a plant outside of a garden center or retailer? It’s a chicken/egg problem that some strong brands have found a way to work around. I’ve seen some nursery ads in consumer […]

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September 22, 2008

Head and Heart

Are you a Pepsi or a Coke person? Do you buy your cell phone plan from Catherine Zeta-Jones or the “Can you hear me now…good” guy? There are many choices out there for the consumer, but once you capture the imagination of an American buyer, you’re almost guaranteed a customer for life. The Endless Summer hydrangea brand by Bailey Nurseries has used marketing, packaging and consistent product characteristics to capture the head and heart of the buying public and has made itself a winner with independent garden centers, in turn. “We devoted a lot of our marketing effort directly at the consumer,” says Jonathan Pedersen, director of sales and marketing at Bailey. “Instead of trying to push it through the channel, we pulled it through and I think that’s why we’ve had success. You can talk to any independent garden center and they’ll say, ‘Endless Summer was by far the […]

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September 22, 2008

Mother Nature And Father Time

We survived spring 2006. It rained, it did not rain. It was coldest spring ever. It was a great spring. Frost, drought – thank goodness it is over. How come we do this to ourselves? We have a death wish? We love thrills? We thrive on stress? Well darned if I know! My best guess is we are a bunch of farmers and can’t help ourselves. But this spring around the country we saw all sorts of weather, not all of it good.  If you had a great spring, well done. If your spring was less than perfect, we all know your pain. OK, now what? Thoughts in no particular order: In the good old days, a lot of folks said we expect bad spring weather one year out of four – so just plan for it and all will be OK. But we have shrinking margins, dramatically spiking costs […]

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September 18, 2008

McCain, Obama & A Kilt

InstaKilt is driving its marketing message home–literally. So why shouldn’t growers do the same to promote plants? The trade shows seemed a tad quiet to me this year. I’m not sure about attendance, but higher gas prices and poor spring weather have dampened the mood as we get ready for 2009. So, let me put you in a worse mood, and then offer a goofy solution connecting the presidential campaign and an item as simple as a beach towel. Let’s start with the election. How many of you have factored your production grow plan down because of the election? And I mean way down. We are going to see shrinking demand, and it will all be because of John McCain and Barack Obama. Why, you ask? For starters, we are going to have two straight months of TV commercials telling us how poor we are, how the economy is terrible, […]

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September 16, 2008

The Latest From Laurie

Laurie Scullin of the New Product Group shares news of two exciting marketing and research partnerships he is involved in. He has founded Hort Consumer Research with Michigan State University’s Bridget Behe and Relevance In Hort with Frank Zaunscherb of ZMI. Hort Consumer Research is an independent market research company co-owned by Behe and Scullin. Behe has conducted market research in all areas of horticulture, including work on where and why shoppers are buying bedding crops through to the actual value bedding adds to home values. Scullin, a frequent contributor to Greenhouse Grower, has more than 30 years experience working with Canadian and U.S. retailers and consumers on horticultural crops, including ongoing programs with The Home Depot and Loblaws. Together, their objective is to help growers better understand retail and consumer markets, so they can position products to increase retail turns and margins throughout the supply chain. “Hort Consumer Research […]

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September 2, 2008

1-800-Flowers Launches BlackBerry Application

In early August, 1-800-Flowers launched its Mobile Flower & Gift Center. Now, 1-800-Flowers reports that nearly 1,000 people have downloaded the application that lets customers browse and purchase flowers directly from their BlackBerry devices. “1-800-Flowers.com recognizes that our customers are on the go and need the option to send flowers and gifts anytime, anywhere,” says Davina Coard, manager of public relations at 1-800-Flowers. Customers can download the application to their BlackBerry, create a log-in and start shopping. A transaction can take less than 30 seconds, Coard says, with the help of address book integration, which lets users input the shipping information quickly. Not all 1-800-Flowers products are available, though. The company is offering only its best-selling products in its top categories so that shoppers can get what they need fast,” Coard says. The list is updated daily and includes special promotions for frequent customers. For more information on 1-800-Flowers or […]

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