Bell Nursery's Facebook page celebrates the joy of plants and shopping at The Home Depot.

October 4, 2013

Bell Nursery Pulls Consumers To The Home Depot With Social Media Marketing

The grower has built a significant Facebook presence to promote buying plants at the mass merchant.

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September 11, 2013

Brands Influencing The Green Industry

Any skepticism of branding plants should be gone by now, with all of the new and existing brands on the market, consultant Jerry Montgomery says.

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August 13, 2013

State Of The Supply Chain

The greenhouse supply chain has evolved since 2000 like no other time in industry history. These dramatic changes were driven by a number of factors, including: • Consolidation at all levels of the chain • The massive explosion of retail space in the 1980s and 1990s • Power shifts from growers to retailers • The declining size of the grower base • Changing levels of support between the breeder/producers and the brokers • The economy Let’s take a look at some of these changes, and how they’re impacting you and your business. Retail: The Box Stores In the ’70s and ’80s, Kmart was the market leader in bedding plant retail. That changed by 1995, when Home Depot, Walmart and Lowe’s combined had 2,913 stores with 33 million square feet of outdoor garden selling space. By 2000, these giants grew to 4,228 stores and 72 million square feet of outdoor space. […]

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July 30, 2013

Box Stores And Facebook: How Social Media Has Changed Sales

How many box stores are seeing direct sales in plants from social media? That was a question on the minds of attendees at OFA Short Course’s Grower Town Hall. Here are the thoughts of the grower panel.  “I am a Facebook advocate. We don’t get a lot of Likes each week, but we see visits and unique visits from it over a week. I can tie sales to what we’re doing on Facebook. We’re trying to get potential customers into Home Depot stores. We do talk about pricing, what’s hot this week and what’s shipping. We get a good reaction to Facebook.” “Our goal is to get on the Facebook pages of Walmart or Lowe’s. This will have huge impact on our business. It doesn’t always benefit the stores we serve, but that doesn’t bother us. It’s better for everyone involved [when plants are featured on their Facebook pages].” “The […]

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July 16, 2013

Garden Retail 2013: Chicago

The weather in Chicago was perfect and the shoppers were out in huge numbers filling almost every garden center we visited on May 18 to 19, 2013. Home Depot was the most crowded, with a busy parking lot. In looking closely at a number of shopping carts, customers were buying a wide variety of items, including large patio containers and hanging baskets. In this market, there has been seemingly no impact on the sale of Impatiens walleriana. We observed large inventories in all retail locations. The main objective of this retail tour was to see the initial launch of the Miracle Gro Syngenta branded annuals. They were on the shelves in every Home Depot, with larger displays in the suburbs than the city stores. Here is what we saw: • Two SKUs: a 5-inch annual retailing for $6.98 and a 12-inch fiber hanging basket with Calliope geraniums retailing for $19.98. […]

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July 9, 2013

Garden Retail 2013 Report: Hartford, Conn.

The Hartford area is a mixture of some outstanding IGCs and the usual spread of national retailers based on population density. My visit was June 12 (warm with intermittent rain) and June 13 (cool and rainy). There was not much traffic in any garden center during this two-day retail tour. In almost all stores, whether big boxes or IGCs, there was a lot of inventory on the shelves and in some instances it had some age to it with a typical spring product mix. There was no indication of a transition to a summer product mix. In talking to the retailers, they had a decent year but most thought they still needed a good solid weekend of sales to make their year compete with last year. Walmart: Emphasis On Merchandising And Perennials It seems as though there is far less emphasis on the Better Homes and Gardens brand this season, […]

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May 28, 2013

Big Box Pricing Report: Mother’s Day Hanging Baskets And Annuals

Online store circulars offer a glimpse into the hot deals mass merchandisers are promoting to their customers. This May, annuals, perennials, edibles and shrubs were all over store circulars at Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart. Take a look into two weekends worth of data from online store circulars from stores in St. Louis, Mo., Portland, Ore., Dallas, Texas, Philadelphia, Pa. and Atlanta, Ga. May 10 Mother’s Day Report The Home Depot focused its pre-Mother’s Day promotions on hanging baskets and premium planters, whileLowe’s concentrated on quarts and gallons for bedding plants (scroll down to see those numbers). Walmart featured an annual quart and premium hanging basket in each market we tracked. Here are the hanging basket promotions from Mother’s Day weekend: Mother’s Day Weekend hanging basket promotions     St. Louis, Mo.      Home Depot  #12 Laurel premium hanging basket  $16.98    10-inch Olympic hanging basket  $7.98    11-inch Infinity […]

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May 28, 2013

Big Box Competition Report: The Full Data

Here’s the full data from Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart online store circulars for the weekends of May 10 and May 17. Here is the data for May 10.   Home Depot Lowe’s Walmart St. Louis, Mo.        hanging baskets  #12 Laurel premium hanging basket $16.98; 10-inch Olympic hanging basket $7.98; 11-inch Infinity hanging basket $14.98; 12-inch Proven Winners coco-lined hanging basket $29.98   1.5-gallon premium hanging basket $10.98  other #7.5 Olympic square annual planter $9.98; #12 Infinity colorbowl $14.98; 7-inch calla lily sparrow planter $10.98; 2-gallon rose $14.98; 10-inch Infinity round planter $14.98; 13-inch laurel planter $19.98 25-ounce Bonnie assorted vegetables and herbs 2 for $5; 1.25-quart warm season annual $2.50; 2.5-quart mailbox mandevilla $9.98; 2.5-quart hosta $5.98; 2.5-quart dianthus $5.98; 12-pack warm season annual $10.98; 2.5-quart golden euonymus $7.98; 2.5-quart English dwarf boxwood $7.98; 3.5-quart Forever and Ever hydrangea $16.98; 2.25-gallon dwarf firepower nandina $16.98 Better Homes […]

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May 7, 2013

Spring 2013 Garden Commercials From National Brands: New Gardener Success Is The Message

The new crop of spring gardening and home renovation commercials is out. What messages are national brands like Miracle Gro and box stores like Lowe’s taking out to the public? It’s all about the inexperienced, those consumers who think they have black thumbs, and how these stores and products can introduce gardening to the uninitiated and help them have success. Here’s a look into their 2013 ads.  MiracleGro’s Growing With Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix “The only thing we’d ever grown together was our record collection. No, there was that fuzzy stuff on the gouda.” Those are the first few lines spoken by the two beginner gardeners in this entertaining commercial, reflecting the experience level many new gardeners have. “How much is too much water? Too little?” Sound familiar? MiracleGro’s message is that even new gardeners can have success using its product.  Lowe’s “Neighborhood” Commercial This commercial shows a whole, […]

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February 11, 2013

2012 Poinsettia Sales At Big Box Stores

After visiting 64 big box stores in Florida and Michigan, I observed little change from last season in terms of the poinsettia market. I would say, however, the fact that Black Friday has now turned into Filthy Thursday is getting old and tired, with the industry featuring a $0.99 poinsettia that in some cases may not even be worth that price. Where is the creativity and innovation? We killed the fantasy color concept because too many companies did not apply enough paint, consequently eliminating the wow factor. Now some are doing the same with glittered poinsettias. Prices have not changed much since last year, and clearly creativity has not changed. The noticeable bright spot was the continuing improvement of the product quality and assortment at Walmart. These stores also offered great values, such as a nice 6-inch plant for $3 in the markets served by Metrolina in Florida, and $3.67 […]

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October 29, 2012

Hostages, Store Lock-Ins Ensue As Home Depot Exits China

When Home Depot announced it would close the rest of its stores in Tianjin, China on Sept. 14, 2012, workers fought back against its employer. In one incident, employees took over four of the seven stores, locking themselves in and squatting for the weekend, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports. A team of trained home décor installers also rebelled against the news by taking three hostages — a head lawyer, head of human resources and head of operations — and releasing them from the Store Support Center in Tianjin 80 hours later, says Home Depot CFO Carol Tomé tells the Chronicle. “You need to understand that doing business in China is unusual,” Tomé says. “You have to expect the unusual.” After the stores closed, vendors liquidated and sold store inventory and also took Head of Operations Ben Lv hostage for a second time. The employee unrest occurred despite the severance packages […]

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October 24, 2012

Garden Retail 2012: Observations in Philadelphia

The weather was cool and overcast in Philadephia on May 5 and 6, 2012, with temperatures ranging from the mid-50s in the mornings and the mid-to-high 60s during the day, with no sun until late afternoon on Sunday. Overall it was a disappointing weekend with consumer traffic far below norm for a May weekend. It seems like the consumers in the Northeast will not garden until they see a warm sunny day. Home Depot You will not see any better merchandising at store level than the Bell Nursery team of highly trained professionals that are dedicated to serving Home Depot and the consumers. This group is so interested they never miss a chance to interact with a consumer. The management structure of the merchandising group allows for a lot of support and allows for the field management people to make decisions on replenishment The other big thing that Bell does […]

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October 24, 2012

Garden Retail 2012: Observations In Baltimore

The weather was perfect for shopping and gardening in Baltimore on May 12 and 13, 2012, with temperatures in the 60s during the mornings and hitting in the low 80s by afternoon with very low humidity. Shoppers were out in full force and the store traffic was really heavy. Finally, after several cold, wet weekends, the Baltimore market has opened and what timing: Mother’s Day weekend. Home Depot These garden centers are clearly some of the best, if not the best, in the country for Home Depot. There are few competitive stores in the same league. Here is what we observed that makes these stores so outstanding. The number-one reason is the quality of people in this vendor’s merchandising team. I have never seen merchandisers that are seemingly as consumed by their jobs and who work so hard to keep the displays organized, watered and very shoppable We had the […]

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October 20, 2012

Garden Retail 2012: Observations From Columbus, Ohio

The weather was ideal May 25-26, 2012, with temperatures in the 80s, moderate humidity and sunshine – perfect for gardening. The stores were very busy especially on Saturday, May 26, with consumers anxious to start their spring planting. The edible displays were particularly busy as interest in that category continues to grow – although it is somewhat surprising that Bonnie Plants seemed to be the only real organized brand with great distribution. It supplied all three national retailers with seemingly no challengers. Home Depot As we observed in Baltimore and Philadelphia, Home Depot has spectacular stores offering great products and even better merchandising, both supplied by Bell Nursery. These stores all had annuals and perennials with far more color than the competition leading back to the old basic axiom that “color sells.” Color really sells when you combine the WOW factor with great merchandising executed by passionate, well-trained and highly […]

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October 20, 2012

Garden Retail 2012: Observations In Cleveland, Ohio

The weather was warm on May 27 and 28, 2012, in the 80s, and the shoppers were out in force buying plants and a lot of related garden items. It should have been a great retail weekend for growers and retailers. This is another market where Home Depot is the most dominant, displaying good-quality green goods in conjunction with very good merchandising. Cleveland is also the home of Petitti Garden Centers, a family-owned group of nine garden centers throughout northeastern Ohio and one of the leading independents in North America. Petitti opened new locations over the past three years, an indication of how a well-managed independent garden center can survive and flourish during these times. If you want to visit garden centers that know how to sell plants, this is the place to go. Petitti Garden Centers I had the pleasure of visiting two Petitti stores in Mentor and in […]

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