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Measuring Up

Measuring Up

by Danny Summers

Will your Center measure up? We know your Center most likely had one of its best years ever in 2020, despite the operational challenges of the pandemic. I bet you served more customers and helped many new ones discover the joy of gardening and plants. But back to the original question...

How does your Center's performance in 2020 compare to all the others in The Group? We are about to find out as we see the results of The Group's Annual P&L Study for 2020. Steve Bailey and Tim Quebedeaux have been crunching all the numbers from reporting centers over the last 2 weeks and this Thursday will be the unveiling of the results from one of the most unusual years ever.

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What's Your Score?

What's Your Score?

by Danny Summers

What's Your Score?
From your customer's perspective... that is a very important question.

In a matter of days or weeks, your Center will see the normal surge of customers with that "Spring Fever" look in their eyes and this important question will begin to be answered by the only people that really matter... your customers. Many of you may already been seeing them. We all know it takes a lot of preparation and training to meet and exceed the customer's expectations and therefore receive their highest scores. High scores relate to repeat visits, and connected and loyal customers. If asked, how will they answer this question?

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Finger on the Pulse!

Finger on the Pulse!

by Danny Summers

This is a very important function of managing your Garden Center today. One of the major benefits of Group participation was most evident in the spring of last year. I remember it very well, just like it was yesterday.

It was Monday, March 23rd, the beginning of Week 13 and that was when we saw the first of our centers being forced to close due to state mandates. Fortunately that Center was in the middle part of the country where spring had not really began yet. Over the next few weeks, most all centers began to deal with new issues, whether business restrictions, new safety protocols and of course staffing issues.  Many Centers had to quickly assess their position with large portions of in-bound orders scheduled for delivery and how they would be able to serve their customers in the coming weeks. In addition, they were wondering what the reaction to stay-at-home orders would be in the minds of the customer. One very important Group connection point was the ability for Centers in the middle to northern portions of the country to watch what was happening down south. Let's look at a few figures from the Weekly Department Review (WDR) from a few of those weeks.

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What is a Garden?

What is a Garden?

by Danny Summers

What is a Garden?
To really understand and appreciate both the question and the many possible answers let's do some exploring together...

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Your Message

Your Message

by Danny Summers

This is a very important subject. Of course it begins with the question... What is your message? There are several levels to the answer. The over-arching purpose for your center is just a start. Then you may develop a theme for the coming season or year. Then it can be broken down to weeks, special holidays, recognized events and or intra-seasonal activities. There's a lot of things to consider and as Tom Kegley has said, developing a message that is uniquely yours is very important and takes time. After all, it's your BRAND! (This would be a great place for me to remind you to revisit Tom Kegley's "Let Your Brand Rock" blog article.)

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How Will You Know?

How Will You Know?

by Danny Summers

It was November 22, 1985 and a young Whitney Houston offered her debut album. On it was a soon-to-be hit... How Will I Know. The lyrics of Whitney's song was crafted around a boy-relationship (of course), but the title also fits my message to you this week. One of the prominent lines is "How will I know... if he really loves me?" Now let's pivot to your Center and the spring ahead of us.

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Garden Center vs. a JOY Center?

Garden Center vs. a JOY Center?

by Danny Summers

As Garden Retailers, you have so much to share to everyone, even to those who are not aware of it. Have you ever considered your Center being a JOY Center? Here's a few thoughts of alternate names for describing your Center:

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Only REAL Christmas Trees...

Only REAL Christmas Trees...

by Danny Summers

Seeing so many REAL Christmas Trees atop cars this week is a wonderful sight. By REAL of course I mean LIVE Christmas Trees. It is a tradition which began in the 1500's long before the automobile and is credited to German-American immigrants bringing the tradition to North America. You can read more of this story HERE. Allow me to finish the title for this message... "Only REAL Christmas Trees... deserve to be named."

This is an idea shared several years ago and has spread in more of our centers. Growing a live tree takes time – 6 to 12 years which makes it much more special than a mass-produced "live-like" (a.k.a. fake) one. The use of evergreens for decorating "the halls" also brings the wonderful scents we all remember during the holidays.

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Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays

by Danny Summers

Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?

Most sources you read and people you talk to are pretty much in agreement... the general public is going to be staying close to home this fall and winter throughout the Holiday Season.

We have recently seen some Group discussion on this subject in our GroupEs eList and the consensus is this could be a bigger than normal Fall and Christmas decorating season. Hosting more close family gatherings is likely and bringing Fall and Holiday color home may be just what everyone needs to create a comforting environment.


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Who's Your Competition?

Who's Your Competition?

by Danny Summers

When asked this question, I know the usual answer you might give is the garden center across town or even the big box down the street. It is a natural reaction. But the best answer may be quite different. It is normal to think about others who are in the same business as you and consider competing with them in a battle for the same business or customers.

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A Growing Trend

A Growing Trend

by Danny Summers

Foodies, Home-Grown, Garden-to-Table, Modern Homesteading, and More

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Humor Therapy

Humor Therapy

by Danny Summers

It's time for some Humor Therapy. If you do any kind of search for Humor Therapy you will quickly find lots of resources. For instance, the University of Michigan Health System says, "Humor therapy (sometimes called therapeutic humor) uses the power of smiles and laughter to aid healing. Humor Therapy helps you find ways to make yourself (or others) smile and laugh more. When you think of Humor Therapy, you may picture clowns in the children's ward of a hospital cheering up sick children. Some hospitals now have humor carts that provide funny materials for people of any age. Many nurses have learned the value of providing a good laugh to those for whom they are nursing.

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Remembering Something Special

Remembering Something Special

by Danny Summers

For any Boomer reading this, it will certainly take you back to your childhood days. For anyone younger, I hope I can share what is was like for us and what I see that may be creating that same feeling all over again for many.

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Raising the Bar - in 2020

Raising the Bar - in 2020

by Danny Summers

"A funny thing happens when you RAISE THE BAR. People find a way to get over it, once they realize it's expected. Human beings can do amazing things - if they're asked to." 

   ~ John Powers, Boston Globe Writer and Author of 'Friday's with Bill' (Belichick).

 

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The Cost of Creativity

The Cost of Creativity

With Comments from Robert and Danny

[Robert] "Danny called me last Monday and asked about my Super Bowl commercial review. Old news now, so a quick response. For once, the game was way better than any commercial. Other than the extended spot the NFL ran at the beginning, then maybe the Bill Murray Groundhog Day one since it was groundhog day, there was nothing super about any commercial this year."

[Danny] In case you missed the one ad Robert mentions above, simply click on the image here to see it. Robert's top-pick of JEEP's replay of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day is actually the winner of USA Today's Ad Meter - See details here.

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When a Writer Calls...

When a Writer Calls...

by Danny Summers

This past fall I received an introduction email and then a call from a writer who was assigned the task of creating a story for Better Homes & Garden magazine. The subject started out as:

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The Value of Creativity

The Value of Creativity

by Danny Summers

 

It is amazing to see what creativity can do. Whether it is displays in-store, signage, or your marketing message, real creativity is priceless. We have seen and heard how big corporations spend millions producing major ads for product launches or even special events like The Super Bowl which we will see in a few weeks. Most fail to make a big splash or impact. Only a few rise to the top and even onward to the award-winning archives such as ones we remember from long ago. This include Budweiser's Puppy Love from 2014, Apple's original Mac launch in 1984, or Coke's Mean Joe Green and Kid ad in 1980 (Revisit these in our February 11, 2019 GROUPtalk HERE). Or you may even remember Coke's "We'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" in 1971. These are etched into the hearts and minds of millions and are at top of marketing history.

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The New Garden Center Customer - Part 2

The New Garden Center Customer - Part 2

By Danny Summers

 

In Part 1 we reviewed how we are now in a transition of sorts where in 2019, "Baby Boomers" are projected to start a slow decline in numbers over the coming ears and where "Millennials" are projected to have overtaken Boomers in the top spot as percentage of population. Let's explore this further together...

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The New Garden Center Customer - Part 1

The New Garden Center Customer - Part 1

by Danny Summers

This is a time of transition, a time of change.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy said, "Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."

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The Benefit of Community to Grow Your Business-Part 1

The Benefit of Community to Grow Your Business - Part 1

by Danny Summers

COMMUNITY: The idea for this message has been developing in my mind over recent months. As I have talked with Retailers, both inside and outside The Group some observations have come together to support these ideas. I will share these observations in several segments in the coming weeks. Here's Part 1.

Earlier this year I received a call from a veteran garden retailer whom I have known and respected for a number of years. During the conversation, he talked about all the opportunities he had through the many years to meet and interact with fellow retailers at industry events and develop life-long relationships that have helped him be successful. He added that many of those events were no longer in existence today. He went on to tell me one of his sons was coming back into the business and he expressed his concern about how his son would develop business relationships, like he did. He went on to say he sees The Group as one of the very best opportunities today to network with fellow garden retailers, share great level of details, and build connections and relationships that could help his son to be successful.

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