2015 Garden Center Symposium Will Be January 21-22

2015 Garden Center Symposium Will Be January 21-22

The 2015 Garden Center Symposium/Midwest Perennial Conference is scheduled for January 21 and 22 in Waukesha, Wis.

It will be the 51st event, and will feature a line-up of speakers from throughout the industry, continuing the philosophy set forth by the founding volunteer board to provide green industry businesses the opportunity to hear national level speakers in a regional venue.


The 2015 speaker line-up includes:

Steve Bailey of Steve Bailey Consulting

Bailey began his career working at a garden center while attaining a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil science with a specialization in business. With a total of 40 years in the garden center industry, 18 as a garden center owner, he currently serves as the financial analysis consultant for The Garden Center Group. His focus is on retail margin management, inventory control and profitability.

Mark Dwyer, Rotary Botanical Gardens, Janesville, Wis.

Dwyer has been the director of horticulture at Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, Wis. for the past 15 years. He directs the continued maintenance and improvement of the 20-acre botanical resource with a talented grounds staff and many dedicated volunteers. Dwyer previously worked at Fernwood Botanical Garden (Niles, Mich.) and as a landscape designer in Appleton, Wis. He has degrees in landscape architecture (University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana) and urban forestry (UW-Stevens Point). Dwyer’s true passion is obtaining, growing, observing and photographing all types of plants.

The Harvest Group – Ed Laflamme and Bill Arman

Laflamme ran his own landscape consulting business for many years and Arman grew his business into one of the largest landscape businesses in the country. For the last seven years they have teamed together as the Harvesters to assist other companies from garden centers to landscape companies to botanical gardens to develop new methods to lead a successful enterprise.

Carol Miller, Editor of Today’s Garden Center and Greenhouse Grower

Today’s Garden Center’s editor has a reputation as an advocate for the industry, most recently demonstrated by launching the 10% Project. Today’s Garden Center’s 10% Project looks for ways it can help garden centers reach a profit of at least 10 percent. In 2012, it commissioned a university study to learn how price sensitive consumers are to plants, then recruited a mainstream visual merchandiser, who counts HMS Host and Victoria Secret among his clients, to makeover a plant yard to test how merchandising affects sales. In 2013 and 2014, the 10% Project commissioned another university study, this time to learn how to lure the next generation of gardening customers into independently-owned garden centers.

Lloyd Traven of Peace Tree Farm in Kintnersville, Pa.

Lloyd is an owner/partner in Peace Tree Farm where they are USDA Certified Organic wholesale growers and propagators of potted herbs, herb liners, flowering pots, topiary and baskets. Their clientele includes Longwood Gardens, Chanticleer, Scott Arboretum, Smithsonian, New York Botanical Garden as well as other gardens and garden centers locally and across North America. He is a member of all of the major horticulture groups, frequent author and speaker.

The program has been planned to provide practical and thought provoking information for garden center owners and operators, greenhouse growers and landscape practitioners. PLANET CEU credits are available for each hour of presentation.

In addition to roundtable discussions with the speakers, attendees this year will have the opportunity to have lunch with a speaker — an additional time to engage in some free conversation with national consultants.

As in the past, the event will be supported by its trade show participants.

Registration fees, which feature early registration discounts, include breaks, noon meals, a light evening buffet and roundtable discussions with the speakers.

Information on registration and program details can be found at GardenCenterSymposium.com.