Seven Questions With John Kinsella

When apparel retailer Urban Outfitters, Inc. — better known for its Urban Outfitters, Free People and Anthropologie stores — announced last summer it was getting into the garden center business, it raised some eyebrows. Since then, the company has named this new brand Terrain and purchased Philadelphia-area garden center Styer’s to use as its first retail platform.

With the grand opening of Terrain At Styer’s scheduled for April, we caught up with Terrain Managing Director John Kinsella to discuss the concept, plans for the future and why a company like Urban Outfitters sees opportunity in garden retail. 

1. GG: What is the Terrain concept? Is this really a garden center?

Kinsella: Terrain is very much at its heart a garden center. We expect close to half our sales to come from plant material, and we’re going to have a great selection of tools handpicked from around the world.

The customer we’re targeting is a woman in her 40s and 50s. We know that a lot of these people aren’t green-thumb gardeners, so we want them to feel welcome and inspired, and give them all the tools they need to create beauty in their home and their garden.

And we’ll also have something for the Master Gardeners. We expect to have a really amazing collection of plants, and we’ll organize them based on some of the things we’ve learned from offering fashion to customers in terms of putting outfits together. People can see how things work together so they are excited and inspired and want to recreate that at home. 

2. GG: What makes the garden center market attractive for a company like Urban Outfitters?

Kinsella: If you look at the industry, you’ve got the big box stores and then you have 20,000 independent garden centers, most of which are doing less than $10 million a year. So there’s a huge void in the market. There’s no one taking nursery plants and all the auxiliary product categories and putting it together under the umbrella of a national brand.

We think that there’s a really big opportunity to reinterpret or reinvent the garden center, and that’s what we intend to do. 

3. GG: How will you source plants? Will you be buying in locally?

Kinsella: We’re in conversations with Styer’s existing growers. We want to create strong, long-term relationships with great vendors and growers as we grow. For example, if we had six stores in the Mid-Atlantic, it would be smart to have that same grower community feeding all the stores because they use the same plant material. 

4. GG: With the purchase of Styer’s, you’re acquiring an existing brand and modifying it. Is this the overall strategy for Terrain?

Kinsella: I think initially that’s our plan. We’d like to seek garden centers that would be a solid partner for us. At some point it might morph to be more of a real estate deal, but at this point we’re looking at partners. We want to work with garden centers that have a lot of history and also are in good locations that reflect our customer base. We also want to partner with vendors, particularly growers, to develop good long-term relationships that can do specialty growing for us. 

5. GG: How much modification will there be? Will Styer’s loyal customers recognize Terrain At Styer’s?

Kinsella: Yes, I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised. We want to keep the best of what Styer’s was offering and add to that.

We offered every Styer’s employee a job. We recognize there’s an amazing heritage they have created, a community of gardeners who love Styer’s. It has a strong reputation of great plant material and great service and we want to cultivate and grow that.

And as we expand, we’re looking at strategic partnerships with other garden centers who can layer onto our knowledge base about how to run a garden center well, with great plant knowledge, great service levels, great landscaping skills. We know how to create beautiful environments and great experiences, but humbly, we are learning how to run a garden center. 

6. GG: What about future expansion plans for Terrain? How fast, how many, and where?

Kinsella: We can’t really say, but what I can tell you is that we want to be thoughtful about doing this regionally. We hope to leverage the plant buying so we can stay in a climate zone or a region and then begin to saturate that and then move on. But for expansion plans, I can say we’re in conversations. We’re looking to expand. 

7. GG: In the end, how is Terrain different than other garden centers?

Kinsella: Based on our experience with the other Urban Outfitters brands, we’re looking at this new model of national-local. Most people don’t realize there’s more than one Anthropologie store out there because they’re so unique. How could it possibly be a national chain if there’s so much catering to local needs?

We will source locally to the extent that we can – plants, merchandise, food for our café. That will be driven by the actual store.

And then we want to layer in an international aspect. We have a very strong buying team searching the world for what we think is the very best product for an outdoor lifestyle, like furniture, containers, home décor, outdoor entertaining, even personal care items. Terrain will be a blend of international and national with very local. We think the combination of beautiful plants, an inspiring environment with great décor and outdoor lifestyle products is a very powerful combination.

Leave a Reply

More From Marketing...
NICH Plants Do That infographic feature

April 11, 2017

New Infographic Highlights Economic Impact of Plants

A new report from the National Institute for Consumer Horticulture shows how horticulture positively affects people’s lives wherever they live, work, shop, and play.

Read More
National Garden Bureau New Website

March 22, 2017

National Garden Bureau’s New Website Features Mobile-Friendly Design, Marketing Tools

The new site is designed to serve as a home base to drive traffic from NGB’s social media community to one central location.

Read More

March 7, 2017

Local Florists Celebrate Women’s Day and SAF Promotes Occasion With New Video

Florists across the U.S. are celebrating International Women's Day, March 8, and raising awareness for non-profit organizations. The Society of American Florists is raising its own awareness of what happens when women receive flowers with a new video for International Women's Day.

Read More
Latest Stories
NICH Plants Do That infographic feature

April 11, 2017

New Infographic Highlights Economic Impact of Plants

A new report from the National Institute for Consumer Horticulture shows how horticulture positively affects people’s lives wherever they live, work, shop, and play.

Read More
National Garden Bureau New Website

March 22, 2017

National Garden Bureau’s New Website Features Mobile-Fr…

The new site is designed to serve as a home base to drive traffic from NGB’s social media community to one central location.

Read More

March 7, 2017

Local Florists Celebrate Women’s Day and SAF Prom…

Florists across the U.S. are celebrating International Women's Day, March 8, and raising awareness for non-profit organizations. The Society of American Florists is raising its own awareness of what happens when women receive flowers with a new video for International Women's Day.

Read More
Savor New Website

February 16, 2017

Pleasant View Launches Updated Website for its Savor Ed…

The site is designed to offer a friendly and informative vehicle that delivers product information in an easy-to-navigate format.

Read More

January 24, 2017

Beekenkamp Plants B.V. to Take Over Marketing Sunny Ost…

Beekenkamp Plants B.V. will take over Sunny Holland B.V.'s marketing activities as of July 1, 2017, and begin offering Sunny Osteospermum to the supply chain.

Read More
gg-january-2017-cover-arizonaeast-feature

January 5, 2017

Why ArizonaEast Is Expanding Its Succulent Production T…

In Greenhouse Grower's January cover story, learn how Brian and Joe Vitale of ArizonaEast saw a chance to expand and diversify their New Jersey-based succulent operation, and why they jumped at the opportunity.

Read More
dummen-orange

October 18, 2016

Dümmen Orange Buys Rose Breeder, Participates In Petal …

Dümmen Orange will be hitting the streets of Columbus, OH, this week, handing out some of its favorite flowers as part of the Petal it Forward program in partnership with the Society of American Florists.

Read More
media-day-at-altman-plants

October 17, 2016

Altman Plants Hosts Media Day To Highlight Its Water Sa…

This month, Altman celebrated more than 100 million gallons of water saved since its water recycling program began operation.

Read More
OSU ATI Greenhouse

September 21, 2016

Your Support Is Essential For Current And Future Studen…

September is back to school time, and that means renewed opportunity to support the young people who are electing to pursue careers in horticulture. I continue to hear from growers of all sizes, from all over the country, that there just are not enough qualified graduates of two- or four-year horticulture programs. We also need to be active in promoting careers in horticulture to those who are not aware of the opportunities available. There have been some great success stories in this area recently. At University of Florida (UF) last fall, Anna Ball and Dr. Marvin Miller of Ball Horticultural Co. joined UF’s Dr. David Clark in an introductory environmental horticulture couse that’s open to any major. After the class, the line of students waiting to talk with Ball, Miller, and Clark was out the door. It is so important, Ball says, for each of us, individually and collectively to […]

Read More
Dual Income No Kids (DINK) Young Couple

September 16, 2016

What You Need To Know About DINKs

DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids) are quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing demographics that marketers are targeting.

Read More
Cavicchio Greenhouses

September 6, 2016

Cavicchio Greenhouses Wins Inaugural Sustainability Awa…

The Sudbury, MA, growing operation sustains more than 250 acres of annuals, perennials, and nursery stock, with a number of practices to mitigate its impact on the environment.

Read More
Laura Drotleff

August 10, 2016

Customers Need Hand-Holding And TLC [Opinion]

If we want customers to use our plants, we need to provide basic information about the plants we produce.

Read More
Luxflora Flower Run

July 20, 2016

First-Ever Flower Run Was A Big Success, Luxflora Says

Kicking off Cultivate’16 on Sunday, July 10, Luxflora’s first annual 5K saw nearly 150 participants racing through the picturesque Scioto Audubon Park in Columbus under clear blue skies and perfect conditions. It was a great way to start the week, participants said. Congratulations to the winners of the first-ever Flower Run: First Place: Jacob Griffith Gardner Second Place: Mike Goyette Third Place: Jack Ford The top three winners — and all of the Flower Run participants — were showered with flower petals when they crossed the finish line, making for a colorful and fragrant finish to an invigorating experience. “Personally, I would consider it a grand success,” says Luxflora President Rebecca Lusk. “The overall mood was fantastic, from start to finish. There were many high fives and group hugs, numerous duo phone selfies and postings to social media, while participants enjoyed their bananas and bottled water donated by Experience Columbus. Most […]

Read More
PrairieSplendor_CompactRose Syngenta Flowers March 2016

May 16, 2016

New “Generations Of Flowers” Study Tracks How And Why C…

The Society of American Florists and the American Floral Endowment have released an update and analysis of this study, which first began in 2009.

Read More
Webinar Photo from Flickr

May 7, 2016

How You Can Connect With A Broader Audience Through Web…

Webinars are time-saving and effective marketing tools that can extend your reach to a greater audience.

Read More

April 27, 2016

Use Your Data To Make Smarter Marketing Decisions

Learn which marketing metrics are important to your business, measure successes, and learn where changes are needed.

Read More

April 26, 2016

“Bee-Friendly” Labels Matter To Plant Consumers, Accord…

Research at Michigan State University shows ornamental plant buyers understand and respond to bee-friendly production practices.

Read More
Krause Berry Farms Farm To Table Dinner

April 20, 2016

What The Floriculture Industry Can Learn From Farm Mark…

Although we have a lot in common with the produce industry, there is much we can learn from one another.

Read More