Over the past five years, Peace Tree Farms in Kintnersville, Pa., has concentrated on growing its business by providing plant material for the displays at the illustrious Philadelphia Flower Show.
Hosted by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the Flower Show is a spectacle of all things botanical, and a quarter million people flock to this first peek of spring each March. You can see a slideshow of highlights from the Philadelphia Flower Show at bit.ly/PhiladelphiaFlowerShowHighlights2015.
Meanwhile, we caught up with Peace Tree Farms’ Lloyd Traven to ask about how the Flower Show figures into his business plan.
GG: How has becoming a supplier for the Flower Show changed your business?
Traven: It’s totally reinvented our business. Our timing revolves around Flower Show forcing. And we have invested in a lot of equipment.
We now demand a signed contract. It’s very clearly written about what they do, what we do, when it happens and what they have to pay. I think more growers should be doing this — spell it out and hold their feet to the fire. They pay us as it goes along. A third of the total bill — except for freight — is due in November. If I don’t have that check, I stop growing your stuff. We receive a second third in January and the final third at the Flower Show.
GG: How do you balance growing for the Flower Show with growing for the spring season?
Traven: We drop all the stuff we carry through the winter, our bigger plants for the Garden Geek stuff and even poinsettias, to get more Flower Show business. It’s more profitable. If I have a way of generating more cash flow, I’ll take it. We’ve not had to scramble to make payroll. We’re current with our suppliers. That’s a big change for us.
Designers are used to the old style of paying in the spring. For me, that is not how it’s done. We consider this a privilege to be trusted to do this. But we want to be treated respectfully.