Five Education Tracks Set for IGC Show

Five Education Tracks Set for IGC Show

IGC Show organizers have announced the full details of this summer’s “Continuing Education @ IGC,” the learning portion of the world’s largest dedicated garden center education event, which is scheduled for Aug. 14-16 at the Chicago Navy Pier. Five new tracks will dive deep into Grab & Go container profits, online commerce that drives store traffic, store renovations, TV and radio publicity tricks, and sales strategies that work with today’s consumer.

In addition, all IGC Show attendees are invited to Tuesday’s Free Sampler of Continuing Education @ IGC prior to Dr. Charlie Hall’s morning keynote presentation. During this sampler session, Judy Sharpton will take a broad look at the renovation process, in all of its ups and downs, fits and starts.


Track 1: “How To Profit Year-Round with Grab & Go Containers” with Sharon Hadden

Grab & Go container gardens offer the opportunity to add an incremental, high-margin department that encourages increased customer traffic, higher spending, and greater customer satisfaction for your garden center. Sharon Hadden, who heads up the Container Garden Department at Allisonville Garden & Home in Fishers, IN, is ready to show you how. She has transformed the garden center’s Grab & Go offering into a highly successful business model, increasing ready-made container sales by 30% to $117,000 last year and boosting efficiency by reducing staff hours in half.

Track 2: “Using Online Commerce to Build Store Foot Traffic & Sales” with John Kinsella

You’ve heard the call to start your online store for years. Maybe you’ve attempted it, but haven’t been happy with the results, or maybe you’ve shelved it for as long as you could. Your garden center needs online commerce to remain relevant, especially to the younger generations like Millennials who, by a large majority, research online before heading to stores to shop in person. Do you know what “Omni-Channel” retailing is all about? You really need to. Now is the time to make your online presence a strong driver to your brick-and-mortar independent garden center.

Track 3: “Store Renovations as a Sign of Industry Development” with Judy Sharpton

A strong economy, a robust housing market, and ongoing interest in fresh food and local offerings have combined to revitalize the independent garden center sector. To capitalize on the demand, many independent garden centers are undertaking store renovations. During her track, Sharpton, Owner of Growing Places Marketing, will take attendees behind the scenes at five garden centers that are in various stages of the store renovation process, with important input from the owners and staff. You’ll learn why now is the time to upgrade, and how to see it through, from the initial planning process to completion.

Track 4: “Local TV & Radio Tips, Tricks & Tools for Publicity that Will Drive Increased Traffic to Your Store” with Jeff Crilley

Local media outlets are a true gold mine for your garden center business — if you know how to play their game. It won’t cost you a dime for tons of coverage, but what will this publicity get you? Brand awareness for your garden center, more foot traffic and sales, for starters. Would you like to become that go-to expert on gardening each time there’s a weather extreme, and get tons of publicity from it? Each attendee will receive a copy of Jeff Crilley’s book, “Free Publicity: A TV Reporter Shares the Secrets of Getting Covered on the News.”

Track 5: “Sales Boot Camp for Your Garden Center’s Bottom Line” with Phil Wrzesinski

The economy is healthy and consumers are spending again, which means it’s time to tighten up your sales playbook. This intensive boot camp tuned in to today’s savvy customer is the perfect place to start. Phil Wrzesinski is a third-generation independent retailer with 24 years of experience, including his successful tenure heading up his family business, Toy House and Baby Too, named among the 25 best independent stores in America by George Whalin in his book “Retail Superstars.”

IGC Show’s trade show, three morning keynotes, and Tuesday’s party and concert with The Marshall Tucker Band are free. Register at