Takao: Waiting No Way To Reach Next Consumers

Takao: Waiting No Way To Reach Next Consumers

OFA President Danny Takao responds to Associate Editor Kevin Yanik’s November column about why waiting for young people to become our industry’s next group of consumers is the wrong approach.

I wanted to respond to the last commentary about waiting for the next group of consumers. I’ve been in the nursery industry all my life and have been through a lot of recessions and downturns. But never have I seen so many growers go out of business or get out of business without it having some impact on those who stayed on.

What I mean is when a greenhouse or nursery closed in California, there was a mad scramble to fill that market share from everyone. In the last eight to 10 years, we must have had more than 200 or 300 acres of greenhouse and 2,000 acres-plus of outdoor production disappear without putting much of a ripple in the market. This would cover cut flowers, foliage, bedding and nursery growers here in California.

The current thinking here in California is “be the last man standing to get market share.” That’s not a good strategy for our industry. As a matter of fact, that’s a very poor way of keeping our industry and the supply chain healthy.

You and I have discussed America In Bloom, and with some more adjustments that could help keep our plants in front of the consumer. The economy is going to have to overcome a lot of issues to get healthy in the next three to five years. If we sit back, I could see what has happened in California moving across the country. I know from friends throughout the country they are starting to feel what we have experienced in California.

What if AIB/OFA could create something like the National Gardening Assocation website that our industry could help support? Along with beautifying our cities, we help our kids understand the value and beauty of gardening again. I’ve read in the future we are going to have a major obesity issue with our kids, which, in turn, creates a diabetes issue. We should really be stressing how gardening can help solve these problems.

One more observation about gardening: I’ve heard more young guys complain to me about how much work gardening is and then, in the same breath, tell me they go to the gym and work out. We somehow need to show them the following: 1) Wouldn’t you rather be out in nature than looking into the parking lot on a treadmill for an hour? 2) Where can you get both a physical and monetary return for your efforts? A well-kept yard maintains its value more than a neglected one; and 3) It’s cool to be in the garden!

I also wanted to bring up this conversation I had with a kindergarten teacher: She wanted to start a very small garden for her kids. Due to her diligence and persistence, she found some grant money and, with permission from the principal, started a very small garden. But what if she wasn’t persistence or diligent? What would have happened?

As Susan (Petak) from Wessel Farms says, we need to get consumers early. Our industry does great work communicating to our grower segment, but what if instead of holding California Spring Trials one year, we divert that money to marketing into our national marketing campaign? What kind of business would that generate for our retailers and growers?

That kindergarten teacher–and any teacher around the country–should be able to access one website (that our industry controls and manages) that directs them to information that explains how to create a vegetable/flower garden; where to start, what grants are available, when is the right time to start and everything she needs to know so kids are successful.

Lack of information is a major reason why, up to now, a lot of people don’t garden. People say they have the brown thumb syndrome, and whose fault is that? I would think we could even help them with starter plants and supplies from our industry. It would be a minimal investment for the future of our industry.

We need to rethink how to keep our plants relevant to anyone, regardless of their age. Or, we might go the way of the phone booth.

Leave a Reply

10 comments on “Takao: Waiting No Way To Reach Next Consumers

  1. I agree wholeheartedly. I am with a non-profit hoticultural association and I see the trade shows dwindling or going away. These are aimed at the grower and supplier, not the gardener. I believe we need a website from professional nursery people to give advice on growing conditions, fertilizers, amendments, etc. not just promoting new plants. I follow two excellent nursery websites that contain a wealth of information and support them although they ae some distance from me.
    There are many gardening sites which are mostly blogs and do not contain a lot of substantive information.
    I have helped grade school teachers with pollinator gardens at very little cost with parents pitching in to assist.
    Colorful plant tags with information are helpful but information needs to start at the soil level if gardeners and growers are to be successful

  2. I love the spirit of your proposal, but wonder if anybody has thought of joining forces with NGA instead of trying to compete, they arent’ in it for a particular industry, and what they have started is high quality and highly accessed. Why not just add to it, add your name and funding, and some effort in support through research, etc. and piggyback on their already successful model? Maybe your industry can have an NGA liaison that is highly involved in meshing your two organizations together. I know of a sector in horticulture that is suffering professionally because of little differences creating large divides, I think a unified whole has a stronger voice.
    -Just two cents from a horticulture grad student, about to graduate, with lots of love, and concern, for her field.

  3. We are all partners in this wonderful industry and as such depend on the exchange of ideas and information.I have found many informative web sights that cater to gardeners at all levels in my midwest region. Additionally, the current influx of state & fed grants available (nationally) for Community Gardens have, to me, created one of the best free marketing campaigns our industry could’ve received. These visible programs are not only raising peoples awarness about gardening but bringing them together in a learning, doing and reaping environment that can continue with future generations.Growers & retailers should embrace & promote these programs in their communities as they can help them grow customers for life.

  4. Thank you all for commenting on my response to Kevin. From all your comments I see we have a lot of passionate people who care about the future of our industry. Please note we’ll continue to work on this at OFA as I think it will be one of our most important issues we face as a industry.
    By the way for those of you who aren’t members of OFA please consider joining so we can push this forward.
    Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
    Danny

  5. I agree wholeheartedly. I am with a non-profit hoticultural association and I see the trade shows dwindling or going away. These are aimed at the grower and supplier, not the gardener. I believe we need a website from professional nursery people to give advice on growing conditions, fertilizers, amendments, etc. not just promoting new plants. I follow two excellent nursery websites that contain a wealth of information and support them although they ae some distance from me.
    There are many gardening sites which are mostly blogs and do not contain a lot of substantive information.
    I have helped grade school teachers with pollinator gardens at very little cost with parents pitching in to assist.
    Colorful plant tags with information are helpful but information needs to start at the soil level if gardeners and growers are to be successful

  6. I love the spirit of your proposal, but wonder if anybody has thought of joining forces with NGA instead of trying to compete, they arent’ in it for a particular industry, and what they have started is high quality and highly accessed. Why not just add to it, add your name and funding, and some effort in support through research, etc. and piggyback on their already successful model? Maybe your industry can have an NGA liaison that is highly involved in meshing your two organizations together. I know of a sector in horticulture that is suffering professionally because of little differences creating large divides, I think a unified whole has a stronger voice.
    -Just two cents from a horticulture grad student, about to graduate, with lots of love, and concern, for her field.

  7. We are all partners in this wonderful industry and as such depend on the exchange of ideas and information.I have found many informative web sights that cater to gardeners at all levels in my midwest region. Additionally, the current influx of state & fed grants available (nationally) for Community Gardens have, to me, created one of the best free marketing campaigns our industry could’ve received. These visible programs are not only raising peoples awarness about gardening but bringing them together in a learning, doing and reaping environment that can continue with future generations.Growers & retailers should embrace & promote these programs in their communities as they can help them grow customers for life.

  8. Thank you all for commenting on my response to Kevin. From all your comments I see we have a lot of passionate people who care about the future of our industry. Please note we’ll continue to work on this at OFA as I think it will be one of our most important issues we face as a industry.
    By the way for those of you who aren’t members of OFA please consider joining so we can push this forward.
    Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
    Danny

More From Marketing...
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
Savor New Website

February 16, 2017

Pleasant View Launches Updated Website for its Savor Edibles and Fragrants Brand

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

Read More
Latest Stories
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
Costa Farms Container Ideas E-Book

April 12, 2016

Costa Farms Targets Consumers With New Container Garden…

The electronic book offers tips on container selection, design, and plant care for millennials looking to grow in small spaces.

Read More