December 22, 2010

Bell Nursery On Consolidation And Big Customers

Bell Nursery has been out front driving plant sales and industry growth while raising the bar for all growers serving large retailers. The past few years we’ve seen a shakeout in grower power centers with just a dozen players emerging as mega growers and other growers playing supporting roles to serve the mass market. Here are thoughts from Bell’s leaders on: Grower Consolidation We’ll see fewer acquisitions and more strategic partnerships. “Gone are the days where you just go into a market and take over. The dust has settled,” Adam Stewart says. “Who can we partner with in that market? Is there a farm community that might be interested in the network grower model?” Big Grower As Big Customer  “We’ve become the sales and service provider for other growers, allowing increased focus on product quality,” Gary Mangum says. “This trend has been a net plus for our industry.” How firm […]

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December 20, 2010

Home Depot 2011 Insights From Its Investor And Analyst Conference

The Home Depot shared a look into 2011 plans and forecasting during its December Investor and Analyst Conference. Here’s a look at how the big box retailer is feeling about 2011 and how it plans to get to know its customers even better. 2011 Changes. The Home Depot projects a sales increase in the 2.0 to 2.5 percent range for 2011. The chain plans to add 10 new stores in 2011: seven in Mexico, two in the United States and one in Canada. Economic Indicators. GDP is the economic indicator that The Home Depot will look to in 2011 for forecasting sales, replacing the new square footage housing turnover number. “It used to be a good indicator, but today it’s not that relevant,” said Carol Tome, CFO and executive vice president. She said foreclosures and home prices aren’t good indicators either, as they’re not major drivers of sales. The current age […]

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December 14, 2010

Monrovia Update: CEO Confirms Rumors

Monrovia CEO Miles Rosedale confirmed this morning they have hired Mike Trebing, former Hines Nurseries senior vice president for sales and marketing, to explore the box store channel. “Yes, he’s absolutely on board,” Rosedale says. “We’re certainly looking at the channel, we’ve tried to make that clear.” He also says Monrovia is 40 percent of the way to its goal of $20 million in additional spring bookings to meet pressure from its banks. “We are certainly optimistic that we could (meet our goal). It’s quite a remarkable start,” he adds. “We’re looking for all avenues to keep our business going.” Will Monrovia supply plant material exclusively to independents if it meets its goal? “That would certainly be one of our choices,” Rosedale says, who adds that at this point there are no orders placed through the box store channel, contrary to rumors on the Internet. However, if Monrovia were to […]

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December 14, 2010

Industry Invited To Sustainable Ag Meeting

The National Sustainable Agriculture Standards Committee meeting has been scheduled for April 13-14, 2011 at the Gap headquarters in San Francisco. If you are interested in sustainable agriculture, Leonardo Academy invites you to participate in this process. There are opportunities for participation on all the subcommittees, as well as openings on the National Sustainable Agriculture Standards Committee in the Producer, User, and General Interest categories. The committees include individuals or representatives of entities that produce, process or use agricultural goods, such as farmers, product handlers, processors, distributors, manufacturers, food service companies, retailers and restaurants, as well as labor groups, consumer groups, agricultural development NGOs, academia and other interested parties that are interested in engaging in a national dialogue on sustainable agriculture. Leonardo Academy welcomes applications to participate on both the subcommittees and the Standards Committee on an ongoing basis.

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December 3, 2010

Monrovia Faces Bank Pressure To Book $20M By Jan. 31

Monrovia is asking retailers who buy from the live goods supplier to up their orders with them by 10 percent on a wide variety of reduced-price material to help the company reach a bank-mandated $20 million in bookings, CEO Miles Rosedale told Greenhouse Grower today. The request went out via letter this week, along with a letter of support from 75 independent retailers that are supporting the company. “We’re not asking them to cancel with other growers to place orders with us,” Rosedale says. “We hope we can all get through this tough period. We hope it will stimulate more sales from consumers by passing on the better pricing next spring.” Rosedale adds that the business has seen soft sales the past couple of years and produced more material than they’ve been selling for a couple of years now. Add on top of a difficult economy a bank that wants […]

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October 29, 2010

Twelve Seats Open On Standards Committee

Leonardo Academy is seeking applications for 12 vacant seats on the National Sustainable Agriculture Standards Committee within the Producer, User, and General Interest categories. Individuals or representatives of entities that produce, process or use agricultural goods, such as farmers, product handlers, processors, distributors, manufacturers, food service companies, retailers and restaurants, as well as labor groups, consumer groups, agricultural development NGOs, academia and other interested parties that are interested in engaging in a national dialogue on sustainable agriculture, are encouraged to apply. The 58-member committee is working to develop 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 and specialty crop producers; agricultural product processors and distributors; food retailers; environmental, labor, and development organizations; NGOs; trade associations; government representatives; academics; regulators and […]

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October 26, 2010

Sustainability Summit

The Greenhouse Grower Sustainability Summit is the event for horticulture professionals seeking ANSWERS, SOLUTIONS, and OPPORTUNITIES through sustainable growing and operations practices. In response to increased demand for answers and information, Greenhouse Grower magazine will host the inaugural Sustainability Summit. The three-day event will help horticulture professionals identify answers, solutions and opportunities through sustainable growing and operations practices. An expert speaker faculty will be on hand to deliver the latest information and answer questions on what sustainability means today and what will it mean in the future. Session Topics 1. What is Sustainability and Where is it going? Dr. Charles Hall, Texas A&M University. Dr. Hall will define sustainability as it pertains to horticulture and give us a look at how our businesses will be impacted in the near future. 2. Sustainability Consortium, Who What, Where and Why? Linda Brown, SCS. About 2 years ago, WalMart initiated the formation of […]

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October 22, 2010

Leonardo Academy Responds To Ag Withdrawal

Michael Arny, president of Leonardo Academy, responded earlier this week to the resignation of 11 ag representatives working on the standards committee developing a national standard for sustainable agriculture. Says Arny: “I am personally saddened by these resignations. The Leonardo Academy standards development staff and I have enjoyed working with these individuals and their participating organizations over the past two years. I will personally thank all of those who have resigned for their service on the Sustainable Agriculture Standards Committee and let them know that they are welcome to rejoin this process in the future.” The 11 individuals who resigned from the committee cite an inappropriate balance of membership on the standards committee. Leonardo Academy acknowledged those individuals’ assessment but disagrees with it. In an Oct. 21 press release, Leonardo Academy writes: “Leonardo Academy’s American National Standards Institute approved standard development process provides the balance across interest categories needed for […]

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September 23, 2010

Perspective: P. Allen Smith

Starting out with a regional following, in the last decade P. Allen Smith has emerged as one of the top celebrities promoting gardening and outdoor living. You can find him on television, in books and magazines, on the web and at a number of in-person events, where he has built quite a following as a popular, folksy speaker. We had a chance to chat with Smith this summer to pick his brain on what women want. GG: Why have you committed to a multimedia consumer engagement? PAS: What we’re about is trying to help consumers live a fuller life, help them with creating beautiful outdoor living spaces by providing inspirational lifestyle ideas. With that as the goal, we look to every possible media platform. We like to have the same message across all platforms. It helps with our penetration and is a more efficient business approach. We need to try […]

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September 17, 2010

NASA’s Space Greenhouse

Discovery News reports a team from Kennedy Space Center is tending to a greenhouse in Arizona, with the goal of getting the system ready for a test run aboard the International Space Station. The unit, built by Wisconsin-based Orbital Technologies, is designed to be lightweight, energy-efficient and low maintenance. Light for the plants comes from a combination of red, green and blue LEDs. The growing medium contains seeds and time-release fertilizer. Water wicks passively through the system. “It has held up very well,” NASA’s lead scientist Ray Wheeler says. “We didn’t have any failures.” Learn more about the project here.

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September 17, 2010

Southeast Color Connection Canceled For 2011

The board of directors of the Southeast Greenhouse Conference & Trade Show, the organizers of the Southeast Color Connection, have canceled the 2011 event scheduled for June 15-17 in Greenville, S.C. “After significant market analysis and discussion, we made the difficult decision to cancel the 2011 Southeast Color Connection,” says Jeff Mast, chair of the board of directors. “If you add the ‘great recession’ to the poor economic conditions and ongoing drought in the South, you will get a combination of factors that affected attendance and exhibit sales. Until the economy stabilizes, it is not feasible to hold the conference.” The event, which was established in 1993 as a regional educational conference and trade show, was originally called the Southeast Greenhouse Conference and was rebranded in 2009 to SGC Presents Southeast Color Connection to better reflect opportunities available to attendees and industry suppliers. Visit the Southeast Color Connection online at […]

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September 14, 2010

Study: Lawn & Garden Consumables To Increase Through 2014

A study conducted by the Freedonia Group on lawn and garden consumables predicts increased demand for products like fertilizers, pesticides, growing media, seeds, mulch and other related products to the tune of 3.4 percent per year through 2014. The group is forecasting the industry to be worth $9.2 billion by 2014. The study cited food safety concerns that are creating renewed interest in home gardening, as well as the potential for a rebounding housing market that will provide new landscaping opportunities. The report also talked about a graying baby boomer generation as a favorable demographic trend, because they will be “primed” for peak gardening years. Residences in more affluent areas with larger yards will also boost demand for lawn and garden products. The Freedonia Group says growth will be led by fertilizers and growing media, “both of which will post above average gains over the forecast period. Sales of organics […]

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