Mitigating Inflation

Mitigating Inflation

by Sid Raisch

Let’s get right to the point. Inflation is emerging as a crisis just in time for our peak of spring business.

I’m hearing talk of Group clients who are thinking of lowering their margin expectations by passing along only their cost increases in some price increases, especially on higher cost items, but also on lower price high volume items. This notion is primarily in fear that customers will not have as much disposable income to pay so much more.  This thinking is based on what I believe to be incomplete if not faulty logic. Before it goes further it is important to carefully consider all sides of the sentiment.

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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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Hiring in the Midst of a Transforming Labor Force

Hiring in the Midst of a Transforming Labor Force

By Jean L. Seawright, CMC

Spring is right around the corner and garden centers across the country are gearing up for their annual hiring blitz. This year, the hiring blitz is taking place in the midst of a transforming labor force. After a period of introspection stemming from the pandemic, many people see the world differently. They recognize that life is fragile and that it doesn’t pay to work in a job that makes them miserable. They’ve thought deeply about the type of work that makes them happy and now want to work for a company that aligns with their personal values. These workers are voluntarily quitting their jobs in record numbers in pursuit of work they find personally fulfilling.

Garden Centers are perfectly positioned to meet this need!  In the midst of tranquil surroundings, garden centers offer employees a job with a sense of purpose, daily interaction with nature and the outdoors, the opportunity to foster human connections, less stress than a corporate environment, and work that encourages mindfulness, creativity, and balance.  Sign me up!

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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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Plant Your People

Plant Your People

By John Kennedy

 

As the road in this new year is currently being paved, and 2022 slowly appears on the horizon of your garden center’s windshield, it’s always a good idea to reflect on the past year that is disappearing in the rear-view mirror quickly before the lessons and blessings are forgotten.

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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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A Retailer's Christmas Lament

A Retailer's Christmas Lament

by Robert Hendrickson (with a little help from Santa)

We want to pass along a short video message crafted by Robert Hendrickson (with a little help from Santa).

Robert sends this to all the Group Centers working so hard this holiday season. He received it as a going away gift from 'Bad Robert' (which sounds a lot like one of the kings in Game of Thrones) as a reminder that there's always another way to approach every challenge. You can see the special video message below!



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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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Growing Success

Growing Success - Should You Start (or re-start) Growing?

by Sid Raisch

The historical supply chain shortage of 2020 and 2021 has made the work of acquiring plants from growers more difficult than any time in the past that I can recall. Yes, it was difficult, and a lot of extra work compared to years past, but you survived what is likely an anomaly of a historic and catastrophic, but episodic event. The dust will clear and our vision will clear again. The question is, will it ever be that difficult again? More importantly, will you do yourself more harm than good if you start the also very difficult process of growing?

A favorite and universal definition of Success is whatever we define it to be for ourselves, should we decide to define it. It is always better and more likely that we’ll achieve the success we ourselves define. Celebrating success is encouraging to ourselves and others and an important part of belonging to groups, whether they be our family group, a company, or The Garden Center Group. It is even more important to understand the success we’re celebrating.

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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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Back to the Future

Back to the Future

by Robert Hendrickson

I liked the movie “Back To The Future”. Cool plot, great title. (Although the phrase was first coined by Ray Bradbury in his 1951 book, The Illustrated Man.) Looks like I’m going to do exactly what the title suggests beginning January, 2022.

A friend of mine operated a book store in Evergreen, Colorado where our band was located in the early ‘70’s. During the day I stocked shelves at his store. At night he was our roadie to get into performances for free. It was a nice trade-off. The first time I saw a copy of Mother Earth News was at his store, then read every new issue that arrived. The enticement of gardens, goats, chickens and woodstoves pushed music to the side, so I headed back to Illinois and found a farm house with a barn, pond, chicken coop and deep, black soil. It was a fun but difficult ten-year learning experience. (Chickens hate being planted too deep.) A forty-seven-year detour into the garden center industry followed. But that’s coming to a close.

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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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WDR 2022 - Weekly Department Review

WDR 2022 - Weekly Department Review

by Tim Quebedeaux

This weekly snapshot into what is happening during any given year has proved itself very worthy in the last two years.  During the start of the Pandemic in the spring of 2020, it gave hope and direction to those centers whose seasons occurred later.  They could see the South and Southeast Regions sales and customer traffic not only happening, but increasing over the last year.  The WDR does this every year, but during that spring it was reassurance to those centers who could see what was coming and make decisions based on that.

A repeat performance in 2021? Almost.  We didn’t know what the revenue levels would be, but with the pandemic still having a grip, centers were once again able to see what was coming.  Being better prepared for it than they were in 2020, they were able to take advantage of the opportunity.

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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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