Vendor Day At Osuna Nursery Draws Gardeners And Builds Vendor Relationships

Osuna Nursery Vendor DayThe New Mexico-based Osuna Nursery invites all its vendors to meet its customers one day a year, giving customers access to deeply knowledgeable representatives, and giving vendors a chance to meet the public in a way not usually available to them. This year will be the third time Osuna hosts a vendor day. So we chatted with Vanessa Sanchez, Osuna’s Marketing Director, to find out how the event works and what changes the team will be making this year.

Q:How many of your vendors do you invite?

A: We invite quite a few — from tree and shrubs, to bedding flowers, to soil menders. It requires a lot of follow up. Last year we invited the whole list of vendors, about 30 to 40 vendors. Only about 7 to 10 showed up. Some it was scheduling, so we try to set it up early. Even though the event is in June, we’ll be inviting them by the end of the January. We also invite area garden clubs and all our customers.

 

Q: How does it work?

A: We normally hold it during peak hours, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on a Saturday (this year it will be on June 4). The vendors are there just to give our free information for anyone who would like it. The customers who attend want advice on their gardens, to meet and to talk to experts who can help them decide what they need to do. We’re on a 6-acre property, and we rent tents and place a table and chairs under each tent for the vendors. They are allowed to brand the tent area however they like to represent their company. Our customers can walk around the property to visit each tent, which are mostly clustered together.

Hardy Boy booth at Osuna NurseryThe other thing we’ve done is to ask for vendors to donate products for us to give away as prizes during the event. Last year, we got 100 to 200 donations. We had enough products to give something to every customer that weekend. We placed jars at each register, and the customer would draw from the jar, and would see what they won. It could be a fountain, a four pack, perennials, or some tools. We had an employee dedicated to distributing the prizes. It was a lot of fun. Everyone likes to win free things.

Q: Are you planning any changes this year?

A:  I think we’re going to attempt having a podium where vendors can do presentations. They would be give 5- to 10-minute talks about plants during the day. That gives our customers a chance to know what kind of expertise each vendor has, so if one has a question about trees, they can go to the Monrovia booth later on. We invite garden clubs, too, so I think someone from each club would work well as speakers, too. To draw attention to the talks, we’d want to give away prizes from the podium.

Q: How do you market the event?

A: We also do online calendars. We go full force and get the word out. There’s a few different ways to promote: Facebook, email blasts, our website, handouts, and just telling people about it. We have good relationship with master gardeners in town, and they are a group that’d be most interested in our vendor day. They’re doing extra curricular activities in the green industry. More traditionally, we’ll advertise in the paper occasionally. The most successful way is word of mouth and handouts.

Radio station at Osuna NurseryLast year, we had a local soft-rock radio station set up a tent in our parking lot and it did a live broadcast. It’s live and they’re talking about your store. They gave away pizza and prizes. It drew some people, though their main draw were the give-aways. This station has a mainly female audience, so it is a good audience.

Q: What do you think makes this work so well?

A: I think every year, we get better at it. It’s an outside event, so picking the right time of year is really important. Customers won’t come if it’s windy, if it’s too hot. June is a good month for it, as it’s still a good temperature.

Another advantage of holding it in June is it brings in people after our spring. Our peak time is March to May, so June is right at the end of the season. Holding it then means we have a little more time to dedicate to this event and to continue getting people interested in gardening.

Another reason these work is that the vendors are really interesting. They normally have a fun back story about one or more of their plants. They can tell how this rose got this name, and another got discontinued..And these kind of stories fit in nicely to a program we call Osuna University. We have free classes from 10 to 11 on Saturdays from March to June. So this event correlates with that.

And, of course, the prizes are a big draw. We also want to bring everyone in the green community together, so different plant groups get to know each other.

Q: What advice would you give to others who want to host a similar event?

A: Planning and prepping is key. And communication. And a lot of work. I think it’s a good event to plan, it brings your community together, and that alone makes it worth it. As a bonus, it’s good to build your relationships with vendors.

I would suggest listening to the advice you get from your vendors. From all their suggestions, we’ve tried to implement something each year. It was really windy the first year, so we found a different place to set up the tents. We also learned to work with vendors with products that need a little more time. If you have heavy products, it’s best if they’re prepared before the event to reduce labor.

One of the suggestions we got was to allow vendors to speak, and I’ve already mentioned how we’re going to do that this year. One of the other suggestions we’re considering is to give our customers a worksheet that they can use to get a signature from each vendor. We have to figure out how do you make that worksheet,

I think the donations were excellent for the success of our vendor day. We even had product left over, and we were able to donate the excess to the community.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

More From Retailing...
GCA Summer Tour 2017 Andersons Newport Beach

March 23, 2017

Garden Centers of America Unveils Stops on Its Summer Tour in Virginia

Registration for the event, which includes visits to several garden centers each with their own unique highlights, is now open.

Read More
MSU Guide To Attracting Pollinators

March 9, 2017

New Guide on Bee-Friendly Plants Available From Horticultural Research Institute

The guide is designed to help grower-retailers educate and motivate their customers to purchase and plant pollinator-friendly materials.

Read More
Grapevine Balls, Glass House, and Galvanized Dish Gardens (Flori-Design, Inc.)

March 6, 2017

Cool Product Awards from Garden Retailers Announced at TPIE 2017

This year’s Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE) once again served as a great spot for the Cool Product Awards, an annual collaboration between TPIE, Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association, and The Garden Center Group.

Read More
Latest Stories
GCA Summer Tour 2017 Andersons Newport Beach

March 23, 2017

Garden Centers of America Unveils Stops on Its Summer T…

Registration for the event, which includes visits to several garden centers each with their own unique highlights, is now open.

Read More
MSU Guide To Attracting Pollinators

March 9, 2017

New Guide on Bee-Friendly Plants Available From Horticu…

The guide is designed to help grower-retailers educate and motivate their customers to purchase and plant pollinator-friendly materials.

Read More
Grapevine Balls, Glass House, and Galvanized Dish Gardens (Flori-Design, Inc.)

March 6, 2017

Cool Product Awards from Garden Retailers Announced at …

This year’s Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE) once again served as a great spot for the Cool Product Awards, an annual collaboration between TPIE, Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association, and The Garden Center Group.

Read More
Nursery Photo

March 6, 2017

How Great Photos Can Help You Sell More Plants

More consumers than ever want to see what a product looks like before they buy it, and that includes plants. Here are some tips on taking top-notch photos at your nursery or garden center.

Read More

February 28, 2017

Registration Now Open For IGC Show in Chicago

Find out how you can save on early registration, and get a sneak peek at what’s new at this year’s event aimed at independent garden centers.

Read More

February 21, 2017

Ian Baldwin: 2017 is Off to a Strong Start For Plant Re…

Many garden retailers are telling garden retail consultant Ian Baldwin that sales and the consumer’s attitude toward spending have been very strong the last two months.

Read More
Summerwinds Proven Winners display FEATURE

February 17, 2017

Proven Winners Makes Improvements to Its Retailer Certi…

Understanding the challenges of training new and seasonal staff at independent garden centers, Proven Winners says it is working to equip managers with tools to prepare their employees to better handle customers’ questions and boost their confidence in selling plants this season.

Read More
TPIE 2017 tradeshow floor

February 14, 2017

Trendsetting Products and Ideas From TPIE 2017

If you're a trend watcher, the 2017 Tropical Plant Exhibition, held in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, on January 18-20, was a can't-miss event. In case you missed it, here are a few highlights of the cool products, trends, and ideas seen at the show.

Read More
Plant in box for Amazon feature image

February 6, 2017

Amazon is Coming to Plant Retail; Here’s What it …

Plant e-commerce may finally take off soon. The question is, are you ready?

Read More
GrowIt! App Wins Gold At Design100 2014 US Mobile & App Design Awards

February 6, 2017

GrowIt! App Now Offers a Listing of Independent Garden …

The team behind GrowIt!, the app designed to help connect consumers with plants, has launched a new platform that allows independent garden centers to sign up to be a “Garden Shop,” helping new gardeners and community members find garden centers in their specific areas.

Read More
Monrovia Trends Floratourism

January 26, 2017

9 Trends That Could Influence Gardening in 2017

From color-changing conifers to smaller-sized luxury looks, plant experts at Monrovia predict nine trends that will drive consumers to do more gardening this year.

Read More
Bundle Pricing sign at Farmington Gardens

December 23, 2016

It’s Official: Growers Stink At Pricing Plants

The industry’s first pricing survey exposes serious problems in how plants are priced. It’s past time for us to change that.

Read More
Greenhouse Retail Center

December 20, 2016

Top 10 Things I’ve Learned From The Garden Retail…

After covering this industry for close to 20 years, I've picked up a few life lessons along the way.

Read More

December 19, 2016

Smart Retail Tech All Garden Retailers Can Use

Your store may be dark for the winter, but it’s never too early to think about the light of spring and opportunities to improve within your store. Take note of how many national retailers are making capital improvements, altering product assortments and brands, employing more part-time staff, trying new promotional tactics, and modifying services including store hours. Are you thinking of making changes to retain your best customers? Are you considering taking control of some operational costs? Is there a dark side to your retail environment? Retail shopping survives today because it has evolved. Retail has morphed into a blend of displays, services, events, category-specific brands, exclusivity, location and, most importantly, customer satisfaction! It’s more than the thrill of the hunt for a great bargain; it’s an experience. Are you striving to offer a “good to great” retail environment that entices today’s consumer to shop your store? Who will spread […]

Read More

December 13, 2016

The Industry’s Take: How We Can Win More Customer…

Check out these customer winning ideas, which range from smaller, European-type garden to boosting the decorative side of plants to just waiting for Millennials to start buying homes.

Read More

December 12, 2016

How To Merchandise Plants With Pantone’s 2017 Col…

It's great that "Greenery" is Color Of The Year, but how can plant retailers take advantage of a color that most of their products already have? Pantone has an answer for that!

Read More

December 5, 2016

Benary’s Jennifer Calhoun: How We Can Make Plants…

I see one main issue facing our industry in getting more people to buy plants — we assume that the way we used to sell plants is the way millennials will want to buy them. Nothing could be further from the truth. We sell plants in small packs that you plant in a hole in your garden, with a generic label that says “blooms all season.” Millennials don’t have gardens, so they want a plant they can put on their fourth floor apartment balcony, or better yet on a shelf in their living room near a window.  We give them too little information to help them be successful under those circumstances. But what we don’t realize is that if the plant dies, they feel personally responsible for killing another living thing which is so painful that they would prefer not to take the chance a second time. If we sold […]

Read More

December 5, 2016

A Visual Guide To Garden Retail Merchandising

Antje Verstl, a German visual merchandiser who has worked with many high level garden retailers in Europe, has a lot of practical, and inspirational advice on how to transform your plant yard into an exciting place to shop. Take a look at this gallery, and enjoy a visual guide from Verstl. Her book, “Eagle & Frog!,” is now available for purchase by an American market through her website.

Read More