Rambo Nursery Eliminates Confusion With One-Stop Shop Concept

Sam Rambo

Sam Rambo says his company started offering single-source supplying before it was called single-source.

“We were buying in shrubs, perennials and annuals that stores would need on the weekend knowing that they were going to run out and call us for more plants,” says Rambo, president and CEO of Rambo Nursery. “We officially became known as a single-source supplier in 2008, but we had been doing it prior to that. I’m talking about all categories of ornamental plants, including annuals, perennials, foliage, poinsettias, trees, shrubs, roses and bulbs.”

Rambo Nursery operates three production facilities in Georgia and services more than 50 Home Depot stores in Georgia and Alabama.

Creating Order From Chaos

Rambo says the main reason his company agreed to become a single-source supplier was the lack of consistency he saw in stores. For example, a wide variety of pot sizes and colors were being offered in the Home Depot stores he serviced.

“There was nearly every color imaginable when it came to containers — terra cotta, white, green, black and more,” he says. “The different colors were a reflection of different growers’ philosophies in regards to distinguishing their product from their competitors. The result was absolute chaos. We could see that consumers in the stores were totally confused by the whole situation. We realized the more control we could gain over the situation, the better it would be for us as well as for the customers shopping in the stores.”

Rambo initiated a concept in the stores he called Garden Center Destination. The primary reason for developing the program was to turn all the stores his company served into shopping destinations for consumers looking for plant products.
“We built the business based on the needs of the customers,” Rambo says. “Prior to becoming a single-source supplier, we were making deliveries on Saturdays and Sundays, even though we weren’t a main vendor. We were restocking the display tables on weekends when other growers couldn’t fill the orders.”

Rambo says this strategy has worked for his company because he is a regional grower.

“We handle 54 stores in Georgia and Alabama, and we are very close to the markets that we serve,” he says. “We are definitely interested in expanding beyond the stores that we currently serve. There is a lot of market share we don’t have that’s in close proximity to us. We have the potential to grow this model from our current location, and we would consider setting up distribution centers in other locations. The key is being on top of your market.”

Working With Other Growers

Although Rambo would prefer to grow as much of the plant material he ships as possible, he works with a network of about 20 growers to produce what he cannot. Some of these growers produce exclusively for his company.

“With the annuals and perennials, we would prefer to produce everything that we ship, but we have had to contract-grow a decent percentage of the plants,” Rambo says. “I consider some of the growers we are working to be the best in the country. They are committed to high quality. We try not to give these growers more than three to four items to grow.”

Rambo says he has tried to limit the number of growers that he works with to retain more control and to reduce confusion. He says nearly all of the plants for 2013 have been scheduled and ordered.

“We have contracted with some growers who grow specifically for us. We also send commitments to growers who are not growing exclusively for us,” he says. “We source material all over the country and also ship material all over the country. If we have a need for a product that we are running low on or is selling well, it is not unlike us to search the nation to find it. If there is a grower in Iowa or Michigan who needs plants and we have them, then we’ll ship them.”

Delivering Product On Time

Rambo says transportation is a key component to being a single-source supplier. His company handles all of its transportation, including shipping plants produced by contract growers.

“Ninety percent of what we ship is cross-docked,” he says. “On a typical spring morning we could have 20 trucks lined up unloading freight. The materials are cross-docked here and put back on the trucks and delivered to the stores. Only 10 percent of what we pick up from contract growers is direct-shipped to a store location.”
During the peak spring season, the company will run an average of 30 trucks per day. Rambo owns all of the trailers he uses and contracts with three trucking companies to make deliveries.

“The drivers we work with are self-employed, so they can make the deliveries whenever the stores need the material,” he says. “We have some drivers who can run three loads in one day. We can deliver 24 hours a day, which is especially important in city situations where the drivers can get around a lot quicker at night.”

Hands-on Approach Maximizes Sales

Rambo employs 85 full-time merchandisers who ensure product is delivered and displayed properly. Most of the merchandisers are master gardeners who love plants.
“We feel there is great need for the human touch and to have someone in the stores watching what the customers are doing and to interact with them,” Rambo says. “This helps to back up what we are seeing in regards to actual sales. They can see what isn’t selling and why it might not be selling, as well as make changes to displays or remove a product and replace it with something else.”

Electronic data interchange technology enables Rambo to see specifically what is selling in each store. He says having merchandisers in the stores every day provides information about what is happening that sales figures alone can’t report.

“It is very important to us not to miss any sales,” he says. “It’s also important to us that we are not wasting product. We are able to make sure the material is there when the stores need it.”

Seeking Continual Improvement

“Proximity is the key that allows us to [stay on top of the market],” Rambo says. “We are in the stores constantly. It is very important for us to control the process.”
Rambo says he is constantly looking outside our industry for ways to improve the process.

“I tell our people not to try to reinvent the wheel, because they are wasting their time,” he says. “I tell them to look outside of our industry for someone who is doing it right and to learn from them. It’s all about follow-through and initiative.”

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Rambo Nursery Eliminates Confusion With One-Stop Shop Concept

  1. hello I live in Dallas Georgia I was wondering if I could come into your facility and buy flowers and plants please let us know thank you so much.

More From Business Management...

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, According To Study

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

Read More
University of Florida Online Greenhouse Training Courses

April 25, 2016

University of Florida Offering Online Training Courses For Greenhouse Growers

There will be five courses offered, with the first starting on May 30. Courses are available in both English and Spanish and range from beginner level to advanced education.

Read More
Latest Stories

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
University of Florida Online Greenhouse Training Courses

April 25, 2016

University of Florida Offering Online Training Courses …

There will be five courses offered, with the first starting on May 30. Courses are available in both English and Spanish and range from beginner level to advanced education.

Read More
HGTV_2015CAST

April 24, 2016

9 Business Predictions Smart Brands Should Pay Attentio…

Andreas von der Heydt, Director of Kindle at Amazon, recently predicted what smart businesses will do in 2016 to strengthen their brands and promote their products.

Read More
Lin Schmale 1996

April 23, 2016

SAF’s Lin Schmale Offers Lessons From An Industry…

Schmale represented the floriculture industry on Capitol Hill for more than 20 years. The advocate has recently retired, and shares some valuable insights from her career.

Read More
Scott Schaefer Aris CEO

April 22, 2016

New Aris CEO Scott Schaefer Looks Forward To Dealing Wi…

Schaefer, who has been with Aris for 15 years, grew up working at his family’s greenhouse operation in Illinois.

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
Janeen Wright

April 18, 2016

Three Lessons From A Master Greenhouse Vegetable Grower

Three lessons from greenhouse vegetable grower Casey Houweling that you can apply to your business.

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
An Edible Evening At Stephen F Austin

April 11, 2016

How The Greenhouse Industry Can Propagate Gardeners The…

Jared Barnes at Stephen F. Austin University says we are the experts at propagating plants. That’s knowledge we can put to good use to envision how to attract new gardeners and future horticulturists to the industry.

Read More
Sanitation programs are essential to preventing and removing food safety concerns.

April 7, 2016

USDA Launches GroupGAP Program For Fruit And Vegetable …

The new certification program is designed to help small and mid-size growers, including greenhouse vegetable producers, comply with new food safety regulations.

Read More
Tropical Fruit Tree Selection (Hopkins Tropical Fruit Nursery)

April 7, 2016

University Of Florida Research Shows Consumers Value Lo…

Compared to conventional plants, consumers reported a higher purchasing likelihood for certified organic or organically produced fruit plants.

Read More
Congressional Action Days 2016

April 5, 2016

Floral Industry Leaders Make Progress And (In Some Case…

Nearly 90 floral industry members gathered in the nation’s capital in March to meet with lawmakers in the annual event coordinated by the Society of American Florists.

Read More
Casey Houweling, owner of Houweling's Tomatoes

April 4, 2016

Houweling’s Tomatoes Grows Produce With Mastery Under G…

Houweling’s Tomatoes, winner of Greenhouse Grower’s Excellence in Vegetable Production award for 2015, exceeds industry standards for locally grown produce while pioneering innovative technologies that improve sustainability.

Read More
Student Video Horticulture Education

April 2, 2016

Use Videos Featuring Your Millennial Employees To Recru…

Your Millennial employees may be the best spokespeople you have for your business. Why not encourage them to make a 30-second video talking about why they got into horticulture?

Read More
Random Acts Of Flowers

March 31, 2016

The Floriculture Industry Needs A Unified Message To Pr…

Seeing the sneak preview of the new varieties that will be presented at California Spring Trials (CAST) spurs a visceral reaction in me. I’m giddy and excited about these gorgeous plants, having taken in some of their beauty and excellent performance already at Costa Farms’ Season Premier. I’m excited to travel to Spring Trials and that spring is coming, and I’m ready to dig in and get gardening. I’m guessing many of you feel the same way. And it’s likely that consumers do, too. Nearly a year ago, upon returning from California Spring Trials, I lamented the absence of ideas translated from CAST to retail. The beautiful displays, the breathtaking combinations, the clever marketing — somehow, all of that effort and enthusiasm focused on business-to-business promotion is not being funneled effectively to the consumer. As an industry, we are not good at working together to market our products in a clear, […]

Read More
Sakata Seed America President David Armstrong

March 30, 2016

Sakata Signs Agreement With Indonesian Government To Co…

This week, Sakata Seed Corp. announced internationally that it has signed an agreement with the Republic of Indonesia to cooperate in the further development and production of its line of SunPatiens interspecific hybrid impatiens, based on the principles of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Under an agreement based on the CBD, Sakata Seed has worked with the Indonesian government since the early 2000s to identify the origin of the native germplasm collected in Indonesia to develop SunPatiens, and the two parties have agreed on how the indigenous genetic resources will be used for the further development of SunPatiens. There are currently only a few cases in the world of such an agreement, based on the CBD in the category of horticultural plants, made between a resource-rich country and a commercial seed company. Greenhouse Grower contacted Sakata Seed CEO David Armstrong to provide context about this agreement, what it means […]

Read More
One symptom of Botrytis blight is gray, fuzzy sporulation on foliage and flowers, similar to that shown on the flower of this hibiscus

March 25, 2016

American Floral Endowment Will Fund Research Projects A…

AFE’s primary research funding priorities cover everything from pest control to production management. Funding applications are due June 1.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]