November 24, 2008

ANLA Members Benefiting From GCA, OFA Alliances

The American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) has teamed up with Garden Centers of America (GCA) and OFA to provide its members an even broader scope of educational opportunities. ANLA members interested in next year’s holiday tour or Short Course can now register for those events at GCA and OFA member prices. GCA and OFA members, meanwhile, can now register for February’s ANLA Management Clinic at the ANLA member price. “With the significant challenges facing our industry, both organizations felt that it was important to work together to offer our members additional learning opportunities that could help them succeed,” says Greg Schaan, ANLA president. Further collaboration is expected in 2009 between representatives of ANLA, GCA and OFA. For more information on these new industry alliances, visit www.managementclinic.org, www.gardencentersofamerica.org or www.ofa.org.

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November 24, 2008

Ones To Watch: Jennifer Kurtz

As part of Greenhouse Grower’s 25th anniversary, we are profiling people we expect to shape the industry for the better over the next 25 years. Now in its 22nd week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with Jennifer Kurtz of Kurtz Farms in Cheshire, Conn. Age–36 Her Job - Jennifer is sales and marketing manager at Kurtz Farms based in Cheshire, Conn. She also invented Urban Gardener planters and created programs for it as a means to provide instant impact for consumers looking to decorate with plants. The Birth Of An Idea–As a wife, mother to a 3-year-old child and full-time worker, Jennifer didn’t have the time needed to tend to her vegetable and flower gardens like she preferred. It made sense, then, to develop a product that provided an “instant impact.” Thus, the Urban Gardener was created. “The biggest lesson I learned is that people were willing to […]

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November 19, 2008

Ones To Watch: Pamela Youngsman

As part of Greenhouse Grower’s 25th anniversary, we are profiling people we expect to shape the industry for the better over the next 25 years. Now in its 21st week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with Pamela Youngsman of Skagit Gardens in Mt. Vernon, Wash. Age - 39 Her Job–As sales manager, Pamela is responsible for overseeing sales and customer service, inventory flow and customer satisfaction for Skagit Gardens. Try Something New - Growing up in the horticulture business gave Pamela valuable experience in accounting, production and sales. She left the industry for seven years, spent four of them working as an auditor in Los Angeles and returned to Skagit Gardens 12 years ago. Her experience outside the industry gave her an appreciation for the sincerity and values of the people and companies within the industry. Getting Involved–OFA is an important organization for Skagit Gardens. Pamela serves on […]

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November 18, 2008

Coming Together by Erik Runkle

The floriculture industry in the United States has changed dramatically over the last 25 years, and it will continue to change at an increasing pace. In the early 1980s, the industry was transitioning out of cut flower production and into flats of bedding plants. In 1981, the average wholesale price received for a flat of bedding plants was $4.99. When adjusted for inflation, that’s equivalent to $12.40 in today’s dollars. Yet, the average wholesale price for a flat of bedding plants sold last year was just $8.40. Although bedding plants will remain the bread and butter of floriculture, traditional landscape plantings will continue to erode, and more consumers will purchase instant containerized gardens and indoor plants and flowers for their homes and offices. So What’s Next? To grow our industry and to remain profitable, growers will continue to improve their production efficiencies. Ornamental producers will work together even more, forming […]

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November 18, 2008

Universities Uniting by Paul Fisher

Writing this essay reminded me of “A Christmas Carol.” There are different futures for Extension depending which path we collectively choose to take. When the Agricultural Extension Service was created by Congress in 1914, agriculture was a dominant player in the U.S. economy. Recent trends in global food supply, biofuel and sustainability have led to a “rediscovering” of agriculture by the U.S. media. But agricultural production now represents less than 1 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in our service-based economy. If our industry values the outreach and applied research components of Extension in the future, we need to lobby for limited resources against other worthwhile competing societal needs. In the Spanish language there is an expression–no llora, no mama–and it will take a strong collective voice (llorar) to keep Extension services as a high policy priority (la mama). I have been fortunate to work with growers in several […]

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November 18, 2008

Searching For Value by Gary Mangum

Over the next 25 years, fewer growers will likely serve fewer retailers. The process has started, and will likely continue. Acreage will likely be grown significantly, with distribution and grower service evolving each year. More consumers will decorate with flowers and plants, and the connection to outdoor living space and nature will grow, not decline. Big Box Stores With one clear exception, the big box stores (regional and national giants) have worked hard with their growers to improve quality and size options in a way that gives the gardener or decorating consumer a better chance to succeed. As quality has improved, costs and retails have generally risen, but cost and often even breadth of selection remains an advantage enjoyed by this segment as compared to all others. It’s widely acknowledged that this channel, especially Home Depot and Lowe’s, has been responsible for introducing many to gardening who might not otherwise […]

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November 18, 2008

Survivability 101 by Laurie Scullin

I know we’re looking ahead 25 years, but let’s start with a few words and one chart (see below) on why you should market. First, the chart. From 2002 to 2007, wholesale sales of floriculture crops ranged from $3.95 billion in 2002 to a high of $4.15 billion in 2005 to a slight decline to $4.10 billion in 2007. Looks pretty good. But look what happens when we factor in inflation. Our industry sales in total dollars shrank every year from 2002 to 2007! Much of the growth we did see in the 1990s was due to big box chains building more stores rather than building new customers who love planting flowers. So, when the big box stores slow their expansion, we slow down or shrink! Worded another way, our notoriously under-marketed industry is now paying the piper for not developing new customers to replace old customers. Even with the […]

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November 18, 2008

Guiding Our Growth by John Holmes

The industry faces many challenges at the moment, but with challenges comes opportunity. As these opportunities gradually unfold and develop, industry associations will play a critical role in guiding and managing the resulting change and reaction. At their most basic level, industry organizations such as OFA, the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) and the multitude of state and regional associations, are just individuals coming together to accomplish similar goals–including some that cannot be achieved on their own. Throughout the history of the floriculture industry, we’ve seen organizations formed for very specific purposes, such as sharing research (the roots of OFA), increasing floral awareness and consumption (America in Bloom, PromoFlor, the Flower Promotion Organization) and promoting perennials (the Perennial Plant Association). But many times, industry associations take on a larger scope and actually promote and support the industry without members even being aware of the extent of services or assistance. […]

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November 18, 2008

Time To Play Offense by Bob Dolibois

Since 1876, the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) has focused energy on representing the industry’s interests before government. Most of the time, that focus has been largely defensive and directed toward federal legislative activity. Since joining the ANLA staff in 1991, I have seen some important changes take place. These changes determine how the industry needs to respond to government pressure on growers in the next 25 years. First, there is more attention on influencing federal regulators, in addition to federal legislators. This trend can be attributed to the explosion in the number and scope of well-financed adversarial stakeholders now engaged in lobbying, which results in the tendency of federal legislators to pass laws that are too general. And that leads to the requirement for career government regulators to add details to how the law will work–sometimes with very unintended consequences. Second, this flow of regulation is now being […]

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November 12, 2008

Ones To Watch: Andy Ambrosio

As part of Greenhouse Grower’s 25th anniversary, we are profiling people we expect to shape the industry for the better over the next 25 years. Now in its 20th week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with Andy Ambrosio of Wenke Greenhouses in Kalamazoo, Mich. Age - 50 His Job–Andy is sales and marketing manager for Wenke Greenhouses in Kalamazoo, Mich. Years ago, he was district and regional sales manager for the Sony Corporation of America. Andy obtained an MBA from DePaul University. Taking A Unique Path - Wenke focuses a high percentage of its production toward independent garden centers, landscapers and landscape wholesale operations, even though it is one of the largest growers in the country–29th on our Top 100 Growers List. Wenke, of course, also serves its own retail store, and it’s heavily involved with the young plants segment of the industry. Gotta Haves - The keys […]

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November 11, 2008

Defining Greatness by John Van Wingerden

Our industry is at a crossroads. Negative economic indicators, poor consumer confidence, surplus production and challenging distribution costs are just a few of the realities of the day. The opportunities that result from a combination of unique macroeconomic conditions and changing consumer demands require our industry to set priorities and will continue to be what determines whether growers embrace the future and its opportunities or run away from it. As one writer in Fortune magazine wrote recently, “Downturns aren’t for wimps.” Although the times are tough, we can be thankful the same principles that have characterized successful operations of the past within our industry still apply today. Low-cost production, efficient distribution and first-class marketing have been and will continue to be the critical issues in the next 25 years. It is the implementation and execution of these principles that will separate the men from the boys. Low-Cost Production: The importance […]

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