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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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Dust Off Your Image

Dust Off Your Image

by Danny Summers

The new year is just around the corner and I know you are already knee-deep in planning for it. Here are a few things to consider adding to your list in preparation for Spring 2023...

How's Your Center's Image?

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Just Imagine...

Just Imagine...

by Danny Summers

Imagination is a wonderful gift that we all have. I believe we all have the same level of imagination when we are born. You can see so much of this gift in the eyes of children. I see this in our grandchildren's eyes now. You may remember a photo I shared a little over a year ago of our oldest grandson when he was just about 3 and he stood in front of Georgia Aquarium's largest tank, Ocean Voyager.

Here's the photo I shared then. Try to imagine what this 3-year-old was thinking at the time.

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Health + Time

Health + Time

by Danny Summers

To continue on the message from last week – A Recipe for What Matters (or we might say What Matters Most), I included a tease of sorts on some thoughts for additional ideas...

Health and Time.

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A Recipe for What Matters

A Recipe for What Matters

by Danny Summers

Each of us sees numerous ads every day. They come at us from all directions and it seems to only increase in methods of how or where we see them. Certainly, TV, radio, internet, and of course every social media page we interact with is pushing products. Even some gas stations are pushing ads at the pump. Most are very promotional and the worse ones seem like they were designed by ex-used car salesmen (no offense if you have friends or family in that tough business). But you know what I mean. It's all about price and how low they can go.

If you have been in The Group any length of time, you know we began early on hearing from The Group founder, Robert Hendrickson, how you should focus on a different type of message – telling a story. One that connects with the audience, and speaks to their needs or interests in a real and caring way all while sharing the enjoyment and benefits of the garden and gardening activity. Robert would challenge us to think... if you come across as just selling something, you are most likely on the wrong path. This is a great time to quote a famous person from Hannibal Missouri (where Robert and Wendy now live)...

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Preparing for 2023

Preparing for 2023

by Danny Summers

There's been quite a bit of conversation recently in our eLists on preparing for 2023 and in particular the budgeting process. There's a lot to be considered for sure. And 2023 is certainly not the typical "new year" to consider. But even in a typical "new year" there is a lot to consider.

Not only do you have the typical budget considerations you will see in The Group's Chart of Accounts... What should you budget for Sales (by category)? How're Margins going to be tracked? What do you see in changes to Operating Expenses for next year? And what should you project for Wage & Wage Benefits?

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Plant Talk

Plant Talk

by Danny Summers

We can take this conversation in so many directions. A very important one is how attached countless new "Plant Parents" are to their new plant-family additions. It doesn't take long when browsing social platforms to see this in full display. In fact, the photo above (minus my title "Plant Talk" added) was found on a blogger's page with the title "DIY - Speech Bubbles for Your Plants" as she shows you how to make your own conversational signs. She related it to having reminders of how a plant needs certain care in order to thrive. Doing a simple search like "Plant Talk" will quickly yield a huge number of discussions like "How to Talk to Your Plants" or even "Is it Normal to Talk to your Pets and Plants?"

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See What a PLANT Can Do

See What a PLANT Can Do

by Danny Summers

The idea of this message came to me when I remembered Darren Abbott (Hallmark) sharing details of their One Million Card giveaway. He explained it began on March 27, 2020, as many of their Gold Crown Stores were closing due to COVID shutdowns and they were getting a large number of requests from people needing ways to connect to loved ones. The program began with the idea of offering 1 million cards to their loyalty members, sent free by mail. The initial announcement said, "Hallmark gives people a way to connect through acts of caring and support during uncertain times." Darren described how their team was able to gather enough cards at their distribution centers (that were almost shuttered as well) and within a few days, they had the program pulled together.

To say the offer was well-received is an understatement for only seven days later Darren said their President and CEO came to him and said, "I don't want you to stop, let's keep going." So, with that Hallmark announced it was adding an additional million cards to the offer. Each responding Hallmark Rewards member received a bundle of 3 cards with a cover page that said the following...

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Commitment

Commitment!

by Danny Summers

Commitment... It's a word that depicts The Garden Center Group experience in a number of ways. At the foundation of The Group, every Center joins with a commitment to sharing at some level. In the beginning, there may be some hesitation to jump right in but as they see others sharing they quickly see the benefits of having such an open-sharing platform. Certainly, the level of sincere helpful sharing that exists in The Group is a unique experience.

While there are a number of ways a commitment to sharing is exemplified in The Group, one of the strongest levels of commitment is sharing through our Weekly Department Review (WDR). And the Centers that receive our 100% Club Awards annually have made a firm commitment to share. This year, there are 115 Centers participating in the WDR Program, and 58 of these centers reported EVERY WEEK and received our 100% Club Award. Now that is Commitment!

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The Strength of Group Sharing

The Strength of Group Sharing

By Danny Summers

When often faced with the opportunity of describing "The Group Experience" for someone who has not been in The Group, I feel it is a challenging task. Of course, I hit the key points of all our programs as well as the different ways our Group Centers share information peer-to-peer and how they have access to and interact with our Group Service Providers. But I feel it is still only a small glimpse into The Group Experience that I just wind up urging them to join and jump into the process as much as they can to see for themself what it is like.

And then as we get closer to The Fall Event, if I can get them to attend, that is the absolute best exposure. As a team, we have often said, "If we can just get them to The Fall Event, we know what will happen. They will be excited and ready to be a part of what they experience."

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A Heart-Felt Thank You!

A Heart-Felt Thank You!

by Danny Summers

The Fall Event for 2022 is over and this is the perfect time to say THANK YOU. And we have so many people to say THANK YOU to... Every Group Center that participated, all of our Partners for Success and Sponsors, and of course all of our Group Service Providers. I also want to express our sincere appreciation to our Guest Speaker, Darren Abbott of Hallmark Cards whose presentation was described as" incredible." I will be sharing more details about Darren's message in the coming weeks.

Another Group Center said, "The way you were able to tie each presentation together made it feel like one fluid and consistent message to The Group." I responded with, "Somehow it all just comes together. I would like to be able to say it was all planned out moment by moment… but it wasn’t 100%. It is also amazing how our team works independently and somehow thinks concurrently to converge at the same point. The other thing that really amazes me is how our Group discussions steer our focus and attention in the same direction."

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What's Your SuperPower?

What's Your SuperPower?

by Danny Summers

A SuperPower is a unique force or gift – something that you’re especially good at or something you are recognized for. Just like Superman (or woman), we all have our SuperPowers (or strengths).

Recognizing each person on your team's SuperPowers can help unify and build upon these strengths. This also can help spread those talents across the entire organization. You already know who is "Super" in certain areas. Recognizing these SuperPowers will encourage everyone to learn and grow.

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Plants R Us!

Plants R Us!

by Danny Summers

Not even unpacked yet and they have a plant in the room!

Does this title seem familiar? I first related it to Toys R Us. It came to mind when I was working on a presentation to share at Farwest 2022 a few weeks ago. I was looking for a graphic that represented new first-time young home buyers. Just the weekend before we had been helping our great nephew, Zac, and his wife, paint at their new home they recently purchased. They had not yet moved any furniture in but just inside the front door, next to a window, they already had a new tropical plant sitting there.

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More... What's New!

More... What's New!

by Danny Summers

This past week the Farwest 2022 Show was held in Portland and we had a great group of Retail Judges working the show on the first day to nominate plants and products for the Retailers' Choice Awards™. Even if you were not with us, you can see all of the "what's new" that received the awards... right here!

First, let me say it was great to be in Portland and to experience the Farwest 2022. The city looked great and since my last visit, a new Hyatt has been added directly across the street from the Oregon Convention Center. That coupled with the Max Lite-Rail system directly between the two made it was super easy to navigate to and from Portland International Airport (PDX). The show looked fantastic and all of the wonderful products we expect from the Northwest region were on full display!



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Continual Learning

Continual Learning

by Danny Summers

Don't you just love this photo? I do. Our wish for everyone should be to have a real passion for learning throughout life. In many ways, I believe it may be one of the very best ways to stay young. Many of us were fortunate enough to know Ernest Wertheim and even in his 90's he was asking many questions and had a passion for learning and encouraged everyone around him to do the same. He is an example of why we should have a passion for learning!

The idea of this message came to me as I was thinking back on where we have been the past two and a half years. We have certainly learned a lot in that period of time.

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