June 4, 2013

Spring 2013 Trend Watch: Garden Center Traffic Impacted By Late Spring

Better weather is finally kicking in around the country as we head from May to June, but the long, slow slog toward real spring seems to have taken a toll on traffic for many garden centers early in 2013. A short survey of retailers by sister publication Today’s Garden Center showed that — as you might expect — in places where the weather has been good, traffic and sales are up and independent garden retailers seem relatively optimistic about 2013. Unfortunately, those conditions were the exception rather than the rule in much of the country. Particularly following the incredibly early spring of 2012, reports of traffic being down compared to last year are unsurprising. More importantly, however, some retailers are reporting seeing fewer customers this year than even in an average spring. Cold, Wet Weather Jim Matarazzo of Matarazzo Farms in Caldwell, N.J., says his traffic is down for one […]

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May 28, 2013

Big Box Pricing Report: Mother’s Day Hanging Baskets And Annuals

Online store circulars offer a glimpse into the hot deals mass merchandisers are promoting to their customers. This May, annuals, perennials, edibles and shrubs were all over store circulars at Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart. Take a look into two weekends worth of data from online store circulars from stores in St. Louis, Mo., Portland, Ore., Dallas, Texas, Philadelphia, Pa. and Atlanta, Ga. May 10 Mother’s Day Report The Home Depot focused its pre-Mother’s Day promotions on hanging baskets and premium planters, whileLowe’s concentrated on quarts and gallons for bedding plants (scroll down to see those numbers). Walmart featured an annual quart and premium hanging basket in each market we tracked. Here are the hanging basket promotions from Mother’s Day weekend: Mother’s Day Weekend hanging basket promotions     St. Louis, Mo.      Home Depot  #12 Laurel premium hanging basket  $16.98    10-inch Olympic hanging basket  $7.98    11-inch Infinity […]

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May 28, 2013

Big Box Competition Report: The Full Data

Here’s the full data from Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart online store circulars for the weekends of May 10 and May 17. Here is the data for May 10.   Home Depot Lowe’s Walmart St. Louis, Mo.        hanging baskets  #12 Laurel premium hanging basket $16.98; 10-inch Olympic hanging basket $7.98; 11-inch Infinity hanging basket $14.98; 12-inch Proven Winners coco-lined hanging basket $29.98   1.5-gallon premium hanging basket $10.98  other #7.5 Olympic square annual planter $9.98; #12 Infinity colorbowl $14.98; 7-inch calla lily sparrow planter $10.98; 2-gallon rose $14.98; 10-inch Infinity round planter $14.98; 13-inch laurel planter $19.98 25-ounce Bonnie assorted vegetables and herbs 2 for $5; 1.25-quart warm season annual $2.50; 2.5-quart mailbox mandevilla $9.98; 2.5-quart hosta $5.98; 2.5-quart dianthus $5.98; 12-pack warm season annual $10.98; 2.5-quart golden euonymus $7.98; 2.5-quart English dwarf boxwood $7.98; 3.5-quart Forever and Ever hydrangea $16.98; 2.25-gallon dwarf firepower nandina $16.98 Better Homes […]

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May 20, 2013

Spring 2013 Trend Watch: What’s Selling At Garden Centers And What Isn’t?

Retailers from across the country are reporting on which products and selling and which aren’t faring as well so far this spring. Have You Noticed A Trend In Any Product Category Customers Are Buying?  With much of the country experiencing a delayed spring, weather and its effect on the garden industry is on a lot of retailers’ minds. Despite the delayed season, most felt sales were indicating consumer desire to spend on gardening. Here are most commonly mentioned product categories performing well in 2013, from a short survey of retailers by Today’s Garden Center magazine: Vegetables Pottery and containers Hanging baskets Custom projects, like container gardens or small garden bed designs Shrubs Many retailers also say that fairy or miniature gardening is a still a big demand. “Terrariums and their supplies have stayed strong through spring,” says Cactus Jungle Nursery & Garden’s Hap Hollibaugh. “It was odd to have to reorder […]

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May 16, 2013

Complete USDA’s Census Of Agriculture To Ensure The Future Of The Floriculture Industry

The USDA’s Census of Agriculture looks at farms, value of land, market value of agricultural production, farm practices, expenditures and other factors that affect the way farmers and ranchers do business. The 2012 Census will provide a complete picture of agriculture that will be used to shape the future of agriculture related policies and agenda. If you have not yet responded to USDA’s Census of Agriculture, please do so before May 31. “Every time we go to Capitol Hill or meet with USDA representatives, we cite statistics from the USDA census, which prove how important our industry is as a leader in U.S. agriculture,” says Marvin Miller, Ph.D., AAF, Ball Horticultural Company, chairman of both Society of American Florists’ and OFA — The Association Of Horticulture Professionals’ government relations committees. “This will be the document folks will refer to for five years when we compare our green industry to the rest of agriculture.” […]

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May 7, 2013

Poll Results: Can IGCs And Big Box Stores Coexist?

We asked for your thoughts on the garden supply chain and whether or not there’s room for independent garden centers and box stores to coexist peacefully. Read on for the results of our online poll and your comments. Here are the results of our poll question: How do you feel about the relationship between mass merchandisers and the independent garden center chain?     Poll comments:  “Many indies need to up their game and prove themselves better.”  “There is a place for both. Some want the quick way, others the quality way.”  “Open markets are best. Supply chain discipline is lacking.” “Mass merchandisers compete with IGCs on an unlevel playing field.” “IGCs train the consumer then they go to the mass merchant.”  Comments on our article, “Can The Indpendent Garden Center Chain And Mass Merchandisers Coexist?”   “I always have one question: If PBS (Pay-By-Scan) is great and wonderful, how does […]

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May 7, 2013

A Dynamic And Changing Greenhouse Supply Chain

As usual, the California Spring Trials offered the chance to see many new varieties and marketing programs and a wonderful opportunity for personal networking. This year in particular, however, it caused me to look harder at the changing face of the supply chain. The recent changes have caused, in my estimation, a shift in the power and importance of a number of key industry companies. Consider some significant shifts: • The Dümmen Group took control of Fides Oro’s bedding plants and perennials and its related brands, Ecke, Oglevee, Fides and Bartels. That makes Dümmen the most powerful and influential vegetative breeder/producer serving the North American market. Dümmen and Agribio will be two completely separate companies owned by H2Equity, a new company to be announced and the management. • Syngenta Flowers sold its grower distribution company, Syngenta Horticultural Supplies (SHS), to the Griffin family, a leading supplier of hard goods in […]

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April 29, 2013

Menards Adding Superstores In Michigan

Michigan garden retailers are getting more — and bigger — big box competition this year. A story in The Detroit News reports that Wisconsin-based home improvement chain Menards is adding new “super-sized” store locations in the Detroit area and throughout the state. The company currently has 23 locations in Michigan and a total of 270 home-improvement stores in the Midwest. The story reports that all of Menards’ new stores are being built with a large footprint. The new Davison, Mich., store, for example, is estimated to be 240,000 square feet. “By comparison, Meijer and Walmart superstores come in around 180,000 square feet on average. To put it in perspective, the Menards stores are almost double in size and offer nearly 40 percent more products in-store when compared to Home Depot and Lowe’s,” a company spokesman tells The Detroit News. The new Menards stores appear to be taking on The Home […]

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April 5, 2013

Poll: Can The Independent Garden Center Chain And Mass Merchandisers Coexist?

Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses recently introduced fairy garden containers, which will be sold through Walmart stores. Reader reaction to the story was mixed. Here’s a sampling:  “I think it’s a great way to introduce ‘non gardeners’ to gardening, get them hooked on the hobby and then they will find their way to the IGCs.”- Deb “There goes the Fairy Garden market for the independent business man! What a shame.”- Randy “I agree with Randy.  I just implemented Fairy Garden classes at my greenhouse, and now Walmart and Engelmann are going to shoot me in the foot. What happened to supporting the local businesses?” - Donna “I agree with Deb–this kind of exposure for this product can only help IGCs that produce fairy gardens. The introduction of this concept to the mass market can trigger a huge ripple effect for IGCs around the country. These are not the highly customized gardens you see […]

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April 2, 2013

Hermann Engelmann Offers Container Fairy Gardens Through Walmart

A step past offering individual miniature plants, Top 100 Grower Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses is offering fairy gardens in Walmart stores under its Exotic Angel Plants brand. A mini bistro set and bicycle are included in these mini gardens, along with an assortment of different varieties. More than 11,000 units will be going into Walmart stores across the nation. On March 21, Hermann Engelmann shared this photo on its Facebook page with the message: “Check out the newest member of our Exotic Angel Plants family! These adorable Fairy Gardens will be hitting select Walmart stores early next month!”  The photo has 112 Likes on Facebook. Find out more about the operation’s plant selection at the Hermann Engelmann website. 

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March 27, 2013

Building Numbers Look Positive For Greenhouse Growers

Economic recoveries usually get their biggest kick from a rebound in the most cyclical parts of the economy. Consumer spending on big-ticket items tends to increase as worries about job security subside, hiring increases and income and household wealth rise. Once consumers are back on their feet, homebuilding (and associated landscaping) and business fixed investment typically ramp back up and inventories rise in line with the higher level of economic activity. Spending And Investment Are Increasing We now see the key cyclical drivers of economic activity kicking into a slightly higher gear. Spending for big ticket items appears to have caught a tailwind from the gradual improvement in the job market, the rise in home prices, and the booming stock market. Business fixed investment also appears to be on a sturdier foundation, led by strong private sector demand, a booming energy sector and somewhat-stabilizing global economy. Finally, homebuilding appears to […]

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