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...
Workers

July 23, 2016

5 Reasons To Invest In Employee Training

Training and developing your employees is critical to the future success of your organization and the horticulture industry at large. Here are five reasons why your employees are worth the effort.

Read More
BeeSmart

July 21, 2016

How You Can Get Involved In Research

The Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) supports scientific research and students for the advancement of the horticultural industry.

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
Latest Stories
Workers

July 23, 2016

5 Reasons To Invest In Employee Training

Training and developing your employees is critical to the future success of your organization and the horticulture industry at large. Here are five reasons why your employees are worth the effort.

Read More
BeeSmart

July 21, 2016

How You Can Get Involved In Research

The Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) supports scientific research and students for the advancement of the horticultural industry.

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

July 19, 2016

Do You Grow Young Plants? Only 4 Days Left To Take Our …

If your operation produces plugs or liners for wholesale growers, please take a few minutes to participate in Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Young Plant Grower Survey. We know you are very busy and we value your time and input. This survey should only take a few minutes. Greenhouse Grower’s Young Plant Grower Survey has played a key role in building our Top 20 Young Plant Growers list over the years. The information helps us zero in on trends taking shape and the challenges you’re facing as young plant growers. If you have any questions about this survey or you are not the right contact for this at your operation, please email me at [email protected], or please forward the survey link to the appropriate person. We would like to wrap up this survey by July 25, so please take it soon! Thank you in advance for your participation. We value your opinion! » […]

Read More

July 9, 2016

Market The Experience Of Gardening, Minus The Fuss

Greenhouse Grower editor Laura Drotleff says the industry should promote plants and gardening in bite-size chunks that help consumers build skills.

Read More
Grower Education

July 7, 2016

Two Industry Veterans Discuss How To Meet The Challenge…

Two industry players have a conversation on how we can deliver the level of grower education needed to address complex issues associated with production practices and pest management strategies.

Read More
Briscoe White, Growers Exchange

July 6, 2016

The Grower’s Exchange Unlocks The Secret to E-Commerce

In the Internet era, Briscoe and Kenan White knew they had to adapt or die and specialize to survive. Here’s how they took The Grower’s Exchange online.

Read More
Brie Arthur

July 6, 2016

5 Can’t-Miss Events To Watch For At Farwest 2016

Whether it’s classes on biocontrols and gardening trends, or networking opportunities in and around the trade show floor, there’s plenty happening at Farwest 2016 in Portland, OR, in August.

Read More
'Violets Pride' from Week's Roses Downton Abbey Garden Rose Collection

July 6, 2016

6 Key Insights From The Generations Of Flowers Study

Being local and offering expert recommendations are hidden opportunities in the floral business. This was one of six insights during a recent webinar analyzing the Generations of Flowers study from the Society of American Florists and the American Floral Endowment.

Read More
Joe Lamp'l

July 1, 2016

Gardening Personality Joe Lamp’l Will Be Keynote Speake…

Lamp’l, who hosts the PBS series “Growing a Greener World,” will discuss effective ways to build your business and keep your customers.

Read More
Cannabis states 2016

July 1, 2016

Adult Use Of Cannabis On The Ballot In 2016

25 states have legalized cannabis and public opinion is increasingly positive. Here’s where things may be headed as we move toward the fall elections.

Read More
Robert Conrad, Ball Seed Technology Research Manager

June 27, 2016

Ball Premier Lab Wins Medal Of Excellence Award For Its…

Over the past 30 years, the Ball Premier Lab has set the standard for high-quality seed in the industry, earning it Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Medal Of Excellence for Industry Achievement, for its dedication to advancing seed and helping growers improve their margins.

Read More
North Creek Nurseries lower trials

June 24, 2016

North Creek Nurseries Is A Finalist For 2016 Operation …

North Creek Nurseries in Landenberg, PA, is one of three finalists for Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Operation Of The Year award and winner of the Excellence In Sustainable Production award for 2016.

Read More
Vic Frey, Kurt Weiss Greenhouses Feature

June 23, 2016

Vic Frey Named A Finalist For 2016 Head Grower Of The Y…

Vic Frey, a finalist for the 2016 Head Grower of the Year and recipient of the 2016 Excellence In Production award, was always willing to trial and experiment with the latest technology. He loved the constant change in this industry, and turned every opportunity into a teaching moment.

Read More
Albert Grimm, Jefferys Greenhouses

June 19, 2016

Albert Grimm Named A Finalist For 2016 Head Grower Of T…

Grimm, winner of Greenhouse Grower's Excellence in Outreach and Leadership award, is always willing to listen, continuously learn, and improve. He is a role model and empowers his employees to strive for excellence.

Read More
Practical Software Grower Vertical

June 18, 2016

Practical Software Solutions Increases Accessibility, E…

Practical Software will demonstrate Grower Vertical, its customizable and scalable enterprise management system for the horticulture industry, at Cultivate’16 in July.

Read More
Ornamental kale field at Sunlet Nursery

June 17, 2016

Sunlet Nursery Named As Finalist For 2016 Operation Of …

Sunlet Nursery in Fallbrook, CA, is one of three finalists for Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Operation Of The Year award and winner of the Excellence In Community Leadership award for 2016.

Read More
The-Capitol

June 14, 2016

Fate Of H-2B Program A Hot Topic On Capitol Hill This W…

Following a Senate hearing on the economic impact of the H-2B Program, the House Appropriations Committee was scheduled to take up its own version of a funding bill this week.

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