January 13, 2009

Teleflora To Advertise In Super Bowl

For the first time, Teleflora will take the major step of advertising during the Super Bowl on Feb. 1, according to the Society of American Florists (SAF). The floral giant will have a 30-second spot in the second quarter of the game broadcast on NBC, incorporating the talking flowers used in last year’s “America’s Favorite Mom” campaign. “Our main priority is always our member florists, and during these hard economic times, Teleflora wants to help our florists generate sales and foot traffic into their shops,” SAF quotes Shawn Weidmann, president of Teleflora. “With the Super Bowl airing less than two weeks before Valentine’s Day, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to reach more than 90 million potential buyers and reinforce the importance of sending flowers that are hand-arranged and hand-delivered by a local florist.” According to Brandweek, Teleflora’s spot is reminiscent of office sitcoms, showing a man giving a box […]

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December 29, 2008

Online Only: Retail Dos and Don’ts

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery visited hundreds of garden centers last year and shared his findings on plant size and color with us. He also shared hundreds of photos from his stops last fall in Atlanta, Baltimore, Long Island and South Florida. We picked five photos that stood out for a job well done–and five that simply stood out for the wrong reasons.  

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December 22, 2008

Different Is Not Always Better

The U.S. economy has been weathering recession-like conditions for a while now, including job losses, home foreclosures, declining consumer confidence, lower business spending and inflationary pressures on some of our key production inputs. Due to the cumulative impacts of these stressful economic conditions, we find several of our friends and colleagues are no longer working in the industry. Of those remaining, several I have interacted with have indicated their business activity is way down, but others say they have either been “holding their own” or “doing OK.” There has, however, been another (yet smaller) subset of growers that has indicated its “sales are up” or business has been “expanding” this year. Surviving & Thriving So naturally, this has prompted me to ponder how this can be. What is it that separates the folks who are just doing “OK” from those who are doing well? As usual, there is no easy […]

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December 17, 2008

Winning Consumer Dollars

This is not an article on horticulture joining forces for a “Got Milk?” campaign. Those activities look like they are taking shape … maybe? In the meantime, we decided to focus on showing how to make an impact at the local level where the shovel hits the dirt. First, the numbers: The average U.S. consumer spent $46,409 in 2005 after taxes, and most of this went to housing, transportation and food. About $12,000 was left for discretionary items, and that’s what we are competing for. Discretionary spending is pretty interesting. Consider the average U.S. consumer spends $2,634 on food away from home, $426 on alcohol, $1,886 on apparel, $2,388 on entertainment, $126 on reading materials, $319 on tobacco and $5,204 on personal insurance and pensions. Forty years ago, spending more on going out to dinner than clothing would have been shocking. Today’s Americans are dressed down and casual. Are they […]

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December 15, 2008

Stepables Amps Up Its Marketing

The masterminds behind the Stepables national line of branded plants have come up with the Tough Ten list of creeping perennials that can withstand a wide range of conditions. These were chosen for versatility and their robust habits. The plants will be featured in marketing and point-of-purchase materials throughout 2009, which will include a new, buffed-up Stepables guy. The Tough Ten are: –Sagina subulata (Irish Moss)–Sagina subulata ‘Aurea’ (Scotch Moss)–Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)–Mazus reptans (Purple Mazus)–Thymus praecox ‘Pseudolanuginosus (Woolly Thyme)–Thymus serpyllum ‘Elfin’ (Miniature Thyme)–Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ (Golden Creeping Jenny)–Sedum spurium (John Creech)–Ajuga hybrid ‘Chocolate Chip’ (Dwarf Bungleweed)–Lotus corniculatus ‘Plenus’ (Double Birds Foot Trefoil) Find out more about these and nine new varieties introduced for 2009 at www.stepables.com.

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December 8, 2008

View: Jerry Montgomery On Big Box Poinsettias

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery visited an assortment of Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart garden centers in North Florida two weekends ago and shared his assessment of each retailer’s poinsettias with us. He concluded Walmart will lead the poinsettia sales charge, although sales will be soft this season. Introduction Although there were a lot of shoppers out (Nov. 28-29), there was not much activity in the garden centers of the three national retailers with the exception of Walmart, where many shopping carts contained poinsettias. On Black Friday, Home Depot promoted 5-inch poinsettias at $0.99 each, and Lowe’s promoted a quart poinsettia at $1.49. These were both “door-buster” specials seemingly with minimal impact. Home Depot Of the three national retailers, Home Depot had the smallest inventories and a limited number of SKUs compared to Lowe’s. Home Depot did, however, have the best Christmas we have seen in many years produced by Peckett’s […]

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December 2, 2008

Orlando Neighborhood To Get Garden Makeover

Fiskars Project Orange Thumb, a community program that’s helped establish neighborhood vegetable plots, install gardens and revitalize parks, has a one-day garden transformation planned next week in Orlando, Fla. More than 50 people, including Master Gardener Joe Lamp’l, will gather next Thursday, Dec. 11 with members of the Willows neighborhood and staff from Fiskars, Home Depot and the city of Orlando. The goal of the project is to fill neighborhood spaces with shade-giving trees and flowering plants while developing a relaxed sitting area for residents. For more information on this particular project or Project Orange Thumb, visit www.fiskars.com.

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December 2, 2008

Garden Retailers Dish On Black Friday

Black Friday was a mixed bag for garden center retailers. Despite the uptick in sales many retailers saw throughout the country last Friday, garden retailers in some locations couldn’t make the same claim. Meanwhile, others saw heavy traffic Friday that dropped the rest of the weekend. “The traffic was normal for us, but the sales were down,” noted Sandi McDonald of Hillermann Nursery & Florist in Washington, Mo. “People were buying, but just not near as much as in the past. We have a more open set up in the store, and have had many great comments about it. Cut Christmas trees moved well, as well as fresh greenery.” Gali’s Garden Center in Beachwood, Ohio, saw sales jump about 20 percent versus the year before on Black Friday via an open house, but tree sales remained steady with the previous three years. “So what does that mean for the season?” asks […]

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December 2, 2008

Lowe’s Thinks Positively With Holiday Campaign

Rather than pitching a value message in a down economy, Lowe’s is trying to attract holiday consumers this year with its “Let’s Holiday” campaign that promotes the shopper experience in its stores. The Lowe’s ads show a boy following a magical trail of sparkles through a Lowe’s store. As the boy watches, coffee mugs transform into reindeer and outdoor plants become Christmas trees with each touch of the sparkles. The ad ends with a stack of gardening pots transforming into Christmas wreathes and the boy convincing his mother to buy one. To view the ad, click here.

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November 24, 2008

Adapting To Market Change by Stan Pohmer

After many years of sustained growth, the green industry appears to have hit a speed bump. Maybe it’s a function of the languid economy, or maybe it’s because our core customers, the boomer generation, are changing their buying habits based on lifestyle changes. Maybe it’s because we’re not capturing the minds, hearts and wallets of the emerging millennium customer. Some say it’s caused by the growth of the mass marketers, the big boxes and their impact on commoditizing our products, leading to a lowering of the perceived value of our products. Or possibly, it’s caused by something more fundamental that retailers and growers in our industry haven’t recognized or taken seriously. Something we’ve lost. Something called consumer relevance. There are some that say a national promotion campaign, with producers footing the bill under a USDA authorized mandatory promotion order, might be the panacea to solving our growth problems. In theory, […]

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November 19, 2008

Pork & Plants Appears In USA Today

Biomass boilers heat the greenhouses at Pork & Plants in Altura, Minn., and ash from the boilers fertilizes fields. It’s one way the operation farms sustainably, and USA Today told its sustainability story from Eric Kreidermacher’s perspective in an article published late last month. “Kreidermacher is part of a growing trend,” USA Today Reporter Judy Keen wrote. “More old-school farmers are using techniques that protect natural resources instead of damaging them with chemicals, erosion and animal waste.” In addition to its biomass boilers, Pork & Plants has watering systems designed for conservation, a soil mix that includes coconut fiber and rice hulls instead of peat moss and plants grown and solid in biodegradable pots. Theirs is the kind of story we’ve been telling over the couple of years, and it’s refreshing to see that story appear in a publication with the national reach and broad audience of USA Today. To […]

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November 19, 2008

PBS Featuring Metrolina On Ag Show This Week

“America’s Heartland,” a 30-minute PBS show on agriculture in the United States, is featuring Metrolina Greenhouses in Huntersville, N.C., in this week’s episode. Reporter Hena Cuevas visited with Abe Van Wingerden, president of Metrolina, who explained the importance of automation in the greenhouse in a six-minute segment. The show is airing at various times around the country this week, Van Wingerden says, but you can view video of the Metrolina segment here. More information about this particular segment and the episode as a whole can be found at http://www.americasheartland.org/episodes/episode_404/index.htm. The publicity for Metrolina is fantastic, and the video shows viewers how technologically sound our industry has become. As Cuevas notes in it, “Chances are if you’ve ever planted a garden, you’ve purchased one of [Metrolina’s] products.”

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