November 18, 2008

Bring On More Branding by Mark Broxon

It was only seven or eight years ago that the topic of branding began to appear with frequency in Greenhouse Grower and other industry publications. Many began to consider what branding meant, and what their role in it should be. Proven Winners is proud to be credited with bringing branding to horticulture. We firmly believe in both the concept and its future. Some have considered branding to be simply developing a name or logo under which to sell plants. But creating a brand that is profitable to growers and retailers and provides real value to consumers is not easy. Instead, it is an ongoing and exciting process that, through research, innovation, and better plants, truly never ends. And here’s why: The real job of true plant marketers is much more than just “branding” plants. The real job is the long-term process of creating and building value for growers, retailers and […]

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November 11, 2008

Readying For Next Gen by Al Gerace

A look to the future must start with where we are today and what got us here. Looking at our own firm, Welby Gardens, we’ve had about an eight-fold increase in total revenue over the past 25 years and a five-fold increase in physical plant. What were the major factors behind this growth, and will those trends sustain continued growth? In the mid-1960s Welby Gardens staked out an independent regional marketing course, partnering with independent garden centers and innovative commercial and estate landscapers under the Hardy Boy brand. Welby established a dynamic system of introducing and recognizing new trends at the frontline of active retail and at the cutting edge of both lifestyle landscape and plants that really work at 55 miles an hour. The challenge for the ongoing future is not the “what” or “with whom,” but the “how do we” present our products to capture the imagination of […]

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October 20, 2008

Winner 15,001-25,000 Category – Stuart, Florida: Coastal Cleanliness

The judges recognized Stuart for environmental awareness. The city instituted a watershed planning and improvement program to improve the overall quality of the St. Lucie River and its associated lands. Recharge basins and ponds were created, thereby increasing fresh water aquifers, natural areas were claimed, dumps were removed and noxious weeds were eliminated. Creek trails were subsequently developed, and the entire plan identified and preserved wildlife corridors and improved storm water quality and environmental conditions.   Arroyo Grande, California: In just a short time, Arroyo Grande has harnessed a multitude of citizens to the common goals of making its community better. The judges say the Village Improvement Association has pulled the community together, and its success is obvious to all who live there.   Artesia, California: The judges recognized Artesia particularly for its landscaped areas. The need to upgrade the Pioneer Boulevard business corridor was evident, and residents and the […]

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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 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 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 5,001-10,000 Category – North Manchester, Indiana: A Natural Beauty

The judges recognized North Manchester for its heritage preservation. Few towns of this size can boast a 29,000-square-foot museum with more than 16,000 artifacts. The Historical Society uses state-of-the-art techniques to document and preserve this town’s rich heritage. Displays and vignettes have been created by volunteers and feature excellent interpretation. Participants in the 5,000-10,000 category: Incline Village, Nevada: Community involvement is one of Incline Village’s special and notable strengths. The Parasol Foundation provides a framework for cooperation and collaboration among service groups and social services agencies. This population category was judged by Evelyn Alemanni and Mary Ann Fink.

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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 50,001-100,000 category – Fayetteville, Arkansas: Hoggin’ The Spotlight

Fayetteville, home of the University of Arkansas, is an exceptional example of a tidy community. Over the course of their visit, the judges were impressed with the lack of litter. Citizens obviously have an anti-litter mindset. A strong, strictly enforced sign ordinance that limits the size and number of signs that a business can erect is extremely effective in minimizing visual clutter. Fayetteville has now won in each of its first four contest attempts. Participants in the 50,001-100,000 category:   Columbia, Missouri: The judges awarded a special mention to Columbia for community involvement. They were impressed with the high degree of recognition the city has when it comes to seeking public input and providing mechanisms for both the corporate and citizen sectors.   Lafayette, Indiana: Heritage preservation is important in Lafayette. Since the establishment of the city’s Historic District Ordinance 15 years ago, five local historic districts have sprouted up […]

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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

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 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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