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Success... by the Trailer Load!

Success... by the Trailer Load!

by Danny Summers

For everyone who has attended The Fall Event, you know one thing you can count on is recognizing the most successful performing Garden Centers from our two financial sharing programs, the Weekly Department Review (WDR) and the Annual P&L Study. During the first day of The Fall Event 2021, we did just that. In fact, this year we handed out more awards than ever before!

When Steve and Tim sent me the reports for both the WDR and the P&L Study, I knew there would be a lot of awards this year. But it was when I picked up all of the plaques at our trophy supplier that it really hit me just how many more there were this year. In fact, we had to rent a U-Haul trailer for the trip to Wilmington – for the first time ever!

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A Culture of WHY

A Culture of WHY

by Danny Summers

Over the past two weeks, we have been experiencing Florence Williams' wonderfully impactful story of 'The Nature Fix.' It is the result of her multi-year work of documenting WHY nature is so important in the health and welfare of every human being.

Many of the details contained in her book support what we all have known for years about the importance of plants and the activity of gardening. We just did not have the science to back up our beliefs... until now.

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Marketing Ideas for 2022 - and beyond!

Marketing Ideas for 2022 - and beyond!

by Danny Summers

Great ideas are in the making. I believe this to be TRUE right here within The Group. In the coming weeks we will have a whole collection of ideas that can help fuel your marketing message for 2022 and beyond! And it all begins at The Fall Event with Florence Williams and her book... The Nature Fix.

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The Train of Garden Retailing

The Train of Garden Retailing

by Danny Summers

At first glance this might appear as a strange combination. Train verses Garden Retailing? But bear with me as I share some thoughts I have had in recent months. This idea came to me as I was talking with prospective Centers who asked about what we do in The Group and why they should consider joining. Basically, "Why The Group?"

As I thought about my response, aside from all the normal unique sharing, programs and services The Group offers, strangely enough what I have told our daughter and her husband about buying their first home came to mind. We have had numerous conversations with them about how home prices keep going up and how much more difficult it might be to get into your very first home. I said, "Home ownership is like jumping onto a moving train. Once on-board you gain equity as the overall market goes up and as you pay down the mortgage. If you are not on the train, you are loosing ground, going backwards as the train moves forward."

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Your Best Ideas (or your biggest questions)

Your BEST Ideas (or your biggest questions)

by Danny Summers

You have them... all of us do. It's the idea that comes to you late at night or in the early hours of the morning and you just have to write a few notes before it's gone. It can also come at unusual times during our daily activities. It might be while you are shopping at a frequently visited store, or in line at the drive-through restaurant, or just driving down the road – or mowing the lawn. My Dad often said some of the best thinking happens while on a tractor. Some of the most ordinary things can trigger the very BEST ideas. They can also present some of your biggest questions.

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Imagination!

Imagination!

by Danny Summers

Kids have "wide-open" creativity skills with no throttles, governors, or constraints that most of us adults have developed. If you look closely at the photo above you will see the titles... "Thinker, Thinking Cap and Idea-O-Meter" depicting the story of how kids don't have the "I Can't" or "It Won't Work" weights holding them back. As we progress through life we encounter many "guardrails" that tend to build upon each other and restrict our creativity. In the following text I found some wonderful words written by Samuel Ullman (1840-1924), an American businessman, poet, humanitarian, and religious leader, born in Hechingen, Germany and died in Birmingham, AL. Here's an interesting introduction I found to Ullman's famous poem 'Youth.'

 

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What's New?

What's New?

by Danny Summers

That was on everyone's mind last week as we converged upon Columbus, OH for Cultivate'21... the very first industry trade show since early last year. And it was GREAT in many ways!

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Good News

Good News

by Danny Summers

If you were with us last Thursday during the final GROUPtalk LIVE Series session, you heard Ken Gronbach say these words, "If you want me to tell bad news for the garden industry, I'll have to make up something, because there just isn't any." This session was a followup to his keynote presentation last August as we began our series.

Ken is a demographer and his studies analyze world populations, growth, shifts, and trends. Ken's message reinforced what our Centers have experienced the past 16 months – countless new customers, many of them young, and all wanting more gardening and plant experiences.

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For the Love of Plants

For the Love of Plants

by Danny Summers

The Love of Plants can be a powerful thing. It's powerful in many ways. If you consider the simple relationship we humans have with plants... we breath oxygen they give off and they need the carbon dioxide we exhale. That's about as close as a relationship gets - the very definition of symbiotic.

While you might not consider that to be a form of love, how we see people interact with plants can truly be expressed as a form of love. And, they will certainly say how much they love to garden, how they love their flowers, trees, and plants and how they love how the activity of gardening or being around all these plants makes them feel.

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Building Relationships

Building Relationships

by Danny Summers

Relationships. It is the lifeblood of a successful career or business. It spans all aspects of your operation... Your customers. Your staff and management team. Your growers and hardline vendors. Other relationships you have are here within The Group. The relationships built with The Group's team of Service Providers and your peer Centers is something that is very unique today.

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Simplify.

Simplify.

by Danny Summers

Let's face it. Things tend to get more and more complicated. Every time we add a new program or product, does it replace an existing one or just increase your the list of "things-to-do" and multiply your weekly, daily (or even hourly) challenges? With where your Center has been the last 15+ months, it's time to focus on simplifying your operation. You can begin at The Fall Event 2021.

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A Bright Future

A Bright Future...

by Danny Summers

That's what I see ahead for Garden Retailing and the Horticulture Industry as a whole. We have several both direct and indirect evidence to support this vision for what's beyond the horizon. First, let's consider what almost every Garden Center has experienced the past 15+ months. Reports of seeing 20-25% new customers and a high percentage of them were young. And by the questions they asked, they are new to gardening. We have wondered if they would return this spring and most indicators point to YES, they have. These new plant and gardening enthusiasts are finding their own joy and passion in their garden activities. If we can continue to help them be successful and build upon this new-found relationship with plants and their garden, this may very well be the much needed bridge of transition between boomers and the next generation. These new young customers are one of the best pieces of evidence to support the vision of "A Bright Future."

Additional evidence to support a vision for "A Bright Future" can be seen in this year's nominees for Green Profit Magazine Young Retailer of the Year Award. In the December 14th edition of GROUPtalk, we announced a new Group effort to co-sponsor and promote Green Profit Magazine Young Retailer of the Year Award for 2021. The Garden Center Group, with support from our Partners for Success, are official sponsors of the 16th annual award, along with AmericanHort.

This past week, Green Profit announced the three finalists for this year's awards. They are:

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Smarter. Not Harder.

Smarter. Not Harder.

by Danny Summers

Let's face it, with what you have been through the past 14 months, this should really get your attention.

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High Terrain

High Terrain

by Danny Summers

You are in HIGH TERRAIN today. You are and we all know it. The image above might be a micro respite from today's hectic pace, but what I am referring to is the HIGH TERRAIN of the new levels of your Garden Center sales during the Spring of 2021. This in on top of the mountain of sales most Centers developed in 2020.

With 2020 in the rear-view mirror, we were wondering if you could even match, not to mention build upon last year's performance. Seeing Week 18 (May 3-9, 2021) results just in last Friday provides a very positive outlook for surpassing 2020. Let's compare a few figures against this time last year and now.

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How About a Refill?

How About a Refill?

by Danny Summers

 

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Why?

Why?

by Danny Summers

At this time of year, this is an important question - in many ways. I am sure during these extremely busy weeks, such as this one (Mother's Day Week), exhaustion kicks in and you are wondering "Why do I do this?" or "Why do WE do this?"

To maintain a sense of balance during these wild weeks, taking a few minutes each day to take a few deep breaths and remember the "Why" can help.

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Serving You

Serving You

by Danny Summers

At first glance, this title could represent all of our Group Service Providers and our Staff and our role in serving you, our Garden Center Clients. We are certainly here to serve you. But for this conversation I want it to represent the role you have in serving your Garden Center customers. Your Garden Center serves a very important role in your community. In fact, in the past year I have described you (our Garden Center Clients) as servants to your communities. This was never more evident than what you provided in 2020.

In order to really serve your customers in the very best way possible, you must know your customers. This is definitely a challenge... Just how well do you know your customers? Is it simply by studying their purchase history, what sells and who bought it? It is more than just having their mailing address and email addresses? It is certainly more complex than the data you can access from your POS system.

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Back to School

Back to School?

by Danny Summers

 

Did you ever think we all would be going Back to School? I'm actually referring to Business School... That's what all Garden Centers in The Group have the opportunity to do. With the major Group financial programs and interacting with The Group Service Providers and peer Centers, we all have the benefit of advanced learning. It's really advanced business school for how to be most successful at Garden Retailing!

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How High?

How High?

by Danny Summers

This question may be in many Garden Center Owners' and Managers' minds today relative to sales and business in general for 2021. While we may have thought the growth seen in 2020 to be an anomaly, indications so far for 2021 point to continued growth. With more Group Centers now open and reporting in the Weekly Department Review (WDR) we are beginning to see a clearer view of what the season and year may be like for everyone.

In studying our 2020 results, we saw the increases came through a combination of growth in both Average Sale (about 1/3) and Transaction Counts (about 2/3). In the back of our minds has been the question, "Can our Centers reconnect and attract all the new customers from 2020?"

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Setting New Levels of Benchmarks

Setting New Levels of Benchmarks

by Danny Summers

The results are in from The Group's Annual P&L Study for 2020. And we all agree... the bar has certainly been raised!

I must admit when we first created the "Raising the Bar" theme for what was then to be our 2020 Fall Event, we had no idea how relative this theme would be in representing the year's total results.

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