March 21, 2007

Kraft Buys Meristem Facility

Florida foliage grower Kraft Gardens of Fort Pierce has purchased an 11-acre growing facility in Homestead that belonged to Meristem Nursery, which closed its doors last year. Meristem was known for Dracaena arborea and Kraft has acquired all remaining inventory. “We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to utilize the growing facility and acquire the large inventory of such a great plant like arborea,” says Kevin Kraft, president of Kraft Gardens. Kraft Gardens was featured on our January cover. In addition to tropical foliage for interiors, Kraft has diversified into spring garden lines, including banana, cordyline, crotons and ornamental grasses. For more information, visit http://www.kraftgardens.com.

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March 21, 2007

SNA Names New Executive

April 2 will be the first day of work for Southern Nursery Association’s (SNA) new executive vice president, Steve Newton. He was one of three finalists narrowed from a field of nearly 100 applicants. Since 2002, Newton had been serving in the Bush Administration as state executive director of the Georgia Farm Service Agency. For more information about Newton and SNA, visit: http://www.sna.org/publicrelations/pressreleases2007/index.shtml

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March 21, 2007

OFA Broadens Scope

The OFA board of directors announced a new business strategy to pursue opportunities to manage other organizations and events. This was in response to being approached by various organizations to do so in recent years. OFA already manages America In Bloom, a non-profit organization focused on promoting public plantings through a campaign and contest that engages communities. “Because these opportunities continued to arise, it became clear that OFA needed to discuss, from a strategic standpoint, how it would respond to the service needs of industry-related groups or events,” says OFA’s Executive Director John Holmes. For more information on OFA and this recent development, visit http://www.ofa.org/index2.html

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March 14, 2007

Highlights From The Hill

Growers, florists and allied industry members descended on Capitol Hill yesterday to tell their congressional representatives why they need to support immigration reform, as well as the Floriculture & Nursery Research Initiative with USDA. Greenhouse Grower’s editor Delilah Onofrey takes you there with her recap of the Society of American Florists’ Congressional Action Days at: http://www.greenhousegrower.com/delilah/page.php?page=constant

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March 14, 2007

Positive Forecast For Garden Centers

A shift in consumer attitude may signal a market gain for independent garden centers and local retailers this year, according to the Garden Writers Association Foundation’s “Early Spring Gardening Trends Research Report” released last week. In mid February, 47 percent of consumers survey indicated they plan to purchase most of their spring garden plants at a garden center or local retailer compared to 44 percent at mass merchants, according to the survey conducted by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence. In prior years, consumers favored mass merchants over garden centers by a margin of 52 percent to 39 percent in 2006 and 51 percent to 40 percent in 2005. This report is now available online and free to all Garden Writers Association members. For more information, visit www.gardenwriters.org and select the Gardening Trends Research tab.

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March 7, 2007

Home Depot Rolls Out Eco Options

The Home Depot is establishing itself as a destination for organic gardening as part of its Eco Options branding initiative. Bonnie Plant Farm has designed a special display unit for its Earth-friendly Vegetables and Herbs in 4-inch and 5-inch biodegradable peat cups. This unit will be displayed near Scotts Naturals soil, fertilizer and pest control products. For more on Home Depot and Eco Options, visit http://www.greenhousegrower.com/delilah/page.php?page=constant.

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February 28, 2007

Whole Foods Reaps Wild Oats

Whole Foods Market just purchased competitor Wild Oats Markets for $565 million, adding 110 stores to Whole Foods. Both are natural-foods grocers that appeal to a trendier, upscale, enlightened and environmentally conscious clientele. Do you sell plants to Whole Foods, Wild Oats or kindred spirit Trader Joe’s? If so, we’d like to know which products and programs have been successful for you and how they compare with more traditional supermarket retailers. Drop us a line at: [email protected]

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February 28, 2007

America In Bloom Registration Closes Today

Today is the deadline for communities of all sizes to participate in the 2007 America In Bloom (AIB) competition. So far, there are about 30 cities, 14 of which are new to the program and will expand AIB’s reach to Arizona and Nevada for the first time. Sixteen states will be represented in this year’s competition. What a great opportunity to cultivate and assist the towns in your local markets. Check out this year’s participants at: http://www.americainbloom.org/Articles/?categoryId=17&ArticleId=837

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February 28, 2007

Plug Connection’s St. Amant Joins FloraStar Board

Juan St. Amant, product development manager at Plug Connection in Vista, Calif., has been elected to FloraStar’s board of directors. During his 19 years with the company, he helped expand Plug Connection’s offerings to include gerberas, cyclamen and perennials, as well as become part of the California Pack Trials circuit. His specialty is working with flower breeders and plug customers to evaluate new varieties. FloraStar is a nonprofit organization that evaluates the performance of new potted plants. For more information, visit www.florastar.com.

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February 21, 2007

SNA Director Search Is On

Southern Nursery Association (SNA) reports it has been zeroing in on candidates for its executive director opening. A nationwide advertising campaign, which began in mid-December, drew nearly 100 applicants from coast to coast. Five SNA members have committed to the task of ranking the top choices. A human resource company also has been assisting behind the scenes conducting preliminary phone interviews, as well as background and reference checks. The SNA board of directors will receive interview finalists in person in Marietta, Ga. SNA represents an 11-state region in the Southeast.

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February 21, 2007

North Carolina’s Economic Impact

North Carolina has an $8.6 billion green industry, generating nearly 125,000 jobs in producing sectors on more than 120,000 acres. The North Carolina Green Industry Council (NC GIC) recently released the results of an economic impact study conducted by North Carolina State University’s Dr. Charles Saffley and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. Vital to the retail data was participation by big box stores. Originally formed to address water issues, NC GIC has evolved to become the unified voice for the state’s green industry and secured $150,000 to complete this study. The five-page, graphically pleasing summary can be viewed at: Green Industry Impact 2006

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February 21, 2007

Wal-Mart Veteran Founds Logistics Company

John Orendorff has left his position as DMM at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. to serve as General Manager and equity partner of a newly-formed live goods logistics company, GardenReady Solutions. Over his fifteen years of service at Wal-Mart, Orendorff has identified an unfulfilled need in the live goods industry, and is partnering with an investment group from Texas to address the increasing challenge that growers are having getting product on retail shelves at both the right time and in the right quantities. Garden Ready Solutions will assist live goods growers across the country with the increasing logistical burden of distributing product to an expanding retail market. Garden Ready’s first cross dock facility will be located in the Dallas/Fort Worth market, with plans of expanding to additional markets throughout the Southwest and beyond in the coming years. Garden Ready’s services will allow growers to deliver smaller quantities of live goods, but on […]

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