December 17, 2008

State Of The Industry: A Search For Quality

In ornamental floriculture, we have learned how to manipulate plant growth through scientific research and have the ability to produce great plants at reasonable costs. We use short days, long days, supplement lighting, soil testing, water testing, tissue culture, biotechnology and plant growth regulators (PGRs), just to mention a few of the tools available to produce superior plants. The purpose of all the available tools for plant production is to provide products that will ensure the consumer can purchase plants they can be successful with and the plant manufacturers can control their cost of production. It seems as though in some cases, these tools are only used for the benefit of the manufacturer with little concern for the results the consumer might achieve. As an avid gardener, I have purchased plants that looked good on the retail shelf, planted them and then found out they would not grow. They didn’t […]

Read More

December 17, 2008

State Of The Industry: The Independent Garden Center In Unchartered Waters

Most years at about this time, if you were to ask a garden center owner about his or her expectations for the coming season, you could pretty much predict the response: “Well, as long as we have good weekend weather in the spring I think we’ll do all right.” But ask that same question as 2008 turns to 2009 and the answer isn’t quite so predictable. Because nothing in today’s economic conditions seems predictable. Some retailers are surprisingly optimistic about 2009. Others are holding their breath while keeping a close eye on Wall Street and a tight grip on their checkbooks. And everyone wants to know where their customers will be on that first warm, sunny Saturday afternoon in April. Prepare To Succeed–Or You Won’t For many garden centers, the script for spring may already be written. Success this season could have less to do with what’s going to happen, […]

Read More

December 16, 2008

2009 State Of The Industry Report

If you stop to think about the developments our industry has seen over the past couple of years, your head will spin. There’s been plenty of change lately but through it all, your goals as growers have remained the same: You still strive to produce quality plants in the most efficient manner possible, and all the while turning a nice profit. Lately, though, profitability has been more of an uncertainty than a guarantee. There’s no room for error in production anymore. And with the current state of the economy, while some growers see the opportunity to invest in their businesses and push ahead, others are nervously pulling back into wait-and-see mode. Despite all this turmoil, however, there’s reason to be upbeat. Greenhouse Grower’s 2009 State of the Industry report looks at all these challenges and focuses on actions growers can take in the new year. We went to a panel […]

Read More

December 16, 2008

Online Only: Complete Industry Pulse Survey Responses

We surveyed readers to create a profile of the typical greenhouse grower in 2009 and to gauge the current state of the market. Here are the complete findings from our 250 respondents. Which of the following best describes your business? Wholesale grower, finished plants    32%    Grower/retailer    32%    Wholesale grower, young plants (plugs & liners) 8% Wholesale grower, finished & young plants    16% Other 12% What percent of the plants you grow was sold through each of the following outlets in 2008? Mass merchandiser (e.g. Wal-Mart,Target)     11.63    Home improvement chains (e.g. The Home Depot, Lowe’s)11.54   Supermarkets         8.92    Independent garden centers    45.83       Own retail operation         57.43   Where is your business located? Northeastern U.S.20.8%   Midwestern U.S.    29.2%   Southeastern U.S. 20.0%   Southwestern U.S. 6.0%   Western U.S.    16.8%   International    7.2%   How long has your greenhouse operation been in business? 5 years or less    14.0%   6 to 10 years    8.6%   11 to 15 […]

Read More

December 16, 2008

State Of The Industry: Branding In Action

What does it take to be a king or queen of branding? Well, a great product for starters. Beyond that starting point, you’ll need a meaningful message and a forum to relay that message. A few plant brands are setting the bar high in our industry and designing the templates for getting messages across to consumers. Here’s a glance at what these brands have been up to lately, and what they’ve done to position themselves as leaders. Hort Couture The original idea for this brand was to create a program for independent retailers with high-fashion design and marketing, as well as high-quality plants. But Hort Couture has taken off in such a short time and is easily recognizable now because of a strategic marketing campaign that’s positioned the brand as the one that does plants with style. This year, Hort Couture hosted its first Dressed For Success display contest for […]

Read More

December 16, 2008

State Of The Industry: A Snapshot

         

Read More

December 16, 2008

State Of The Industry: Building A Collective Voice

We’ve all heard about the need for one unified message the industry could deliver to consumers, and several organizations are already on the right track promoting the benefits of the crops you grow. Here’s a breakdown of a few industry organizations and the specific messages they’ve been delivering lately. America In Bloom Last year, 30 U.S. communities participated in America In Bloom (AIB), the national grassroots community enhancement program that engages communities in a friendly beautification competition each year. Nearly 160 communities have been involved in the program since the organization was founded in 2001, and several cities have made their participation in America In Bloom a regular affair. Many times, in fact, communities enter the competition after a neighboring community has already done so. The benefits, AIB finds, are economical, environmental and in the human lifestyle. Next year’s annual symposium and awards gala will be held in Hershey, Pa. […]

Read More

December 16, 2008

State Of The Industry: Rising To Challenges

Kicking off the year, we’ve identified the top 10 challenges growers are facing and the opportunities and strategies that come with them. 1) Profitability–Financial standing and banking relationships will be critical this year as lines of credit tighten up. Growers who rely on lines of credit for cashflow in between seasons may be in a precarious position if they have deep debts. We anticipate brokers, distributors and vendors will be pressured to help keep grower customers afloat in between seasons with extended payment terms, which will also put the supply chain at risk financially. The growers who will be best prepared to weather rising input and overhead costs will have low debt and have made investments in technologies that will lower their labor and energy costs. Smaller growers who are highly specialized or seasonal with low overhead should be nimble enough to adjust, too. Precise, high-quality production will be key […]

Read More

December 15, 2008

BenchPress Profile: Kasey Cronquist

Since joining the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) in October 2007, Kasey Cronquist has spearheaded an aggressive public affairs program targeting lawmakers in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C. He led a historic grower-exporter relations tour to Colombia, allowing growers to experience the production dynamics of California’s largest overseas competitor. Be sure to check out Cronquist’s blog. What are a couple of projects or initiatives you’ve tackled for CCFC of which you’re particularly proud? “We organized that trip to Colombia and it was unique in that it hadn’t been done before by the commission. We decided this type of networking among industry people would be very important. We are a competitive industry, but there are also opportunities of cooperation and synergy that can be built. The trip to Colombia was an example of that. “We wound up going down there and learning about their growing techniques, and I think one of […]

Read More

December 15, 2008

Industry Leader Named As Replacement To Standards Committee

The three open seats on the committee developing a national standard for sustainable agriculture have been filled, and one representative from the floriculture industry is among the recent additions. Theodore Johnson of Freshblooms and its parent company, Delaware Valley Floral Group, was named to the committee. He replaces Tom Leckman of Sierra Flower Trading, who resigned from his post about a month ago. Other industry members include - Jim Barrett of the Environmental Horticulture Department at the University of Florida–Hans Brand of B&H Flowers–Will Healy of Ball Horticultural Co.–Juan Carlos Isaza-Cassolis of Asocolflores–Stan Pohmer of Pohmer Consulting Group–Jacques Wolbert of MPS-ECAS; and–Mark Yelanich of Metrolina Greenhouses For more information on the standards committee and its progress, visit www.leonardoacademy.org.

Read More

December 9, 2008

Ones To Watch: John Mossel

As part of Greenhouse Grower’s 25th anniversary, we’ve been profiling people we expect to shape the industry for the better over the next 25 years. Now in its 24th week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with John Mossel of Grand Flower Growers in Wayland, Mich. Age–31 His Job - John has been a co-owner of Grand Flower Growers since 2000. He operates the business with his brother, Todd. Teaming Up - Grand Flower Growers does most of its business with Home Depot. Behind the scenes, John helps manage many of Home Depot’s national corporate initiatives for tagging, containers and genetics. Quotable - “Surround yourself with people who are more talented than you.” Bob Sedlatschek, live goods senior merchant for Home Depot, gave that advice to John, who says it’s the best business tip he’s received. Opportunities & Challenges - In the short term, Grand Flower Growers is expanding […]

Read More

December 9, 2008

New Online Forum For Growers, Retailers & Landscapers

We’d like to invite you to join our new online community, Fresh Air Forum, from Greenhouse Grower, Today’s Garden Center and Ornamental Outlook magazines. In our new community, you can create a profile, upload an image and post messages to forums–ask or answer questions or have a chat with another member. We’ve also created groups for growers, retailers and landscapers. Join the groups that apply to you! Right now on Fresh Air Forum, members are discussing topics like poinsettia sales, the recession and how to reach the next generation. Jump into the forum right now, give your two cents and start your own discussions. Find it at www.FreshAirForum.com.

Read More