December 28, 2009

State Of The Industry: Leaders Sound Off

So many questions, so many different answers. Determining whether the state of our industry is good, bad or something else is a mighty challenge when you take into account the fact that growers, retailers and others have vastly different opinions on the issues pressing us most. Business may be booming for some yet hard to come by for others, and a challenge to one grower may be the least of another’s worries. To give you an idea where people in the industry stand, we approached growers and others with five questions about the state of greenhouse floriculture in 2010. Most of those we approached expressed concerns about the state of things. But here’s what they said − in their own words. How would you describe the state of the greenhouse floriculture industry today?   Fran HopkinsPresident, Under A Foot Plant CompanyIn complete disarray and total pandemonium. I must say this […]

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December 28, 2009

State Of The Industry: Overview

Last year was hardly a cakewalk for growers. In fact, some will argue it was the most challenging they’ve ever faced. The weather was uncooperative in certain regions, competition became a bigger challenge for more growers, and labor, energy and input costs didn’t provide many breaks.  Download: The Complete Greenhouse Grower State Of The Industry Report You’ve read the highlights and analysis, but there’s much more information available from the 2010 Greenhouse Grower State Of The Industry survey. Click here for our 12-page State of the Industry white paper and find out in their own words what growers think are their opportunities and challenges, and the hottest trends for 2010.   No greenhouse operation is immune to these challenges − although some face them with more ease than others − as we saw El Modeno Gardens, a Top 100 Grower, close its doors along with other operations in 2009. Times […]

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December 28, 2009

Brookwood Community and We Grow Dreams Enrich Lives Of Employees

  Most garden centers have goals such as increased profit, retailing quality plants and even enhancing the lives of customers by providing beautiful plants. The Brookwood Community in Brookshire, Texas, and We Grow Dreams in West Chicago, Ill., are two garden centers with those same goals, but they share an additional goal that differentiates them from the average garden center. They strive, above all, to enhance the quality of life of disabled adults by providing meaningful job opportunities. The Brookwood Community and We Grow Dreams share many commonalities. They were both founded by parents of disabled individuals who were faced with few opportunities for a work life after they passed school age. They are both not-for-profit organizations, raising operational funds largely from plant sales and donations and neither accepts government subsidies. The Brookwood Community Founded in 1985, the 475-acre Brookwood Community is a God-centered educational, residential and entrepreneurial community for […]

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December 22, 2009

Five Questions With … Denise Godfrey

Denise Godfrey of Olive Hill Greenhouses in Fallbrook, Calif., shares her take on the state of the industry this week. How would you describe the state of the greenhouse floriculture industry today? Like the rest of the economic sectors, we are suffering from decreased demand and we hope to maintain during this uncertainty by looking at old and new ideas and technology; by relying more on relationships and working together with fellow growers, suppliers and customers to better define and react to what is happening; to take advantage of opportunities; and to maintain a positive outlook in order to overcome adversity and persevere. Has our industry entered a new era or paradigm shift? Please explain why or why not. We no longer grow in a vacuum, growing and selling plants and the customer deciding their purchase on beauty and a fair price. The public is having more and more influence […]

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December 15, 2009

Four Questions With … John Bonner

As part of our State Of The Industry report, we asked industry leaders to answer questions about the state of all things greenhouse floriculture. John Bonner, general manager of Eagle Creek Wholesale in Mantua, Ohio, shares his take on the state of the industry this week. How would you describe the state of the greenhouse floriculture industry today? The industry is in flux and going through some serious changes. Has our industry entered a new era or paradigm shift? Please explain why or why not. Yes, the new paradigm is one of accountability for making sure not only our customer is successful, but even more importantly, the consumer. This mantra is rippling back through the supply channels. Creating value also seems to be the law of the land today. What are the greatest challenges growers are facing today? Our greatest challenges are creating programs and products that are relevant to […]

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December 4, 2009

Three Questions With … Art Van Wingerden

Art Van Wingerden, president of greenhouse operations at Metrolina Greenhouses in Huntersville, N.C., shares his take on the state of the industry this week. How would you describe the state of the greenhouse floriculture industry today? We think the state of the industry is good right now. Not good for everyone, but the overall state is, we think, good. Has our industry entered a new era or paradigm shift? Please explain why or why not. We have hit a shift. If you told growers a few years back they would be contract growing, they would have told you no way. The number of people who contract grow for others is increasing every year. We are currently at 25 percent of our sales is grown by others. Has there been a changing of the guard in industry leadership? Please explain your answer. Not sure about this one. Who says who is […]

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December 1, 2009

Five Questions With … Fran Hopkins

Fran Hopkins, president of Under a Foot Plant Co., shares her take on the state of the industry this week. How would you describe the state of the greenhouse floriculture industry today? In complete disarray and total pandemonium. I must say this is the most disturbing place I have ever been in as a grower, as an owner and as a marketer. Instead of a unified front, forging forward in this horrible economy, we are regressing into civil war–box store versus independent, generic versus brand, paper versus plastic. You name it, our industry has pushed itself into every corner it can with a fight or flight mentality. I used to love this industry, but going to meetings now is a dreadful undertaking. It’s vigilante time for many I think. Instead of pulling together and finding a common cause to whip this bad economy, my friends and colleagues are yelling at […]

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November 30, 2009

Industry Infection

Whether your political views are conservative, liberal or somewhere in between, we can likely agree Americans are as politically divided today as they’ve been at any point in our lifetimes. To me, the political division is OK. I should be able to think one way while you think another. We all have different backgrounds and needs anyway, and what’s viewed as an economic, foreign policy or health care solution to one person may be a new set of problems to another. The real problem today is how we’re addressing our differences. Civil discourse and spirited debate are gone, and Americans are resorting to name calling, screaming at the top of their lungs and playing the blame game to get their points across. Look no further than a couple of cable news networks that often make news based on how the other network covers a big story. Mud slinging between networks […]

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November 19, 2009

Lowe’s Experiences Large Drop In Earnings

As of October 30, Lowe’s reported earnings of $344 million. This total is a 30 percent drop from the $488 million reported in earnings this time last year. Despite recent declines, analysts say good things are ahead for the home-improvement retailer. “We are seeing signs of improved performance in some of the hardest-hit housing markets, including California, Florida and areas of the desert Southwest,” says Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock. Analyst Michael Lasser of Barclays Capital, says while Lowe’s sales trends have been negative, the retailer “is seeing a recovery” as gains have been made over second-quarter results. Read on for more on Lowe’s third-quarter fiscal profits and the company’s overall performance.

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November 18, 2009

Standards Committee Calling For Applicants Again

Leonardo Academy is looking to fill five seats recently vacated on the National Sustainable Agriculture Standards Committee. The organization encourages growers interested in engaging in dialogue on sustainable agriculture to apply for the seats. The 58-member standards committee is in the process of developing a national standard for sustainable agriculture under the rules of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The committee consists of a skilled, diverse membership representing a broad range of perspectives from across all areas of agriculture, including commodity producers, specialty crop producers, agricultural product processors, food distributors, food retailers, environmental organizations, labor organizations and industry trade associations, as well as government representatives, academics, regulators and certifiers. In addition, the committee created six subcommittees it has been working with since July to develop the outline of the standard along with draft economic, environmental and social criteria for the committee to review at its next in-person meeting. The […]

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November 17, 2009

Anna Ball’s Top Trends In Horticulture

Ball Horticultural Co.’s CEO Anna Ball recently shared her insights with woody ornamental growers at the International Plant Propagators Society’s Eastern Region meeting in Cleveland. Here are her top trends: Sustainability Sustainability continues to top her list, and as a company, Ball has been the leader in creating a sustainable supply chain for growers. Sustainability is the fifth wave of innovation to transform our industry, the way plastics and soilless media revolutionized our industry in the 1960s, she says. Sustainability isn’t a project or program but a new way of doing business. “It’s not a goal on the strategic plan but part of everything you do,” Ball explains. “It’s a vehicle to drive innovation in all different areas. To create a sense of urgency, we need to act as though oil were $300 a barrel, water availability were cut in half and weather variations tripled.” She advises growers to embrace […]

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