November 26, 2012

Marketing Greenhouse Vegetables To Local Restaurants

The local food movement continues to grow, making greenhouse produce an attractive alternative for restaurants in your area, particularly higher-end establishments. It’s a definite opportunity for ornamental growers considering getting into produce. But marketing your crop to an unfamiliar market provides a new set of challenges you should consider. Plantpeddler’s Mike Gooder has had success selling to restaurants, so we asked him to share some tips for other growers thinking about this market. Greenhouse Grower: This isn’t the only place you sell your produce – are restaurants a difficult market to get into compared to other outlets? Gooder: Restaurants can provide a viable opportunity for specialty greenhouse producers with off-season production for several reasons, including, among others: • There are limited producers of locally grown produce during cold seasons • There’s an opportunity for “stable” premium pricing for top quality • Create a market for number-two grade products as prepared […]

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November 26, 2012

Marketing Greenhouse Vegetables To Grocery Stores

Most of you have seen an increase in the marketing of local produce at grocery stores — not just in small, independent groceries but in the big chains as well. It seems like a great opportunity for a greenhouse grower looking for a new market to sell its produce. It can be a very competitive one, however. We asked Water Fresh Farm’s Jeff Barton — who does a nice business with local groceries — how he does it.   Greenhouse Grower: How tough was it for you to get your produce into grocery stores? Is this a difficult market to crack compared to other outlets? Barton: It was certainly more difficult to get into a grocery chain (as opposed to independent grocers) years ago than it is now. I like to think that local is the new organic. Consumers want local because the perceived quality is better compared to nameless agribusiness, and they […]

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November 9, 2012

5 Ways To Improve Your Facebook Return On Investment

Facebook is one of the most widely used social media channels in the world. Since its inception, Facebook has branded itself as the place to connect socially with friends and fans across the globe. And, for the last few years, business owners, managers and their staff members have worked to understand and take advantage of all that Facebook has to offer. There are many benefits, including the ability to create online brand awareness and establish interactive relationships with customers and fellow industry professionals. But, some question its return on investment (ROI). For full impact, Facebook requires time, manpower and consistency, all of which can greatly impact allotted budgets for online and traditional marketing. With many grower and garden center businesses now having Facebook accounts, the next step in the social networking equation is to start evaluating how ROI is defined when applied to social media. ROI is not necessarily based […]

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October 24, 2012

And The Winner Is…

For the last few days, I was in Fayetteville, Ark., at the 2012 America in Bloom annual symposium. Besides experiencing some spectacular weather and one of the best downtown farmers’ markets I’ve seen in a while, there were some pretty enthusiastic cities that congregated for the annual awards program. For those of you who may have been out of the country for the past 11 years, America in Bloom (AIB) is a non-profit 501©(3) organization whose mission is to promote nationwide beautification through education and community involvement by encouraging the use of flowers, plants, trees and other environmental and lifestyle enhancements. Cities and communities that participate in AIB have the opportunity to participate in its friendly competition. In doing so, trained judges come to their town and evaluate it on six criteria: ➊ Floral Displays➋ Landscaped Areas➌ Urban Forestry ➍ Environmental Efforts ➎ Heritage Preservation ➏ Overall Impression Once the […]

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October 23, 2012

Small Business Saturday: Use These Resources To Promote Your Business

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is the day for consumers to support independently owned businesses, which keep the communities they serve thriving. This year, Small Business Saturday falls on November 24.   Here are some resources and ideas you can use to promote your business this year.  The Small Business Saturday website offers marketing materials, including templates for signage (which can be personalized with company name), eMails and online banners and logos.  The Resource Center at Independent We Stand offers free signage and marketing materials, as well as information on how to create an online presence with social media.  List your company in Independent We Stand’s directory of small businesses to get in front of customers who are eager to buy local on Small Business Saturday. Like the Small Business Saturday and Independent We Stand Facebook pages for updates and ideas you can steal.  Send out an eMail, newsletter or mailer letting your current customers know about your […]

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October 4, 2012

Proven Winners Helps Growers Inspire Their Customers

In today’s retail environment, successful retailers know they need to inspire their customers to increase their sales. Grocery stores give away recipe books, while upscale clothing stores hold designer days. This is the retail model Proven Winners has followed for years when creating their Gardener’s Idea Book, and the goal is simple — to help inspire customers. And best of all, with Proven Winners’ Gardener’s Idea Book mailing program, growers can put these books directly in their customers’ hands at almost no cost. Under the program, Proven Winners will provide the Gardener’s Idea Books at absolutely no cost; employers pay $0.50 to cover the postage to mail each book to the customers on their mailing lists when shipping within the continental U.S. Aside from providing the 32-page, full color books, Proven Winners will also address and mail the books using a mailing list from the grower. Proven Winners also includes […]

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October 4, 2012

Why You Need To Tweet

Have you been trying to decide if using Twitter for your business is worth the effort? Or, are you looking for ways to freshen up your Twitter marketing strategy? No matter your current state of Twitter knowledge — expert, novice or clueless — this increasingly popular social channel provides you with a method for reaching your customer base, as well as those who can shed a positive light on your brand. Twitter Is The New eMail Despite the fact Twitter has more than 500 million active users and has become one of the top ten most visited websites, maybe you personally are not yet convinced Twitter is a viable approach to marketing. To a degree, this is understandable. Social media seems to have taken many of us by storm, with a bevy of new online streams or feeds of content gushing at us like an overflowing river. But isn’t that […]

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September 5, 2012

The Right Plants For Value-Added

Over the past few years our operation has seen a steady increase in sales of our value-added division. You may be wondering about my definition of value-added. In our operation, any plants potted into a decorated pot or put into a combination and sold to the customer as a new item are value-added. This could be a simple, upgraded ceramic pot with a four- or six-inch flowering plant dropped into it, or a multiple plant combination, such as an Easter lily along with two flowering potted plants and some foliage. I admit that there were days when I hated the word “value-added.” I believed that you should be able to grow a plant and have the plant sell itself, without all the fancy designer stuff to dress it up. The thought that I would spend energy growing a beautiful poinsettia only to see someone come along and spray paint it […]

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August 27, 2012

Star Roses and Plants/Conard-Pyle Unveils New Brand, Pot

A new house brand and pot design has been unveiled for the Star Roses and Plants brand, the umbrella brand over Star Roses/Conard-Pyle products. The house brand will be home to roses for which the company is an industry leader and will also include perennials and shrubs. Plants will be displayed in a newly designed pot, featuring the widely recognized chartreuse color that the company uses in all of their marketing and branding efforts. The new pots will first be seen on the Knock Out and Drift rose lines. “We are always working on ways to provide our customers, growers and garden retailers with superior genetics backed by innovative and consistent brand marketing,” says Steve Hutton, president and CEO of Star Roses and Plants/Conard-Pyle. “We are excited about this new brand — Star Roses and Plants — because it allows us to more effectively market our new, exciting lines of […]

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The HGTV HOME Plant Collection

July 20, 2012

Branded Plant Collections Engage New Customers

It’s a common complaint: fewer people are interested in gardening nowadays. While research suggests that people have trouble connecting with plants, many media brands are working to make live goods more accessible to consumers. The Southern Living Plant Collection (SLPC) debuted in spring 2008, and Sunset magazine and HGTV have followed with their own collections. Each new collection strives to seduce more people into the garden, but is it working? Regional Plant Collections Increase Customer Confidence For southerners, and those that read Southern Living magazine, gardening has always been a big part of the overall lifestyle. The Southern Living team knew that the magazine’s readers were interested in getting their fingernails dirty; the plant collection was anatural next step. “Southern Living is a very strong brand name and lifestyle magazine, and gardening is a big component of what they do that appeals to the Southern lifestyle,” says Kip McConnell, director of […]

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July 13, 2012

GGS Structures Creates ‘Like Us and Win’ iPad Contest

GGS has just launched a contest where growers and garden center retailers can enter to win the new iPad. All you have to do is like GGS on Facebook by navigating to Facebook.com/ggsgreenhouse and clicking on the like button. “This is the perfect way to say thanks to all growers who join our new Facebook page,” said Richard Hebbourn, Communications Specialist at GGS. “We chose an iPad as the prize because we’ve noticed that many growers are starting to use mobile computers in their greenhouses for their portability and ease of use. Plus, who doesn’t want an iPad?” “I encourage all growers and retailers to like GGS. By joining our Facebook page, you can stay in the loop about not only contests, but also useful industry news and special offers on greenhouse structures. You can like us from your personal or business Facebook account.” The GGS ‘Like Us and Win’ […]

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