Growers Invest In Consumer Education And Retailer Relationships

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GROW logoThe 2014 Greenhouse Grower State  Of The Industry survey goes deeper than just sales figures and production estimates. We also asked some GROW-related questions. Specifically, we wanted to know what growers are doing to help consumers be more successful, to understand and work with their own customers better, and to invest in our industry.

We saw some interesting steps you’re taking for 2014. Here are just a few.

What have you and your business done to invest in the industry in the last 12 months?

“We donate and take care of city plants and offer support, time, money and product for industry events. We also invest in our employees’ education.” — Joe Wojciechowski, Wojo’s Greenhouse

“I hired more college and high school students and gave them more responsibilities.” — Richard Bostdorff, Bostdorff Greenhouse Acres

“I do downtown planting in my small community. We’re making sure people have the right information when buying and planting crops.”— Jill Manda, Manda’s Plant Farm

What have you done to connect directly with consumers and help them be more successful and find new ways to enjoy plants?

“We partnered with retailers to provide marketing materials to better educate their staffs and customers on new products. We support retailers involved with seminars for their customers.”
Steve McCall, McCall’s Nurseries

“We improved the information we put into the box for the store’s personnel. A brief Cliff’s Notes-style portion followed by more detailed information for the ‘plant geek.’”
Kathrein Markle, Wekiwa Gardens

“We train our merchandisers to connect with customers in the chain stores.”— Andy Buist, Micandy Garden

What have you and your business done to better understand and cultivate new customers?

“I travel and talk to other people in the industry to understand customer demands and trends.”
Mark Jackson, Southern Advanced Plants

“We have been working with a local PR firm to better understand the shift in the consumer base. Also, we have increased our use of social media and our technology.”
Joe Ward, Southwood Landscape and Garden Center

“We ask a lot of questions of people at new event forums we attend in the community. What are they looking for in a plant supplier? How can we help them achieve their goals? What do they think of when they think of our business? Do they think of us at all?”
Kevin Wilson, Shademakers Nursery & Landscape

“Sitting down and talking to them — seeing what problems they encounter when selling their product. I ask how my product or delivery can be better.”
Craig Schultz, Schultz Greenhouse

“We have investigated their taste and what they are using our products for by talking with the people who interact directly with the final consumer.”
Yvette Weinberger, Agro-Innova Pirque

“I sent out surveys to all customers asking how I can serve them better, asking what sold best for them and what different material I can grow.”
Pam Gerding, Monticello Greenhouses

Richard Jones is the group editor for Greenhouse Grower and Today's Garden Center magazines.
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