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The GREEN Escape

The Great Green Escape

by Danny Summers

Depending on your preference of movie genre (and maybe the number of "seasons") you may recognize the original title here. It takes us back to one of the most iconic war movies, originally released in 1963. It featured a star-studded cast including Steve McQueen along with James Garner, Richard Attenborough, James Donald, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, James Coburn, David McCallum, and many more. But that's not what I was thinking of when this title idea came to mind.

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A Song for Spring

A Song for Spring

by Danny Summers

Anticipation

No, that's not the song I was thinking about for the title of this article, but that's a great way to begin and one of Karen and my favorites... by Carly Simon.

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Sharing the Good News

Sharing the Good News

by Danny Summers

Sharing the "Good News" of Joy and Knowledge of Plants and Gardening is a wonderful gift that our Garden Centers do every day. In its very purest form, it is sharing a love for nature.

We all have a favorite teacher we can remember who made a big impact on us growing up and we also have friends and family that influenced us with their talents and interests in hobbies and treasured activities.

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On Your Mark, Get Set... (you know the rest)

On Your Mark, Get Set... (you know the rest)

by Danny Summers

We all know spring is right around the corner. Actually, as I review our Week 7 Weekly Department Review (WDR) report as I write this blog message, it sure looks like spring is already arriving, especially across the South and Southeast Regions. In recent weeks we have been watching negative year-to-date sales totals for all regions, with very early numbers of course. As each week progresses, those negatives have been reducing and Week 7 pushed Total Group numbers into positives to be ahead of last year. And now the race begins!

The idea of this message started out being more of "Get Ready" but it appears the race may have already begun. Here in the Southeast it feels like an early arrival having cut Daffodils several weeks ago for inside enjoyment and now seeing cherries in full bloom and our native red maples beginning to show spring foliage. Keep in mind here in North Metro Atlanta (we are zone 7), spring can arrive as early as late February and as late as mid to late March. This year, it appears to be on the early side.

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Growing Numbers

Growing Numbers

by Danny Summers

We are in a world of Growing Numbers. This beautiful spring photo from Longwood Gardens exemplifies where we are in Garden Retailing today. Each beautiful flower in this photo could easily represent your guests (customers). If we take a minute to think back over the last two years it will reveal this title.

In 2020 Group Centers recorded their largest single-year gains in Total Sales with over +20%, created by a 60/40 split of Transaction Counts and Average Sale. Centers reported seeing upwards of +25% new guests with many or most being young, first-timers to gardening. Overall, the 2020 Annual P&L Study results posted new levels of performance in almost all areas of benchmarking since the P&L Study began in 2004.

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How Will You Measure Up - The 2021 P&L Study is Coming!

How Will You Measure Up - The 2021 P&L Study is Coming!

by Danny Summers

You may have first seen this image last year as I shared some expectations of the Annual P&L Study from 2020 only a week away at the time. If you were there for the March GROUPtalk LIVE session when Steve Bailey and Tim Quebedeaux shared the results, you know the numbers from 2020 P&L Study were pretty incredible and set a new bar for our total Group as well as our Best Practices Centers.

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Pride in Your Work

Pride in Your Work

by Danny Summers

We have known for years there were countless people who went to work everyday to a job they did not like, maybe even hated. I have often said, "Life's too short not to enjoy what you do." For those our us in the "green industry" I think most of us feel very fortunate to be where we are. We may have had some employers or bosses who we wished were different, but overall, people who work with plants every day have a different outlook on life and it makes this one of the most rewarding places to be!

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Customers or Guests?

Customers or Guests?

by Danny Summers

In sending all Group Centers Owners a reminder for the 2022 Group Mystery Shopper Program this past week, I started thinking about the typical Mystery Shopper and all of your customers.

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The Possibilities of Plants

The Possibilities of Plants

By Danny Summers

If you were with us at TPIE 2022 last week, you will understand my thoughts in this message today. Let's begin by seeing if you agree with this statement:

"Interest in Plants and Gardening has never been higher."

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It's Time for Tropicals!

It's Time for Tropicals!

by Danny Summers

This time of year there is one category that stands out above all others. It's tropicals!

It's easy to understand why this expected pattern is an annual occurrence. It's wintertime and unless you are located in the very southern parts of the country, most likely being indoors is your best option (and best for your plants that are growing and not in winter dormancy).

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Teamwork!

Teamwork!

by Danny Summers

Very few activities exemplifies TEAMWORK like being part of a competitive rowing crew. Though I have never participated in this sport, I think everyone being so in-sync to produce the best (in this case... fastest) results is a great way for us visualize TEAMWORK.

What about TEAMWORK in your Garden Center? The goal of every Garden Center should be to create a fun and rewarding environment for each team member to be excited, motivated and inspired to be an important part of your team with the purpose to ultimately serve the customer.

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The Group Winter Tour - Are You Ready?

The Group Winter Tour - Are You Ready?

by Danny Summers

Are you ready for a Winter Tour of The Group's Garden Centers?

Does this get your attention? I hope so. The Garden Center Group's Winter Tour is very convenient. It can begin on that first cold winter day when you have plenty of time and a hot cup of coffee or tea. It will be time to explore dozen's of fellow Group Centers you have never seen or maybe haven't seen in years.

You can travel on your own schedule. Begin, then decide where to visit and pause when needed. At each stop as you see things you like or want to know more about, you can take a minute and send that Center a quick email.

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What Will Your Customers Think of You?

What Will Your Customers Think of You?

by Danny Summers

Most of the time if you ask yourself this question, or even ask your team the question, the responses are likely based on overall feedback, aka "gut feel." While you may hear positive feedback, most of what comes to the surface are those customers who have a problem - the negatives. So in the absence of problems, you may think everything is GREAT. But is it?

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What's New? v2.0

What's New? v2.0

by Danny Summers

 

You may remember this title and banner used earlier. Actually, it was July 19th of this year and we had just returned from Cultivate'21. It was the GROUPtalk edition where I shared the Cool Product Awards from Cultivate'21. It had been 18 months since we had attended the final trade shows before the pandemic hit. MANTS of 2020 was the last one for me until this year's Cultivate'21. There was a big 18-month gap and Cultivate'21 yielded many more new products being nominated than usual. As dramatic as the 18 months in between was for our industry and your business, I believe one of the biggest gaps we experienced was identifying What's New.

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Very Special Things

Very Special Things

by Danny Summers

When something is very special, you would often describe it as "one of a kind". That is certainly the case with our most special relationships. Our spouse, family and closest friends could easily be in this group. Most of us have very special things our family has passed down through generations that we hold so dear and treasure greatly.

So what about plants, or our garden? You might have a family heirloom plant that has been passed down to you from a parent or grandparent and that plant is so very special to you. Most likely you have favorite plants in your garden. Their blooms or fragrance or just stature earns them a place of high esteem in your garden. They make you feel good.

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20/20 Vision

20/20 Vision

by Danny Summers

Twenty-twenty vision. It is something everyone wants but often it is not what we get.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary says twenty-twenty vision definition is "Good vision : the ability to see without glasses."

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It's Coming!

It's Coming!

by Danny Summers

Yes, Christmas time and the Holiday Season is here. You know it first-hand by just the hustle and bustle around your Center today. Most likely the sounds and smell of evergreens proves it.

I want to share a special message we have for you, our Group Centers, from all of our Group Team. You can see a preview of it by just clicking on the image above.

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Green with Envy!

Green with Envy!

by Danny Summers

It is so obvious. All you have to do is observe advertising trends to see how plants and gardening are being used to capture attention. We see major brands trying to leverage the natural "goodness" of plants and the activity of gardening as they promote whatever they want to sell. Most have nothing to do with plants or gardening.

It must be one of two possible strategies for why they would position their product or services parallel to plants or gardening. First, it might be to just capture the attention of the audience, realizing plants and gardening are one of the top growth categories over the past 18 months. The second possible strategy might be simply trying to absorb some of the positive "greenness" and to it imply they care, their products are wholesome, or good for you or the environment. It's like saying, "Hey our products are just as good as plants or gardening."

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Your Compass

Your Compass

by Danny Summers

Navigating or setting the right course can be tricky. There has been some Group discussion recently on how to see over the horizon into 2022 with the last two years in the rearview mirror. When I think of navigating and today's tools for today's travelers, I am reminded of the way our kids (grown adults today) navigate as they travel.

I admit, I am revealing what generation I grew up in and I am just as quick to rely on my iPhone to set the course by SIRI and Apple Maps. It's really cool and fast and I can almost be on autopilot. There's not much thinking needed except avoiding the other cars. But at the same time, I feel we are missing out on some very important skills. The art and skills of navigation.

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Imagine

Imagine

by Danny Summers

Just imagine... No boundaries. No restrictions. No barriers. Nothing but "blue sky" space to think about things you normally don't. It's like those long summer days when you were a kid and had a world of time to dream big things and make stuff up. Let's open the doors and windows of your mind to just... imagine.

In 2015, The Fall Event was in Orlando and we had the opportunity to have Simon T. Bailey present to The Group. His presentation was based on his then most current book, 'Release Your Brilliance'. Simon said, "Up to the age of 4, most children are operating at a genius (or brilliance) level." He went on to say by the time they reach their early 20's only 20% are there and by their early 30's, only 2% are operating at a genius level. He added, by the time the average child is 17 years of age they have heard the word NO 150,000 times and YES only 5,000 times. Simon has continued on his quest to help everyone find their brilliance. Since then, he has authored five additional books to help encourage his audience's brilliance. You can see them HERE.

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