August 25, 2009

How’s Home Depot Doing?

The Home Depot reported fiscal second quarter profits fell 7.2 percent, spurred by high unemployment rates and a still-difficult housing market. The drop in profits, however, was less than expected, buoying the company and prompting share prices to rise. Sales in garden products performed better than average. According to a New York Times story, Home Depot reports transactions in the United States increased year-over-year for the first time in five years and same-store sales rates improved in Florida and California. Despite the bright spot in same-store improvement, CEO Frank Blake says he does not expect positive same-store sales to register until the second half of 2010. “Concerns about the housing market, rising unemployment and softness in the overall economy continue to pressure consumers,” Blake says. “Our business performed well in a down market, we captured market share and drove operating productivity. The combination made for a solid quarter relative to […]

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August 17, 2009

OFA Forms Search Committee For CEO

OFA has formed a search committee to make a recommendation on the organization’s next CEO. Those on the committee include:  – Bobby Barnitz, Bob’s Market & Greenhouse, Mason, W.Va.–Chris Bernacchi, Ball Horticultural Company, Marysville, Ohio–Mark Foertmeyer, Foertmeyer & Sons Greenhouse, Delaware, Ohio–Lisa Graf, Graf Growers, Akron, Ohio–Bob Jones, The Chef’s Garden, Huron, Ohio–Ralph Ostendorf, Ostendorf Greenhouses, Cincinnati, Ohio; and–Kelly Staats, Eason Horticultural Resources; Ft. Wright, Ky. OFA is receiving executive search and transition management services from Association Strategies Inc. (ASI) based in Alexandria, Va. Those interested in the position should contact Jim Zaniello at Association Strategies Inc. at 703-683-0580 or [email protected]

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July 30, 2009

Home Depot Rules As Top E-Commerce Site

For the month of June, Home Depot ranked No. 1 among home and garden e-commerce sites with 20 million unique visitors. This count is up 34 percent from June 2008. Unique visitors count each shopper once, no matter how many times they visit the site. This jump in traffic is remarkably higher than usual, especially compared to previous months: May’s traffic was flat and April only grew by 1 percent compared to 2008’s results, reports Internet Retailer. Here are the top seven online home and garden shopping sites in June (unique visitors and growth from prior year shown respectively): -Home Depot, 20 million, 34 percent -Lowe’s, 12.03 million, 8 percent -The Home Shopping Network, 5.80 million, 45 percent -eBay Home, 4.16 million, -59 percent -Ikea, 2.46 million, 4 percent -Pottery Barn, 1.50 million, -13 percent -Jo-Ann.com, 1.42 million, -13 percent For more on these highly trafficked sites, click here.

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July 29, 2009

Online Only: Industry Pulse Results

Part I: Reaction To Spring Which of the following best describes your business? Grower-retailer: 49.0% (76 respondents) Wholesale grower: 47.1% (73) Young plant grower: 3.9% (6) Where are you located? New York: 7.6% (14) Florida: 7.1% (13) Pennsylvania: 6.5% (12) California: 5.4% (10) Ohio: 3.3% (6) Not in the United States: 5.4% (10) Other states: 64.7% (119) How did your Spring 2009 sales compare to your expectations for the season? Sales exceeded expectations by more than 10 percent: 15.6% (25) Sales exceeded expectations between 5 and 10 percent: 15.6% (25) Sales exceeded expectations by less than 5 percent: 6.9% (11) Sales met my expectations: 27.5% (44) Sales fell short of expectations by less than 5 percent: 6.9% (11) Sales fell short of expectations between 5 and 10 percent: 13.8% (22) Sales fell short of expectations by more than 10 percent: 13.8% (22) How did your Spring 2009 sales compare to […]

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July 29, 2009

Only Online: Spring Opportunities Had & Missed

What did growers think about Spring 2009? Here are some insights, including some thoughts about whether or not our industry is recession proof: – “While I believe the recession is the number one problem for this year, the constant rain is probably going to turn buyers off for next year.” – “As long as growers continue to produce quality greenhouse crops at reasonable prices, customers will continue to purchase plants for their homes regardless of economic conditions.” – “I believe we used to be recession proof, but not today. So much of our business is dependent upon the sale of large, specialty items and people did not buy them as much this spring.” – “I think in this business, we are not recession proof and in order to get through the tough times, we must think smart and be cautious. At the same time we must be very attentive to every customer’s needs. […]

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July 27, 2009

ANLA Board Has New Leadership

The American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) elected Bob Lyons of Sunleaf Nursery (Ohio) president-elect of the ANLA board of directors and Tom Demaline of Willoway Nurseries (Ohio) to serve on ANLA’s board of directors. Lyons founded Sunleaf Nursery in 1982, in partnership with his wife, Carol. Sunleaf is a field grower of deciduous, shade and flowering trees. Lyons joined the ANLA board of directors in 2005, having previously served as president of ANLA’s grower division and as chairman of the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) executive committee. Demaline, meanwhile, grew up working in his family’s business, Willoway Nurseries, and joined the company fulltime in 1975 after graduating from high school in Avon, Ohio. Demaline has served as president of the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association (ONLA) and of HRI. He has served ANLA as both a state senator and as a member of ANLA’s Legislative Policy Committee over the past […]

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July 27, 2009

Courtright Assumes ANLA Presidency

Tom Courtright, president of Orchard Nursery and Florist (Calif.), assumed the presidency of the American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) at its recent annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Courtright has served as president of the Central Chapter of the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers (CANGC) several times since 1975, and as president of the state association in 1993. He was on the board of Master Nursery Garden Centers for 25 years, was president of the ANLA retail division board in 1993, and served on the board of the Horticultural Research Institute from 2002-2004, just prior to joining the ANLA board of directors. “ANLA has been there for us in the good times and is now there for us in the tough times,” Courtright says. “I look forward to the coming year of working with our dedicated leaders and ANLA’s members across the country. Two heads are better than […]

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July 27, 2009

Health Care Reform’s Effect On You

The Society of American Florists (SAF) is strongly encouraging growers to write their representatives in the U.S. House asking them to oppose health care reform as it currently sits in Congress. SAF wrote the following about legislation in its Washington Week In Review newsletter July 24: On the House side, a proposal called America’s Affordable Health Choices Act (HR 3200) was approved by the Ways and Means Committee and the Education and Labor Committee. It’s still being debated by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Moderate Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, including Blue Dog Democrats and New Democrat Coalition Members, sent a letter to Democratic Representative Henry Waxman listing 10 changes they need to see in the bill before they can vote “yes.” Representative Mike Ross, a Blue Dog Democrat from Arkansas who chairs the health care task force, is pushing for more cost control, a greater […]

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July 27, 2009

Hobbs Inducted Into ANLA Hall Of Fame

The American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) recently inducted Gordon Hobbs, former president and owner of C.M. Hobbs and Sons, into its Hall of Fame. Hobbs has served as president of ANLA and its grower division, the Wholesale Nursery Growers of America (WNGA). He has served as president of both the Indianapolis Landscape Association and the Indiana Association of Nurserymen, which presented him with its Award of Merit in 2007. Hobbs helped found the American Nursery Credit Association and served as secretary-treasurer for 17 years. Established in 1966, the ANLA Hall of Fame Award is given to an outstanding nursery and landscape industry professional whose business and community accomplishments serve as an example for others in the industry.

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June 17, 2009

BenchPress Profile: Susan Stieve

How does the Ornamental Plant Germplasm Center help growers? Currently we have more than 3,100 accessions in our collection that are distributed free of charge to researchers around the world. We have sent our plant material, in the form of seeds or cuttings, to floriculture breeders in the United States and elsewhere. How many research requests do you get a day? How many non-research requests do you get from home gardeners? Since we began distributions in 2002 we have distributed almost 2,500 items. Because we do conserve so many beautiful plants here we do receive requests from home gardeners. As it states on the USDA National Plant Germplasm System website, germplasm is available in small quantities for research purposes. If we are unsure of the intended use of the material we will follow up with the requester and help them find alternative sources if it is for home gardening use. […]

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June 15, 2009

Ones To Watch: Matthew Swaim

Matthew Swaim, a 20-year-old horticulture and plant biology major at North Carolina State University, was afforded a monumental opportunity when Syngenta selected him as its Grower of Tomorrow winner. Now, he’s doing research at Conrad Fafard, Inc. as part of his internship and visiting growing operations like Metrolina Greenhouses. Swaim will also be interning at Syngenta Professional Products and Syngenta Flowers. “This experience totally surpasses all my expectations of an internship,” says Swaim, a plant biology and horticulture double major who’s particularly interested in a career driven by horticulture research. “I’ve looked two years for an experience like this. This is by far the best opportunity.” Swaim was selected as Syngenta’s Grower of Tomorrow based on his application, an essay he submitted and a referral letter from his academic advisor. All applicants of the program must have at least a 3.0 GPA and be a junior or senior at one of […]

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June 2, 2009

Hyslip: Spring Was Mostly Positive

Craig Hyslip, chief operating officer of Griffin Greenhouse Supplies, shares his thoughts on live goods and the spring season, what he expects this fall and where growers should go from here. What kind of feedback are you hearing about the market? “Overall, we are hearing very good things. Going into spring, we had a lot of growers who had cut back on production 15 to 20 percent. I haven’t heard differently since then. “The vast majority of feedback is very, very positive from the commercial side to the retailer. The weather for the most part has been good. We’ve seen one good day each week or a pair of good days, and that’s been very conducive for sales. “I’m hearing a little bit that growers are wishing they had done a little bit more. Mother Nature really dictates the season.” What adjustments do you expect growers to make for the […]

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