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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At Metrolina Greenhouses, a handheld scanner reads the bar code on each cart, along with the UPC for each unique item on each cart shelf. Once the items are scanned, a label is printed with a barcoded list of the items and quantities on the cart. Photo by Amanda Tomaini, Practical Software Solutions

July 11, 2013

Grower Vertical Enterprise Software Is Used By Growers Of All Sizes, Including Young Plant And Contract Growers

If your standard, off-the-shelf accounting software program and Excel inventory sheets just aren’t cutting it anymore, maybe it’s time to look at a computer software program developed for commercial growers. Here are some software programs designed to handle the variables and intricacies that are unique to commercial growers’ businesses. Grower Vertical Practical Software Solutions offers Grower Vertical for Sage ERP, a full business system management tool that takes into account production, inventory, shipping, accounting and sales integrated into one system. “It is considered an enterprise application system as opposed to a hodgepodge of different programs for accounting, production, inventory, etc.,” says senior sales executive Greg Lafferty. “It is a commercially available off-the-shelf package produced by a company called Sage. We have taken this package, which we have sold for 10 years to traditional manufacturers and distributors, and tailored it to fit the needs of commercial greenhouse operations. We have tweaked […]

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July 11, 2013

GrowerLive Enterprise Software Can Be Used With Or Without Pay-By -Scan

If your standard, off-the-shelf accounting software program and Excel inventory sheets just aren’t cutting it anymore, maybe it’s time to look at a computer software program developed for commercial growers. Here are some software programs designed to handle the variables and intricacies that are unique to commercial growers’ businesses. The GrowerLive software program for growers was released by Innovative Technologies Group Inc. in 2007. The software program was developed for Rick Brown, owner of Riverview Flower Farm in Riverview, Fla., who produces annuals and perennials for The Home Depot. Since releasing the software the company has added additional growers, including citrus and sod producers. Most of the growers sell to big box stores, including Lowe’s, The Home Depot and Walmart. They also serve smaller retail chains and independents, including John Deere Landscapes, Meijer and Thrifty Mart. “GrowerLive is an inventory program and also a fulfillment-replenishment system for pay-by-scan,” says Innovative […]

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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

Poll Results: Can IGCs And Big Box Stores Coexist?

We asked for your thoughts on the garden supply chain and whether or not there’s room for independent garden centers and box stores to coexist peacefully. Read on for the results of our online poll and your comments. Here are the results of our poll question: How do you feel about the relationship between mass merchandisers and the independent garden center chain?     Poll comments:  “Many indies need to up their game and prove themselves better.”  “There is a place for both. Some want the quick way, others the quality way.”  “Open markets are best. Supply chain discipline is lacking.” “Mass merchandisers compete with IGCs on an unlevel playing field.” “IGCs train the consumer then they go to the mass merchant.”  Comments on our article, “Can The Indpendent Garden Center Chain And Mass Merchandisers Coexist?”   “I always have one question: If PBS (Pay-By-Scan) is great and wonderful, how does […]

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April 29, 2013

Menards Adding Superstores In Michigan

Michigan garden retailers are getting more — and bigger — big box competition this year. A story in The Detroit News reports that Wisconsin-based home improvement chain Menards is adding new “super-sized” store locations in the Detroit area and throughout the state. The company currently has 23 locations in Michigan and a total of 270 home-improvement stores in the Midwest. The story reports that all of Menards’ new stores are being built with a large footprint. The new Davison, Mich., store, for example, is estimated to be 240,000 square feet. “By comparison, Meijer and Walmart superstores come in around 180,000 square feet on average. To put it in perspective, the Menards stores are almost double in size and offer nearly 40 percent more products in-store when compared to Home Depot and Lowe’s,” a company spokesman tells The Detroit News. The new Menards stores appear to be taking on The Home […]

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April 5, 2013

Poll: Can The Independent Garden Center Chain And Mass Merchandisers Coexist?

Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses recently introduced fairy garden containers, which will be sold through Walmart stores. Reader reaction to the story was mixed. Here’s a sampling:  “I think it’s a great way to introduce ‘non gardeners’ to gardening, get them hooked on the hobby and then they will find their way to the IGCs.”- Deb “There goes the Fairy Garden market for the independent business man! What a shame.”- Randy “I agree with Randy.  I just implemented Fairy Garden classes at my greenhouse, and now Walmart and Engelmann are going to shoot me in the foot. What happened to supporting the local businesses?” - Donna “I agree with Deb–this kind of exposure for this product can only help IGCs that produce fairy gardens. The introduction of this concept to the mass market can trigger a huge ripple effect for IGCs around the country. These are not the highly customized gardens you see […]

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April 2, 2013

Hermann Engelmann Offers Container Fairy Gardens Through Walmart

A step past offering individual miniature plants, Top 100 Grower Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses is offering fairy gardens in Walmart stores under its Exotic Angel Plants brand. A mini bistro set and bicycle are included in these mini gardens, along with an assortment of different varieties. More than 11,000 units will be going into Walmart stores across the nation. On March 21, Hermann Engelmann shared this photo on its Facebook page with the message: “Check out the newest member of our Exotic Angel Plants family! These adorable Fairy Gardens will be hitting select Walmart stores early next month!”  The photo has 112 Likes on Facebook. Find out more about the operation’s plant selection at the Hermann Engelmann website. 

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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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January 10, 2013

The State Of The Poinsettia Market

Every year, Greenhouse Grower asks its readers to reflect on their poinsettia crops, prices and the overall state of the market. Growers of all sizes responded to our survey, and the results are in for the 2012 season. Here is a look at some of the most notable statistics. For the full whitepaper results, visit GreenhouseGrower.com/February2013. Poinsettia Production Varied From 2011 While the majority of respondents (42.1 percent) increased poinsettia production overall, the percentage of growers that produced the same number or fewer than last year both clocked in at 28.95. When it came to novelties, however, 44.74 percent of growers produced the same number over the last two years, with 31.58 percent producing more and 26.38 percent growing fewer plants, respectively. The number of poinsettias in the dumping pile was stable with 64.7 percent dumping zero to less than 5 percent of their poinsettia crop compared to 69 percent in […]

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