At Your Service!

At Your Service!

by Danny Summers

The Spring Season is now in full swing across the country. I saw this first hand this past week as I visited many of the Garden Centers in the Kansas City area while making preparations for The Fall Event 2022. It is an exciting time!

To behold a Garden Center in its greatest glory, all decked out and busting at the seams in all of nature's beauty, and to see the excitement in every Guest's eyes and the expressions on their faces when they catch a glimpse of it... it's like a kid on Christmas morning.

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Annual P&L Study 2021 - Part 2

Annual P&L Study 2021 - Part 2

by Tim Quebedeaux

For the second year in a row, the Best of the Best group is needed for comparisons for this year’s P&L Study.  The difference this year is that they replaced Best Practices in the far-right column as the top numbers for comparison.  Remember, they are the top ten in profitability among those who filled out all 5 parts of the P&L Study.  This year they increased profitability from 18-25% to 19-31%.  Nine of the ten Garden Centers in 2020 repeated this level of profitability in 2021… Perennially Profitable Garden Centers!

In 2021 we had 78 Garden Centers report to the study, and 47 filled in all 5 parts.  If you didn’t fill in all parts, please reach out to us, we can help you improve your accountability to be able to report to all 5 parts of this remarkable Study.

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The Gold Standard - Gold, Hallmark & GMROII

The Gold Standard - Gold, Hallmark & GMROII

by Danny Summers

Gold has been a highly-valued precious metal throughout recorded history. Gold hallmarks originated to show the purity of gold in a piece of gold jewelry and included the mark of the certifying office that guaranteed the purity as well as the fineness or caratage of the gold. Later, trademarks that showed which goldsmith had manufactured the product were added.

Hallmarking gold jewelry was Europe's earliest form of consumer protection, dating back to King Louis IX of France and Edward I of England in the 1200s. As craft guilds sprung up in these two dominant markets during the Middle Ages in Europe, state-appointed assayers examined precious metal goods. Their prescribed mark, and subsequently marks for individual goldsmiths and production dates, became a pre-requisite for gold items offered for public sale.

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Annual P&L Study 2021 - It's Beyond WOW!

Annual P&L Study 2021 - It's Beyond WOW!

by Tim Quebedeaux

P&L Study 2021, after the WOW year of 2020, we were prepared… and the results showed it.  But how did the pandemic and the eventual supply chain issues eventually affect our readiness for 2022? The numbers show the story.

Let’s start with the number of High Achievers (5-10% Adjusted Profit) and Best Practices (10% plus Adjusted Profit).  Both of those percentages are adjusted if you are a Retail Grower based on the amount of grown product sold.  With a record-tying 78 participating garden centers, the total number of High Achievers and Best Practices also set a new record, with a total of 65, outreaching 61 in 2020.  And even more Best Practices – 47 in 2021, three more than 2020.

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The POWER of Water!

The POWER of Water!

by Danny Summers

We know the amazing Power of Plants. We have known this instinctively for decades and we have also seen direct evidence first-hand over the last several years. At the same time, we also know water is one of the most essential resources for all living things.

In fact, our bodies are made up of at least 60% water. Do you know our brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water? The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are composed of 79%, and even the bones are watery at 31%. (READ MORE HERE).

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Mitigating Buyer’s Remorse

Mitigating Buyer’s Remorse

by Sid Raisch

(You don’t have time to NOT read this right now because you have customers deciding whether you’re too expensive, or they spent too much in your store and if they’ll never be back.)

What is “buyer’s remorse”? In a word, buyer’s remorse is regret. There are two main sources of buyer’s remorse. One is a cognitive dissonance, where the investment in the purchase consumes the financial resource that could have alternatively been invested in something else of near equal desire. Another is a fear that the purchased item or service isn’t worth the amount it cost. There is some lag time between the customers decision to purchase and the questioning of that decision and in that gap of time is precisely where an appropriate and intelligent effort to counteract the emotion is necessary.

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Neighborhood or Agrihood?

Neighborhood or Agrihood?

by Danny Summers

If the interest in gardening and nature could reach even higher, there are a number of new communities being planned that will be solid evidence it can and will. They are called Agrihoods and they are described in a number of ways such as "Farm to Table Lifestyle" or "Farm & Garden Communities" and even "Healthy Living: Garden & Farming Neighborhoods."

Do a quick web search for the term "Agrihood" and you will see a number of them already in existence or in the planning stages all across the country. One such planned community called "The Grow" east of Orlando, Florida, recently received county approval for its 1200+ acre site. Here's a portion of their narrative:

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The Mark of a Good Mark

The Mark of a Good Mark

by Tom Kegley

Your logo might be the most powerful tool in your marketing kit. Not to be confused with your brand– the sum of your reputation and your customer’s experience with and perception of you. Your logo is the mark of your brand– the salutation and closing signature of all your graphic communication.

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Making a Difference

Making a Difference

by Danny Summers

If we were to have any principle ideas to wake up to every morning one could very well be "making a difference." These three small words have a natural place in faith, family, friends and work. I think it also fits the purpose of our Garden Centers by encouraging guests to find joy through gardening and plants. The simple act of planting a tree or cultivating any plant helps make a difference in our shared world and can benefit many more people through the years.

The Fall Event 2022 will take place in Kansas City, Missouri, September 19-22. There is so much to see and experience and we will be sharing much more in the coming weeks leading up to our arrival. 

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Thank You Steve Bailey

Thank You Steve & Bonnie Bailey

April 1, 2022

Steve Bailey's blog message Thank You (and more, there's always more!) provides a story of their journey and how he (and Bonnie) became the craftsman behind all of The Group's Financial Sharing Programs over the past 20+ years. Steve's observations and teachings have helped so many Garden Centers set their path for success and has laid the foundation for more to come through Tim Quebedeaux.

On Friday, April 1, 2022, The Group gathered in a GROUPtalk LIVE Session to salute Steve and Bonnie Bailey and say THANK YOU for all you have brought to The Group, our Centers, and the industry! Even on an extremely busy Friday morning, in the beginning of spring, many took the time to honor Steve and Bonnie Bailey for all they have done for their Garden Center. In the words you hear in this session, you can get a clear feeling of what the work Steve and Bonnie have done for each Garden Center, The Garden Center Group, and the Industry as a whole.

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Thank You (and more, there’s always more!)

Thank You (and more... there’s always more!)

by Steve Bailey

I’ll say it right off the bat - I despise the word “lucky”. The only word I dislike as much as “lucky” is “hate”. So, I won’t say I “hate” the word “lucky”.

What’s all this got to do with me riding off into the sunset? In just a few words, quite a bit. The Roman philosopher Seneca said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. I beg to differ.

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Balancing or Juggling?

Balancing or Juggling?

by Danny Summers

It's Spring and that time of the year when you have more things to do than minutes in a day. It certainly is a balancing act. Without being there in person, it is difficult for anyone else to have a real understanding of what it's like. Maybe the easiest way to explain to anyone outside the Garden Center is ... the average Garden Center receives about 70% of their annual business in a 12-week period. That's 70% in 23% of the time (like 4 quarts in a 2-quart jar)!

Hopefully for you, most of the time, it feels like a balancing act. That is a steady position on the balance beam, one foot over the next. Or just like the image above, both hands steadily holding onto both balls equally.

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Mitigating Sticker Shock

Mitigating Sticker Shock

By Sid Raisch

“Oh, I didn’t think it was going to be THAT much!”

(You don’t have time to NOT read this right now because you have customers thinking, if not saying that very thing in your store.)

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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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We Grow What We Feed

We Grow What We Feed

By John Kennedy

As we continue into the busy season, we want to ensure that we are growing our people just as well as we are growing our plants. We know what a plant needs to thrive (water, fertilizer, and sunlight) but what about our people?  In this short video, you will learn that there are three important fertilizers your people need from you in order to thrive--To be Heard. To be Valued. To be Respected.

The majority of employees who leave organizations claim the top three reasons they left are lack of appreciation (catching them doing something right) delegation (teaching new skills to improve their personal and professional development needs) and communication (being in the know and understanding the “why” relating to their work).  To be heard, valued and respected are outcomes of these efforts…we grow what we feed!

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Circle... The Circle Back

Circle…Then Circle Back

By John Kennedy

As we “spring forward,” we hope to not fall back into old habits!  One bad habit many managers and owners have is the habit of saying too little…until it’s too late.

The opportunity to say more up front and explain not only “What” needs to get done and “How” it needs to get done, but the “Why” with new and existing staff, can lead to less confusion, stress, and frustration—a recipe for disaster in a busy spring with an already uphill fight for employees.

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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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