December 11, 2012

The State Of The Greenhouse Grower In 2013

The world of the greenhouse ornamentals producer has changed dramatically since 1983, when Greenhouse Grower magazine published its first issue. Thirty years ago, small growers served independent garden centers with seed-based production of bedding plants. They sold everything they could grow at nice margins and spent much of their time focused on the plants. Today, mega growers serve the big boxes with vegetative production of broad crop mixes. Business plans call for zero shrink and razor-thin margins. And the grower spends as much time on the numbers as on the plants. These operations are still serving their original purpose: growing ornamentals for U.S. gardening consumers. But the business is now fundamentally different. So, for this State of the Industry issue, we’re asking the question: Who exactly is the American greenhouse grower in 2013? Changing Makeup Of The Market Much has been made of grower consolidation in recent years. For reasons […]

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December 5, 2012

What Obama’s Re-Election Means To Greenhouse Operations

They say elections have consequences, and this year’s has especially big consequences for the greenhouse and nursery industry. Of course, President Obama won both the Electoral College and popular vote, capturing pretty much all the states that were considered up for grabs. In the U.S. Senate, Democrats had to defend twice as many seats as Republicans, and many of them were in the conservative Midwest and Plains states. But Republicans’ high hopes of gaining control of the upper chamber were dashed. Democrats are expected to have a net gain of two seats, presuming that independent candidate Angus King of Maine caucuses with the majority. Republicans held the House. They lost about seven seats but maintain a comfortable margin of control. Download A Free Copy Of The 2013 State Of The Industry Whitepaper  Despite a record $6 billion spent on political advertising, little has changed. Americans seem inclined by instinct toward […]

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December 3, 2012

The Economy In 2013

Why does the economy feel so fragile even though it continues to be in the midst of a slow but steady expansion? It’s because we did not get the same bounce in growth that has typically followed previous recessions. After the downturn of the mid-1970s and early-1980s, the economy grew at close to 6 percent for two years — erasing all of the economic losses that had occurred. That surge never happened this time; we simply moved into a snail-paced, private sector expansion that has left us wanting more. Despite Trouble Abroad, U.S. Reaches Tipping Point Economic weakness in the euro zone is also not helping the U.S. economy. Problems in Europe have caused the value of the dollar to rise slightly, and weak European demand for imports is having a negative effect on the global economy. The fundamentals of our economy, however, have been trending more favorably in recent […]

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November 30, 2012

The National Green Centre Receives USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant

The National Green Centre has received a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant worth $15,636 to provide education on the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) to plant growers looking to meet SITES requirements and provide plants for SITES-certified projects. Missouri growers will be able to attend this portion of the education free of charge thanks to the funds provided by the grant. The SITES education will kick off with a panel discussion looking at the Business Impact of SITES for Missouri growers. The following eight sessions will address each of the SITES requirements within the Support Sustainable Practices in Plant Production section, including: Use sustainable soil amendments Reduce runoff from irrigation Reduce greenhouse gas emissions Reduce energy consumption Use integrated pest management Reduce use of potable water or other natural surface or subsurface water resources Reduce waste Recycle organic matter According to the SITES website, “The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) is an […]

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November 26, 2012

Small Businesses Anticipate Better Holiday Season In 2012

As the holiday shopping season heats up, 43 percent of small businesses are more optimistic about holiday sales in 2012 than last year, according to a survey of more than a 1,000 small business owners cited in an article on the Fox Business website. The National Retail Federation also predicts a 4.1 percent increase in holiday sales over 2011, which supports the retailers’ sunny outlook. While 51 percent of retailers expect a majority of in-store purchases, 41 percent anticipate selling more merchandise online than in the store. There is also some debate over which age demographic will spend the most money. Fifty-three percent consider millennials the bigger spenders, but approximately one-third contend Baby Boomers will break the bank this holiday season. Do Predictions Mesh With Reality? Holiday sales — those in November and December — are expected to total $586.1 billion, according to a statement released by the National Retail […]

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November 19, 2012

Green Industry Workers Are U.K.’s Happiest

Gardeners and florists are the happiest workers in the U.K. according to research from City & Guilds published in the Daily Mail. Nine out of ten (87 percent) of horticulturists say they are happy with their jobs, and 80 percent attributed that happiness to “manage their own workload and have autonomy over their schedule and daily tasks.” Eighty-two percent of respondents credited their bliss to having a job that allowed employees to use and improve their skills daily. Other happy workers included hairdressers and plumbers, while bankers (44 percent are happy), information technology and data processors (48 percent are happy) and human resources personnel (54 percent are happy) were the least happy in their occupations. To assess workers’ job happiness, the study interviewed 2,200 workers in all occupations.

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November 14, 2012

Griffin Greenhouse Supplies Acquires Syngenta Horticultural Services Distribution Business

Syngenta and Griffin Greenhouse Supplies (“Griffin”) announced today that Griffin has acquired Syngenta Horticultural Services (“SHS”). Headquartered in Lisle, Ill., SHS is a leading distributor and broker of seeds, cuttings and young plants to growers across the United States. Headquartered in Tewksbury, Mass., Griffin is a leading provider of greenhouse and nursery supplies in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. Under terms of the agreement, Griffin acquired the SHS business, including distribution and brokerage capabilities and assets affiliated with the Lisle, Ill., headquarters and Downers Grove, Ill., facility. Employees housed at both sites transferred to Griffin at closing. In addition, Griffin signed a long-term agreement to distribute and broker Syngenta Flowers genetics throughout the United States. With this agreement in place, Syngenta Flowers and Griffin will continue to work closely together to address the horticultural needs of greenhouse and nursery growers. “We’re very excited that SHS will be able to join […]

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October 30, 2012

Ellison Greenhouses Owner Talks About Transition To Color Star

A 43-year-old business is closing its doors, but for the owner, it’s a new beginning. Ellison’s Greenhouses of Brenham, Texas, which grew from a commercial tomato operation into one of the best-known horticultural operations in the state, will be turning its greenhouses over to Color Star Growers beginning Jan. 1, 2013. P.J. Ellison Kalil, owner of Ellison’s, says that while the decision was difficult, she sees a solid silver lining. “It’s a huge emotional thing,” she says. “It’s like a death. I can’t tell you how many tears I’ve cried and how many more I will cry. But the good news is, by leasing the greenhouse to Color Star, we’re helping their operation to continue to be successful. I feel really good about that because they are very good people.” Ellison Kalil says once she decided it was time to move on, working with Color Star was a natural choice. […]

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October 24, 2012

Garden Retail 2012: Observations In Baltimore

The weather was perfect for shopping and gardening in Baltimore on May 12 and 13, 2012, with temperatures in the 60s during the mornings and hitting in the low 80s by afternoon with very low humidity. Shoppers were out in full force and the store traffic was really heavy. Finally, after several cold, wet weekends, the Baltimore market has opened and what timing: Mother’s Day weekend. Home Depot These garden centers are clearly some of the best, if not the best, in the country for Home Depot. There are few competitive stores in the same league. Here is what we observed that makes these stores so outstanding. The number-one reason is the quality of people in this vendor’s merchandising team. I have never seen merchandisers that are seemingly as consumed by their jobs and who work so hard to keep the displays organized, watered and very shoppable We had the […]

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October 24, 2012

Garden Retail 2012: Observations in Philadelphia

The weather was cool and overcast in Philadephia on May 5 and 6, 2012, with temperatures ranging from the mid-50s in the mornings and the mid-to-high 60s during the day, with no sun until late afternoon on Sunday. Overall it was a disappointing weekend with consumer traffic far below norm for a May weekend. It seems like the consumers in the Northeast will not garden until they see a warm sunny day. Home Depot You will not see any better merchandising at store level than the Bell Nursery team of highly trained professionals that are dedicated to serving Home Depot and the consumers. This group is so interested they never miss a chance to interact with a consumer. The management structure of the merchandising group allows for a lot of support and allows for the field management people to make decisions on replenishment The other big thing that Bell does […]

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October 20, 2012

Garden Retail 2012: Observations From 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 […]

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