The Search for NEW and DIFFERENT - Parts 1 & 2

The Search for NEW and DIFFERENT - Parts 1 & 2

by Danny Summers

The Search for what's New and Different can be exciting. It brings with it a level of anticipation and intrigue. You never know what you will find and while most of the time the "finds" are of minor gains or impact, sometimes they are big gains. And in the plant world in which we live, new plants can create some of the most excitement for us.

This past week, many of us experienced Cultivate'22 along with thousands of other industry participants. This year, international participation was back strong and overall Cultivate'22 was extremely busy. We had a great group of Retailers who worked the show to nominate and vote on our Retailers' Choice Awards™ (a special Thank You to all of you who did).

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A Better Facility = Better Marketing

A Better Facility = Better Marketing

by Sid Raisch

Part 1 of a Series with the Theme “A Better _______ = Better Marketing”
  [Go to Part 2 "A Better Merchandise Selection = Better Marketing - HERE]

A Better Facility = Better Marketing - Architectural Word of Mouth


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Polishing the Details

Polishing Details

by Danny Summers

As Group Centers are closing the books on Spring 2022 and the first half of the year, this is the perfect time to not only review the results but also begin to set in motion your plans for Polishing Details for the second half of the year and even 2023.

We have just received details from Tim Quebedeaux for The Group's Mid-Year Weekly Department Review (WDR) and we can now see individual category performances compared to previous years.

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Shopping Habits of 2022

Shopping Habits of 2022

By Danny Summers

ATTENTION: You have an assignment!

As I share this message with you this week, Tim Quebedeaux is finalizing our Mid-Year Weekly Department Review (WDR) and this is always an exciting time to see how the balance of sale by-category (department) compares to previous years. While we have the Year-to-Date tracking each week for what we call "The Big Three"... Sales, Average Sale, and Transaction Count, we can only see sales (and margin) by category for each particular week. As we wait eagerly on the Mid-Year WDR details, there is something I would like for you to consider.

Setting the stage for my challenge this week for each Center, let me first provide a refresher that we all know well from the previous two years and compared against our YTD numbers from Week 26. (Note: These figures are comparing the WDR – Week 26 for 2020, 2021 and 2022.)

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Search for the Best!

Search for the Best!

by Danny Summers

New Plants and New Products create excitement. The combination of anticipation, expectations, and optimism drives the powerful will to explore. Just ask Indiana Jones – although he wasn't searching for what's new.

The interest in what's new is certainly true in our industry and two weeks from now, many of us will be at Cultivate'22 in Columbus, Ohio. While its roots have been in floriculture production, today Cultivate includes all segments of the industry and covers all five of what I call our standard greengoods categories: Annuals, Herbs/Veggies, Perennials, Shrubs and Trees – and even a few Tropicals.

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Bring Your Best

Bring Your Best

by Danny Sumnmers

At first glance at this title, you might think it could be encouraging you to "Bring Your Best" to work every day. Or it could be an over-arching goal for everything you do. And both should be a goal. But this title is directed toward all of the combined knowledge, experience, and perspectives we will have as we meet at The Fall Event 2022. If we visualize all of the people sitting in the opening session, many are seasoned Garden Retailers, some are new to their positions, and some are the very best suppliers we have in our industry. Then if you add all our team of Group Service Providers we have even more combined experience. But it's not just the most experienced people that add so much – it's also the newcomers to the business. The younger generation comes from other backgrounds and has new and fresh perspectives and ideas.

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What Recession?

What Recession?

by Sid Raisch

“It’s the ECONOMY!”

Once in a while there’s a phrase that’s quoted and wins an election as this one did. Similarly we are running for election by our customers and other constituents (all the people in our audience) to support if not come into our store every day they go to a store, or could (including online store).

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The Power of Connection

The Power of Connection!

by Danny Summers

I believe the Power of Connection can mean everything! We saw first-hand what all of us being connected through The Group meant during the turbulent weeks in the spring of 2020. And even since then the Power of Connection has shown us much more. It enabled us to quickly pivot to react to the changing retail environment and needs of your Guests. It also provided results from these positive management changes through our Annual P&L Studies for both 2020 and 2021. The fact is your Power of Connection with 130+ peer Centers through The Group offers the unique resources many other Centers do not have.

The Power of Connection could also describe what we have witnessed over the past two years with so many people being drawn to the activity of gardening and having plants in their lives. Last year at The Fall Event 2021 we experienced The Nature Fix story by Florence Williams and why we all need more nature in our lives. This has not changed in 2022, even though sometimes weather restricts our opportunities. The Power of Connection with gardening and plants and their positive benefits should remain one of our primary focuses to share with everyone.

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Service Please!

Service Please!

by Danny Summers

Sir Winston Churchill once said, "We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give."

This simply yet powerful statement emphasizes the importance of serving. Whether serving our family, our faith, our community, our country, or each and every person we see each day, the act of serving has great value. This also relates to every Guest that enters your Center. On May 2 of this year you may remember a message I shared titled "At Your Service". In that message, I said there is one thing you and your Team can do to begin... (Ok, actually 3 things)

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Your GroupSpace – A Preview for The Fall Event 2022

Your GroupSpace – A Preview for The Fall Event 2022

by John Kennedy

As we inch closer to The Fall Event 2022, we wanted to highlight some of the presentations, people and products that will join us in Kansas City.

As you may have known from previous GROUPtalks, John & Souny Kennedy have created a wonderful digital platform that allows a busy Garden Center to run at maximum efficiency and engagement. It was originally created specifically for our Garden Center Group Clients and is called GroupSpace.

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The Final Stretch

The Final Stretch

by Danny Summers

With a quick glance at the calendar and the Weekly Department Review (WDR) it is easy to see we are in "The Final Stretch" the spark for this blog post title. This has certainly been a different season, a late-arriving spring almost everywhere and when comparing numbers from the previous two years which both arrived earlier (and maybe stayed longer), we have had some year-to-date deficits to overcome this season.

I must admit I normally don't follow horse racing and normally don't watch the major races. We have enjoyed being with close friends who live in the Lexington and Louisville Kentucky areas in past years and have actually been to both Churchill Downs and Keeneland (just not on the big race days). Our friends Louis and Betsy Hillenmeyer have taken us to several of the farms around Lexington and we have marveled at the wonderful horses we saw there. But a few weeks ago when hearing the news following this year's Kentucky Derby, I realized there could be a correlation between the story of this year's Kentucky Derby unlikely winner and our Garden Retailing efforts this year. Here's just a little of the story of Rich Strike, the 1st Place Winner of the 148th running of The Kentucky Derby...

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Water the Bamboo

Water the Bamboo

by John Kennedy

 

As Danny’s article, The Final Stretch, and the featured video shows, closing strong is always vital to any mindset in business and life. What a stunning finish. The heart & soul of a champion!

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Beyond the Boundaries

Beyond the Boundaries!

by Danny Summers

This week begins our roll-out of plans for The Fall Event 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. Let me start by saying I am confident this will rival the very best in The Group's history. Just think about the very best Fall Event you have experienced and know this will be even better!

It's all coming together in Kansas City... the location with so many wonderful things to do, our hotel and its character and location - just a block from dozens of great restaurants and shops, plus amazing Garden Centers to explore on Tour Day. Kansas City has it all and September 19-22 will be a wonderful time for all of us to share, learn and grow!

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Yes, this one IS about YOU!

Yes, This One IS About YOU!

by Sid Raisch

“Is this about me?” This is a common question as most things I write about are common among garden retailers. No, you’re not alone in this weird business. (Other article writers tell me this also happens to them.)

Weird is as weird does. Everyone is weird in some way. Some of us are weirder than others, some are weird in a weird way, and some are really weird in every way. Nobody escapes, not even you or me. Outside of our weirdness, we have many things in common with each other.

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What Matters the Most

What Matters the Most

by Danny Summers

This past week, I ran across a short story that I had seen and enjoyed before. I have seen it titled several different ways and always its author is listed as "unknown." It's Week 21 and this is some of the busiest times for you and your Center. It's Week 21 and this is some of the busiest times for you and your Center, but I hope you will take a few minutes to read (or re-read) this story of making time for what matters most...

When things in our lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

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Annual P&L Study 2021 - Being the Best!

Annual P&L Study 2021 – Being the Best!

by Tim Quebedeaux

From Raising the Bar to Pushing the Boundaries!  In the 2019 P&L Study the top line comparison was changed from the High Achiever and Best Practices group, to only the Best Practices Group.  Well, that changed in 2020, in creating the Best of the Best Group, which in 2021’s P&L Study, took the place of the Best Practices group as the lop line in the Study to compare against.

Like in marksmanship, we want everyone to aim small, miss small. This small group of Best of the Best (BOTB) had 9 of the 10 Garden Centers repeat in 2021.  We wanted to show a standard above what had been presented in the past. Not only did this give everyone a higher standard to aim for, it gives the Best Practices Group (largest number ever at 48) a chance to raise their own standards.

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Report Card Grade - Not Yet

Report Card Grade: Not Yet!

by Danny Summers

At first glance, you might think I am referring to Spring 2022 performance numbers and this title very well could be used to describe the late spring arrival and the numbers we are seeing in the Weekly Department Review (WDR). But I want to first ask the question... Have you ever heard of a Report Card Grade of "Not Yet"? I hadn't until a few weeks ago when I found a quote by Dr. Carol Dweck to use in the April 25th edition of GROUPtalk for the Quote of the Week. The quote is:

“The hallmark of successful people is that they are always stretching themselves to learn new things."  ~ Dr. Carol S. Dweck

Dr. Dweck is a renowned psychologist who introduced the world to the term “growth mindset”. She is the author of Mindset, a book that introduced the differences between a Fixed Mindset and a Growth Mindset. As I read more and even watched several presentations of Dr. Dweck's work and her research on having a growth mindset, I realized this is not just for children and their development. It applies to all of us.

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Annual P&L Study 2021 - Part 4

Annual P&L Study 2021 - Part 4

by Tim Quebedeaux

To unlock the door to profitability, two Key Performance Indicators are needed to hit their goals, Inventory Turns and GMROII.  The largest Best Practices group in the P&L Study history (with 44 Garden Centers in 2020) was surpassed in 2021 with 47! Below is a list of 37 of these Centers with the remaining 10 (Best of the Best) to follow.

2021 P&L Study Best Practices Group


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Hot Water in the Bathtub

Hot Water in the Bathtub

by Danny Summers

I know what you're thinking... What does this have to do with Garden Retailing?

This is a visual illustration of a concept I learned a long time ago. It relates to both balance of sale as well as ways to raise your overall margin percentages.

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Annual P&L Study 2021 - Part 3

Annual P&L Study - Part 3

by Tim Quebedeaux

Today we will reveal who is in the High Achievers Group defined as attaining between 5% & 10% Adjusted Profit in 2021. Eighteen Garden Centers were able to navigate through all the challenges of last year to achieve an average of 8% profitability. 

The High Achievers of the 2021 P&L Study:

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