As part of a pilot program, retailer Meijer has announced it is partnering with Marysville, Ohio-based Scotts-MiracleGro to open 27 garden centers in existing Meijer stores across the Midwest, including 11 in Michigan.
The Garden Marketplace is located inside Meijer’s seasonal department, and will feature a variety of Scotts-MiracleGro and Meijer brand products — grass seed, plant seed packets, soils, lawn food and control products — to assist customers interested in gardening, and lawn care and maintenance.
“We know the average homeowner spends four hours a week caring for their lawn and garden, which is why the Garden Marketplace will focus on providing solutions for our customers’ outdoor needs,” says Bill Stechebar, Meijer’s divisional merchandise manager for garden/floral.
The pilot program will offer merchandise for gardening lawn care, and maintenance in one area of the store.
“Confusion is a major barrier to entry into the lawn and garden category for most consumers,” said Stephen Markert, vice president of channel sales at Scotts Miracle-Gro. “This endeavor with Meijer allows us to reach a significant number of lawn and garden enthusiasts, and early results from these 27 stores have been tremendous.”
Some independent garden centers are treating the news as business as usual. “There’s a Meijer less than 5 miles away from our store with a full garden center now, and in a 15-mile radius, there are a Lowes, Home Depot, Menards, two Meijers and two other very established garden centers. The box stores all have permanent garden centers on site,” says Don Vite of Vite Greenhouses in Niles, Mich. “When we price compare, many of our prices are either the same or slightly less. We pride ourselves on the quality of our crop, the knowledge and friendliess of our staff and the cleanliness of our facility — distinctions that no box store will ever beat.
“I guess we look at these challenges as helping us stay on our toes!” Vite says.