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Riding the Wave

Riding the Wave

by Danny Summers

We have talked before about the trend of seeing Plants and the activity of Gardening being leveraged while promoting non-related products or services. This is Riding the Wave of the growing popularity of what your Center offers... every day. Here's another example...

I was standing in the checkout line last week at our neighborhood Publix grocery store. I glanced at the magazines on display as I waited my turn. One publication slapped me in the face instantly. The title:

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The Group Knowledge Experience

The Group Knowledge Experience

by Danny Summers

The power of The Group comes in many forms and functions but behind each is hundreds of talented professionals who have a common purpose... to be the best Garden Retailer in their community. They also share a common bond through The Group and are willing to share openly with peer Centers to help others reach higher.

This was in full display last week as the April GROUPtalk LIVE Series was being held. Above is an image of some of those participating as we spotlighted four Centers across the Southern Regions to hear their experience so far this season.

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A Fresh Air Store?

A Fresh Air Store?

by Danny Summers

You may remember a few weeks ago, I shared a message titled "A Nature Store?" The overall idea was how much Garden Centers should position themselves as a vital part of nature and their audience should think of the Garden Center, their own garden, and the activity of gardening as an important part of their own health and wellness.

Coming out of winter, it is easy to attract your audience who have the internal human need for spring, its fresh new growth, its plants, flowers, and everything in the garden. Just the promise of spring helps to bridge the gap caused by "winter blues." And it is easy to recognize your Center is needed at this time of year. What I am sharing today may help you more at other times of the year. This past week I ran across a story titled:

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Visions of Spring

Visions of Spring

by Danny Summers


How big will the Spring Season be in 2023? That's a common question we all consider for months. It began last fall or even earlier. But here we are the first week of April and while most central to northern locations are just getting started, we have the benefit of seeing what's happening at The Group Centers in more southern regions.

We have been watching intently, every week when we get our WDR Reporting. And so far what we see is pretty encouraging. We all remember how 2022 gave us higher Average Sales but lower Transaction Counts. And most recognize that was a result of a compressed season last year (late Spring and early Summer).

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Collaborate

Collaborate

by Danny Summers

Collaborate seems like a pretty lite word to describe what we do here in The Group. A quick synonym search for alternatives finds: Cooperate, Unite, Join, Team-Up, Pull Together, Hang Together, and many more. All of these combined much better describe what we know today as The Group.

In the coming weeks and months you will see us having more sessions to bring The Group together... to Collaborate!

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A Nature Store?

A Nature Store?

by Danny Summers

Have you ever considered calling your Garden Center... A Nature Store?

I'm not suggesting changing your Center's name, but just in describing what you do, what you offer... A Nature Store.

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The BIG Squeeze of 2022

The BIG Squeeze of 2022

by Danny Summers

If you were with us last Thursday for our March edition of the GROUPtalk LIVE Series, you experienced Tim Quebedeaux revealing the results from The Group's 2022 Annual P&L Study. We had a large crowd assembled for the presentation and Group Centers can see the details in the recording, now available on the 2023 GROUPtalk LIVE Series Resource page from their landing page following login.

As Tim presented each area of this year's study, I was amazed. We knew from the Weekly Department Review (WDR) that sales were down in 2022 compared to the previous year. The BIG question in most of our minds was... how much would this affect profit?

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The Wellness Connection

The Wellness Connection

by Danny Summers

In recent weeks I have seen more than one article expounding on the growing consumer trend of prioritizing Wellness. A quick search or simply being alert to watching messaging in almost any media and you will see this first hand.

I know there was a growing awareness or interest in Wellness prior, but I am confident the Covid era has accelerated it even more today. One such article I saw a week or so ago was from AdAge magazine where they were promoting a day-long conference called "The Wellness Revolution Conference" where they will spotlight the intersection of health and marketing. They included several major brands bringing Wellness to the forefront of their marketing campaigns in the coming months. In the same announcement, they quoted a report from McKinsey & Company from last fall. McKinsey & Company is a global business consulting (and research) firm. The title of that report was...

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Be the Inspiration

Be the Inspiration

by Danny Summers

The natural change of seasons can be a time of encouragement. The promise of spring brings a sense of renewal and new life. Most people have never had the experience of walking into a greenhouse in early spring. Just to see all the young plants and flowers there, waiting for the chance to be selected and to be added to a home garden is exciting... and inspirational. There are so many ways to "Be the Inspiration" in spring.

Do you expound upon the beauty, facets or character of the individual flower or plant? There are so many to talk about each week and so many great stories. Do you show how they can make you feel?

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Making the Connection

Making the Connection

By Danny Summers

While the vast majority of Super Bowl 2023 ads are now a very distant memory, I thought a few are noteworthy. That's pretty amazing when you consider the reported costs were $6-7 MILLION for a 30-second spot and there were enough of them, if you string them all together, to be over 1 hour long. So, in doing a totally non-scientific research review, here are three I want to bring back for seeing one more time.


 

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Happiness

Happiness

by Danny Summers

The search for happiness is as old as time itself. It's easy to see how some people search for their happiness in the way they spend their time, attention, and of course their money.

In last week's blog message from Sid Raisch titled SHIFTing, Sid referenced a video that Tom Kegley shared with us. It is an insightful presentation by J. Walker Smith, a marketing and futures expert with the international market research and consulting firm, Kantar. During this 34-minute presentation, Walker includes the highlights from an Oracle survey results released last July. Here's the Report headline and some noted data:

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How Will You Measure Up?

How Will You Measure Up?

by Danny Summers

The clock is ticking and every day you inch closer to the Spring Season. So much effort has already been invested in preparations, but it is natural to still be thinking...
Have we done enough?

What have we missed?

What more can we do?

We have three major programs going on within The Group that can help you answer the question... How Will You Measure Up?




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Sharing the Magic!

Sharing the Magic!

by Danny Summers

As you create and implement your promotional plans for 2023, you have the opportunity to do so with what we have learned over the last three years... how important gardening and plants are to us (all human beings).

Actually, this journey of understanding the importance of plants, the garden, and the activity of gardening began much earlier. One important message that comes to mind was when Robert Hendrickson shared the results of a survey done to answer the fundamental question... "Why I Garden?" Robert shared that with us in 2015 and you can find the top 30 answers in The Group WebSystem by navigating to the Clients-Only menu and down to POWERtools. Just look in the first section in the Marketing area.

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An Exciting Time!

An Exciting Time!

by Danny Summers

Over the last two weeks, many of us have experienced two of the industry's largest events, MANTS in Baltimore (top two photos) and TPIE in Tampa (bottom two photos). If these events are any measure of where we are right now as an industry... the best way to describe it is An Exciting Time!

The level of excitement and anticipation is obvious. Both exhibit space and attendance could easily be described as Sell Outs! Interest in plants and gardening at retail is at an all-time high and with young consumers continuing to become homeowners and continuing their "plant-parenthood" practice these trends look to only increase in coming seasons.

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A Wild Ride!

A Wild Ride!

by Danny Summers

At first glance you could easily think I am referring to a vacation experience in a recent memory. For Karen and I, this could harken us back to several things.

One is our first visit to Walt Disney World and the chance to ride on Space Mountain. If you have never had this experience the easiest way for me to describe it is... A Roller Coast in the Dark! Or, as Disney would want to describe it.. a rocket ship in space avoiding meteorites! For Karen, the description is much shorter... just simply...

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Designing the Customer Experience

Designing the Customer Experience

by Danny Summers

Here's an important question... Are you Designing Your Customer's Experience?

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Hitting Your Target... in 2023!

Hitting Your Target... in 2023!

by Danny Summers

As we welcome the New Year of 2023, it's the perfect time to spend as much time as possible thinking about your plans and goals for the season ahead for Hitting Your Target! I know you have done a considerable amount of planning already. Your overall budget may be in place. You have placed (or about to place) many of your spring orders for plants and products that will begin arriving in the coming weeks.

You may still be working on your weekly promotional plans. Many Group Centers plan for specific plants or products to promote as well as what systems you will use to share details with your audience.

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Come Together

Come Together

by Danny Summers

When I consider this title, it really could represent the purpose and core mission of The Garden Center Group. We come together in so many ways. Just the practice of sharing peer-to-peer or through our team of service providers, coming together is at the core of what we do. The idea for this message brings to mind the saying, "No man is an island unto itself." This is a portion of a poem written in 1624, by English poet John Donne.

The premise that we are better when we share and come together is arguably at the foundation of The Garden Center Group. Each Group Center is unique but the sharing of ideas, concepts, resources, and of course business data, all provide for the ability of each Center to apply what is learned and ultimately be better than before.

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Your Work as a Craft

Your Work as a Craft

by Danny Summers

Have you ever thought of your work as a craft? Not craft as a hobby, but as a craftsman. I often refer to our industry as having some of the most wonderful people and how there is something very special about people who grow or sell plants.

Horticulture, much like farming, has great assets in the people. For us, it is the people who call Nursery, Garden Centers and Landscaping home.

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New Year = New Opportunities

New Year = New Opportunities

by Danny Summers

We have some big news as we look forward to the 2023 new year. If you have been reading recent GROUPtalks, I hope you have read about our Weekly Department Review (WDR) program going online, beginning Week 1 of 2023.

Participating Group Centers will access the WDR through our WebSystem, both for uploading their data and seeing weekly reporting when complete. (If you need help logging in please let me know.)

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