Garden Retail 2012: Observations From Columbus, Ohio

Home Depot #3867, Columbus, Ohio

The weather was ideal May 25-26, 2012, with temperatures in the 80s, moderate humidity and sunshine – perfect for gardening. The stores were very busy especially on Saturday, May 26, with consumers anxious to start their spring planting. The edible displays were particularly busy as interest in that category continues to grow – although it is somewhat surprising that Bonnie Plants seemed to be the only real organized brand with great distribution. It supplied all three national retailers with seemingly no challengers.

Home Depot

As we observed in Baltimore and Philadelphia, Home Depot has spectacular stores offering great products and even better merchandising, both supplied by Bell Nursery. These stores all had annuals and perennials with far more color than the competition leading back to the old basic axiom that “color sells.”

Color really sells when you combine the WOW factor with great merchandising executed by passionate, well-trained and highly motivated employees. Although Bell Nursery stocks Home Depot with above-average product quality, their real competitive advantage is their frontline personnel. Many of their competitors just don’t understand that being a good grower is only a ticket to be in the game and no longer a sole solution for success.

It’s a whole lot easier to improve product quality than it is to build a world-class merchandising group that we have seen in four different Bell markets this season and many more over the past six years. Bell obviously makes considerable investments in selection and training of this world class merchandising group.

Lowe’s

In this market, Lowe’s competes more on the product side than on merchandising with nice clean stores stocked with good merchandise. They have a number of interesting marketing programs and a wide selection of patio pots in some very interesting containers.

•    Ready Refill seems to a be a very sought-after item with each store stocking them in highly visible displays.
•    8-inch premium annuals, retail $7.98, were colorful and eye catching
•    Large selection of patio pots in price points from $10.98 to $49.98
•    Cell pack annuals in various sizes: 606, 306, 209
•    Large numbers of flowering tropicals featuring large displays of Rio Dipladenia bred by Syngenta in a quart SKU, retail $4.98, and a 10-inch hanging basket, retail $19.98. Both sizes supplied by Fernlea Flowers.

Walmart

Walmart had a large focus on the Better Homes & Gardens program with prominent displays in most stores. Overall, these stores have better garden centers than we visited in the East but not nearly as good as the stores in Atlanta and Charlotte, which are arguably the best in the country.
Overall product quality was above average but there were some issues with items like pansies and violas that were way past prime.

Sam’s Club

Most garden items were displayed in the parking lots using outdoor corrals. Each store had fairly large inventories and a surprising number of SKUs for a warehouse club. They offered some really nice patio pots and hanging baskets:

•    14-inch square patio $21.98
•    12-inch square patio combo $15.98
•    12-inch square Gerberas $15.98 (great value)
•    12-inch basket $15.98, 10-inch Mandevilla $15.98
•    10-inch Patio Elatior Begonias
•    10-inch Hibiscus Tree $18.98
•    10-inch basket basic $5.98
•    Flat 606s $9.98

Costco

In this market, Costco carried the best hanging baskets we have seen this year in any warehouse club. They offered 14-inch pulp fiber baskets for $18.49, clearly the best value of the season. Their vendor used all Kwik Kombos from Syngenta and every recipe flowered together, making for very compelling displays. Consumers were mobbing the displays and buying these great combo baskets produced by Thorsen’s Greenhouses of Delaware, Ohio:

•    14-inch combo fiber baskets $18.49
•    16-inch patio combo $29.99
•    12-inch patio combo $17.99
•    Eight 4-inch Geraniums $19.99
•    12-inch patio vegetable trellis $13.97

Meijer

We visited two Meijers locations. This was a really well-merchandised garden center with above-average product quality provided by Masterpiece Floral. It had a large selection in an array of price points with all displays showing clear, easy-to-understand price signs. Meijer sells a lot of products in the Dillen market basket that holds six 4-inch pots. They offer hybrid geraniums, New Guinea impatiens and double impatiens in this convenient multiple sale format.

Summary

In the Columbus market, it is Bell Nursery and Home Depot who are the clear leaders, offering high-quality products coupled with amazing merchandising that create a great shopping experience for the consumers. A big part of their success is the quality and passion of their people who are highly motivated and trained.

Columbus is a very interesting market with all three national retailers offering above-average garden centers. Having Meijer with standout garden centers as well, the competition is very keen.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

More From State of the Industry...
PP&L CAST 2015 intros

April 22, 2015

6 Breeding Companies Serve Up New Varieties At Pacific Plug & Liner

Pacific Plug & Liner’s theme this year, Labyrinth, a conservatory of the world’s most captivating plants, was perfectly topped off (pun intended) with fascinators for the women and newsboy caps for the men. The PP&L team dressed their part to act out the gothic “conservatory of the world’s most captivating plants.” Truly, the displays looked like they practically popped out of a catalog, and the costumes were a nice touch. Retailers take heed, the fully merchandised displays at Pacific Plug & Liner are worthy of emulating. We’ll let the pictures tell the story of all the fabulous variety introductions presented at  Pacific Plug & Liner’s 2015 California Spring Trials, where Cultivaris, Cohen Nurseries, Histil Nurseries, Jaldety Nurseries, Southern Living/Sunset Collection and Pacific Plug & Liner all highlighted their 2016 introductions.  

Read More
Speedling 2015 CAST intros

April 22, 2015

Speedling Inc. Presents New Varieties From ABZ Seeds, Hem Genetics, Thompson & Morgan, Vista Farms & PSI

You name it, we saw it at Speedling's California Spring Trials location in San Juan Bautista, where five companies showed off their new introductions for 2016.

Read More
PittMoss on Shark Tank

April 22, 2015

PittMoss Wins On Shark Tank

Mont Handley, president and CEO of PittMoss, appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank on April 17 to try to get the “sharks” to invest in his peat moss alternative. Three investors from the TV show contributed $600,000 to PittMoss for a 35 percent stake in the company. Check out this clip from ABC’s website in which Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec discuss getting on board with the product. PittMoss is an alternative to sphagnum peat moss, made up of a mix of proprietary additives and recycled paper rescued from landfill space. Handley founded the Pittsburgh-based company in 1994. What started as a small experiment grew into a full-fledged business with the help of funding provided by an EPA SBIR grant and Pittsburgh’s Idea Foundry. Today, PittMoss is available to commercial greenhouses and nurseries from Michigan to Maine to North Carolina, with plans to grow. To learn more, visit PittMoss’ website, or check it […]

Read More
Latest Stories
HRI logo

April 8, 2015

Horticultural Research Institute Accepting Scholarship …

The Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) is offering seven scholarships for the 2015-2016 school year, totaling $20,000. Applications will be accepted through May 31.

Read More
protecting bees and pollinators video

March 31, 2015

New Video On Protecting Bees And Pollinators Educates H…

A new educational video that provides information on the horticultural industry’s essential role in bee and pollinator stewardship is one result of industry collaboration by the Horticultural Research Institute, AmericanHort, Society of American Florists and the American Floral Endowment. “Protecting Bees & Pollinators: What Horticulture Needs to Know,” narrates the current state of bee and pollinator health, provides information on factors that impact pollinators and the environment and underscores the beneficial role horticulture plays in providing healthy pollinator ecosystems.

Read More

March 25, 2015

NASS Reports U.S. Honey Production Was Up By 19 Percent…

Honey production in 2014 from producers with five or more colonies totaled 178 million pounds, up 19 percent from 2013, according to a March 20 report from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Read More
cultivate'15 logo

March 4, 2015

Cultivate’15: AmericanHort Announces What’s…

In an industry that has seen major changes occurring at a fast pace, many industry professionals leave Cultivate with their heads spinning and no clear idea of how to regroup and strategize. Cultivate’15 is “Changing the Game.” As this year’s focus, Changing the Game will call your attention to the ways in which our industry has changed and your opportunities to compete successfully.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

February 2, 2015

Download Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 State Of The In…

The Greenhouse Grower 2015 State Of The Industry Whitepaper includes all the results of the survey, including comparisons on 2014 sales to past years, details on how 2015 production volume and prices will compare to 2014, crops that growers will increase and decrease production on, where growers stand on using neonicotinoids on crops, how many growers will pursue growing medical marijuana and more.

Read More

January 27, 2015

Benchmarks: Let’s Change Our Story

It's a new year. Time for our industry to change how consumers perceive plants by creating a new reality where plants are valued for more than their physical beauty.

Read More

January 21, 2015

AFE Wins Platinum MarCom Award For “Murder, Sex a…

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) took home its fourth award for the animated awareness video "Murder, Sex and Greed." The organization also recently announced that there are two new members on its board of trustees.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

January 19, 2015

2015 State Of The Industry: Current Green Industry Tren…

Demand for green industry products and services is forecasted to increase in coming years as the housing market rebounds.

Read More
DNA-logo

January 14, 2015

Terra Nigra Joins DNA Green Group

DNA Green Group will be expanding its range of cut flowers by incorporating Terra Nigra, a company specializing in breeding and propagation of gerberas and roses.

Read More

January 14, 2015

Florensis Receives Horticultural Entrepreneur Award

During the January 7, 2015 award ceremony in the Keukenhof, in Lisse, Netherlands, Florensis received the Horticultural Entrepreneur Award. Florensis was one of four nominated companies, which also included Arcadia BV, Artemis and Martens Asperges.

Read More
AmericanHort

January 9, 2015

AmericanHort Celebrates Its First Birthday

AmericanHort was formally launched one year ago on January 1, 2014, and the association is celebrating numerous successes of the first year.

Read More
Carol Miller

January 7, 2015

We’re All In This Together

Growers and retailers have a common goal — to serve customers better. In this new column, Greenhouse Grower will take a look at ways growers and retailers can work together to take advantage of profit opportunities and better meet customer needs.

Read More

January 7, 2015

Industry Speaks Out Against “Waters Of The U.S.” Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule change to the Clean Water Act, known as “waters of the U.S.,” has the potential to disrupt normal business practices for growers across the country.

Read More

January 7, 2015

Students Tackle Real-Life Challenges At National FFA Fl…

Top prize winners put skills learned in the classroom to the test at the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Floriculture Career Development Event.

Read More
Lesley Judd

January 7, 2015

2014 Meister Scholarship Awarded To Ph.D Student

The Richard T. Meister Scholarship was awarded to Lesley Judd, a graduate student with a passion for horticulture and a desire to pass her knowledge along through teaching.

Read More

January 6, 2015

39th Annual Today’s Horticulture Symposium Will Be Febr…

The Professional Gardener Alumni Association (PGAA) will hold the 39th Annual Today’s Horticulture Symposium program will be on February 6, 2015 from 8 a.m. or 4 p.m. in the Ballroom at Longwood Gardens, and will feature an array of engaging speakers.

Read More
Shawn McBurney

January 6, 2015

Society Of American Florists Hires New Lobbyist

Shawn McBurney joined the Society of American Florists' (SAF) staff starting January 5 as the new senior director of government relations.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

January 5, 2015

Growers Are Optimistic For A Strong Year In 2015

Greenhouse Grower’s State Of The Industry survey reveals that growers are being cautious about the inputs they use, and they’re worried about input costs and regulation, but enthusiastic about the rebounding economy.

Read More