Charting A New Course

For several years, we’ve been collectively lamenting that our industry has reached a mature stage. USDA numbers show production output and dollars per unit have been flatlining for some time. Although there are businesses that are growing and aggressively making strides, most of what is happening is growers taking market share in a game of winners and losers. The industry as a whole is not growing and that concerns us.

At some point, the economy will improve and lead to increased sales of plants and flowers. (I’ve heard we also have to ride out the population slump Generation X brings demographically, which is impacting all industries.) But we cannot afford to sit back and wait for things to improve, or worse, sit on our hands and watch our industry decline. We need to be proactive in identifying opportunities for our industry to grow.

That’s why we convened our first Grow Summit in late August to serve as a catalyst to create forward-looking dialogue to look at ways to increase demand and improve margins. We had great minds in the room – a good cross-section of growers, their suppliers, academia and the big three national association directors – OFA, American Nursery & Landscape Association and Society of American Florists.

We had frank discussions about what keeps us up at night and how the world and industry have changed. One fun exercise was  the “story of Merlin,” envisioning what the industry will look like in the year 2020 in terms of value and service, and how retail and the consumer’s experience will evolve. Then we reached a consensus on priorities and suggested action items.

Focusing on consumer success came out on top. This includes doing the necessary resarch to determine what matters to consumers, educating them to be successful and producing products that perform.

Another was creating demand by:
• Finding ways to get new customers.
• Establishing connections with and learning from other industries.
• Creating an industry marketing board to work on collective promotions.
• Marketing to real estate developers and urban planners to promote greening and beautification.

Others were on the business side – better business management, reducing shrink and pricing and selling on value. Another was to become more involved in regulatory and legislative issues and define sustainability before an outside group does it for us.

I’m really encouraged because we can point to efforts individuals, groups and corporations are already doing to advance these objectives. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. For instance, the Institute for Floriculture Innovation Charles Kosmont proposes on page 22 is a great starting point for an industry marketing board. America In Bloom is the perfect segue into doing more with developers and city planners.

So what will all this mean to you as a reader of Greenhouse Grower? Everything we do will be filtered through a new lens with these priorities in mind. We’re going to be using all of our offerings as a platform to advance this industry growth initiative – in print, online and in person. When you see an article, it will be clear why it makes a difference for your business or how the topic relates to moving the industry forward. In all our content decisions, we will be asking ourselves, “How does this make a difference for growers and the industry as a whole?” – the “so what?” factor. This is something we’ve always done but in a less obvious and less focused way. Now we’re on a mission to drive these messages home.

As always, we’re going to support activities that benefit the industry. The Grow Summit laid the groundwork. We’re looking forward to converting this group’s ideas into action in the coming year.

Leave a Reply

Latest Stories
Youngs Plant Farm Trial Garden feature

January 21, 2017

Don’t Miss the Southern Garden Tour This June

Growers, retailers, and all industry professionals are invited to the 2017 Southern Garden Tour, which is hosted by Young’s Plant Farms, Sakata, and Metrolina Greenhouses, and will be held June 6-8.

Read More
Gaillardia 'Mesa Red'

January 21, 2017

2016 Pike Creek Horticulture Center Field Trials Result…

Check out the 2016 field trials results for The Pike Creek Horticulture Center in Kenosha, WI.

Read More
Anna Chernyavsky

January 20, 2017

New Director of Sales for Bedding Plants and Perennials…

Anna Chernyavsky, who joined Danziger in August 2016, will be in charge of the U.S. and United Kingdom markets.

Read More
Workplace Trends

January 20, 2017

10 Trends Predicted to Impact the Workplace in 2017

Here are 10 workplace trends that Forbes contributor Dan Schawbel predicts for 2017 that may change the way you do business in the future

Read More
Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer BloomStruck’ (Bailey Nurseries)

January 19, 2017

Bailey Nurseries Hosting Spring Previews in February

The previews, which provide education, new variety information, and retail support programs, will take place in Illinois, Minnesota, and Boston.

Read More
Bouldin and Lawson Precision Needle Seeder feature

January 19, 2017

How You Can Get More Precise With Your Seeder

Bouldin & Lawson’s Precision Needle Seeder is designed to improve accuracy when sowing small, difficult seeds.

Read More
Selecta Sponsor bed at Raker trial gardens

January 18, 2017

2016 C. Raker & Sons Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for C. Raker & Sons in Litchfield, MI.

Read More
EFTE Film

January 18, 2017

Looking at Glass or Polyethylene for Your New Structure…

Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene, also known as EFTE, is a fluorine-based material that looks like a standard polyethylene greenhouse film but offers high light transmittance.

Read More
Nadia Sabeh, CEAC

January 18, 2017

Upcoming Seminars to Focus on Managing the Greenhouse E…

The seminars, which will also be accessible online, are presented by the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center.

Read More
Spring Meadow Nursery Fire

January 17, 2017

Two Major Growers Recovering and Rebuilding After Fires

The blazes occurred at Dan Schantz Farm and Greenhouses in Zionsville, PA, and Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, MI. Both companies say no employees were injured, and they plan to pull together and stay on schedule for the remainder of the year.

Read More
Dallas Johnson

January 17, 2017

Dallas Johnson Greenhouses Owner Passes Away at 78

Dallas G. Johnson, who started the company in 1985, is survived by his wife, Kay, and two children.

Read More
Joe Cimino, Sakata Seed America

January 17, 2017

Sakata Seed Names New Senior Sales Manager for Ornament…

Joe Cimino comes to Sakata with past experience at Sun Gro and Florexpo.

Read More
JinPin Flower Seedling Company partners

January 17, 2017

Ernst Benary Partners With Chinese Young Plant Grower o…

The partnership creates a new company called Jinpin Flower Seedling Company, which will focus on providing young plants to the rapidly growing Chinese bedding plant market.

Read More
PC-31 Transplanter (Visser)

January 17, 2017

Visser NA Rebrands as Bellpark Horticulture

The new name will equally represent not only Visser, but all of the brands Bellpark represents, including Mayer, Logitec Plus, and Drygair in North America.

Read More
Stephanie Whitehouse

January 17, 2017

Stephanie Whitehouse Takes Her Passion for Plants to Di…

Stephanie Whitehouse, who has spent the last seven years as the Sales and Marketing Director for Peace Tree Farm in Kintnersville, PA, recently joined Dickman Farms Greenhouse and Garden Center in Auburn, NY, as the company’s new Retail General Manager.

Read More

January 13, 2017

We Must Help Heal Our Nation, with Plants and Flowers […

No matter how you may feel — personally or professionally — about the outcome of the election, it’s likely that you realize our nation has some healing to do.

Read More
Effective pest control

January 12, 2017

Prevention and Early Intervention: The Keys to Biocont…

Advance preparation and starting out right helps you implement an effective biocontrol program that reduces pest pressure.

Read More
Dipladenia Sundenia

January 11, 2017

New Tropical and Foliage Plants That Offer Hidden Benef…

Tropical and foliage plants can offer extra paybacks to your customers in terms of health-promoting benefits such as filtering the air, reducing stress, and absorbing noise. Consider these new varieties, hitting the retail market in 2017, for your product mix.

Read More