Building Bridges

Building Bridges

by Danny Summers

This is a message for the future with observations and inspiration from the past.

The idea for this message came to me as we began to study Cincinnati as the site for The Fall Event 2023. There are five main bridges connecting Cincinnati to Kentucky just across the Ohio River. The oldest, and most stunning, is the one pictured here... now known as the John A. Roebling Bridge. Its story is both amazing and inspirational. This is a story of ground-breaking design that led the way for other bridges around the world, including a very famous one (more on that a little later).

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2022 P&L Study Review & Awards - Part B

2022 P&L Study Review & Awards - Part B

by Tim Quebedeaux

After recognizing the Winners of the Game – in P&L Study 2022 – Part A, we begin to look at what standards they set. Besides the big KPI’s reported in the first part of the study, we now look into the next few KPI’s measured in the study.

Your Physical Facility is an important part of your business and ultimately your profitability. Besides being a leading factor in which products you prominently present to your customers, it also gives you an allowance to charge what you need to so that you are profitable. Let’s dive into some Physical Facility Standards or benchmarks. We measure 3 major ratios: Revenues per Parking Space, Revenues per Acre, and Revenues per POS Terminal. By measuring these key ratios, we compare against the benchmarks as an alarm bell. If you are generating more than the standard in any of these metrics, you should be alarmed not into action but into investigation. For example, if you are generating more than one million per POS terminal, then you want to look at your busiest weekend to determine if you need to increase the number of terminals to handle peak business. From there take action as needed.

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Reaching Your Audience

Reaching Your Audience

by Danny Summers

Reaching Your Audience has changed... a lot! If we could turn back time about 20 years, we would see Garden Centers reaching their audience in almost completely different ways... such as through direct mail, newspaper ads, a local radio stations, and email was becoming more widely used.

Fast-forward to today and the list has changed... almost completely. There is very limited direct mail being used today, and most of those are postcards and Every Door Delivery (EDD). A few Centers are still using local radio but streaming services such as Spotify and SiriusXM is attracting larger audiences. And a number of social platforms have reached new heights of influence.

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2022 P&L Study Review & Awards - Part A

2022 P&L Study Review & Awards - Part A

by Tim Quebedeaux

Congrats to all the Garden Group Centers that reported in the 2022 P&L Study! To be able to even think about changing your business for the better, you need to be able to measure what you are going to change. Being able to report to The Garden Center Group Annual P&L Study is a great start! Once you have that accountability in the numbers, the all-important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), you can begin to hold your business accountable for its profitability!

The P&L Study measures many different KPI0s. It starts with the big one, Revenue by category or department. Then it measures the next three as a percentage of those revenues, Cost of Goods Sold (and the reciprocal, Margin), Operating Expenses, Wage & Wage Benefits. Leaving us with the most important measurement that we all depend on, Profitability.

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For Busy Times – New WDR Online Quick Views

For Busy Times – New WDR Online Quick Views

By Danny Summers

The Weekly Department Review, known by all of The Group as WDR, has seen great change and development over the 20+ years since its beginning. First beginning as a fax-based composite report, then moving to an email and spreadsheet-based program, it has become a unique tool for knowing the pulse of business activity. It began with only a handful of Centers participating to well over a hundred reporting today and has seen much growth, further development, and acceptance through the years. Since its beginning, the WDR's most unique feature is that it is fully open (not blind) and you can see each Center's name.

Just as the jump from fax to email meant a major milestone, so has another been set beginning this year as the WDR moved to a web-based system. This move has changed the WDR from a static report, a snapshot at a particular point in time, to a position of LIVE DATA with tremendous data mining capabilities. In January, as we introduced the new WDR Online, we did so with over 9 different views for comparing, filtering, and analyzing many points of data. And now we have added even more.

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Save More Now, So You Can Spend More Later

Save More Now, So You Can Spend More Later

by Sid Raisch

The best time to save money is to reduce spending precisely when and where we are spending the most.

There is never a time that we spend more than right now in the peak of spring in this business. Reducing spending by a small percentage now yields greater dollars of savings than saving a big percentage, but a small amount in July, August, January, or February. Let’s spend less all the time.

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Riding the Wave

Riding the Wave

by Danny Summers

We have talked before about the trend of seeing Plants and the activity of Gardening being leveraged while promoting non-related products or services. This is Riding the Wave of the growing popularity of what your Center offers... every day. Here's another example...

I was standing in the checkout line last week at our neighborhood Publix grocery store. I glanced at the magazines on display as I waited my turn. One publication slapped me in the face instantly. The title:

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Talent Development is All Math!

Talent Development is All Math!

by John Kennedy

As we see the initial signs of the 2023 economy play themselves out in April’s numbers, and forecast for May, June and July are just around the corner, we should never underestimate the investment in your people.

One of the Centers within The Garden Center Group has committed to a “People First” vision for 2023. Another has committed to “Build the Bench!” in 2023, and both are poised to propel themselves into the future of their businesses by focusing on the soft skills just as much as the hard goods of their retail operation.

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The Group Knowledge Experience

The Group Knowledge Experience

by Danny Summers

The power of The Group comes in many forms and functions but behind each is hundreds of talented professionals who have a common purpose... to be the best Garden Retailer in their community. They also share a common bond through The Group and are willing to share openly with peer Centers to help others reach higher.

This was in full display last week as the April GROUPtalk LIVE Series was being held. Above is an image of some of those participating as we spotlighted four Centers across the Southern Regions to hear their experience so far this season.

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A Fresh Air Store?

A Fresh Air Store?

by Danny Summers

You may remember a few weeks ago, I shared a message titled "A Nature Store?" The overall idea was how much Garden Centers should position themselves as a vital part of nature and their audience should think of the Garden Center, their own garden, and the activity of gardening as an important part of their own health and wellness.

Coming out of winter, it is easy to attract your audience who have the internal human need for spring, its fresh new growth, its plants, flowers, and everything in the garden. Just the promise of spring helps to bridge the gap caused by "winter blues." And it is easy to recognize your Center is needed at this time of year. What I am sharing today may help you more at other times of the year. This past week I ran across a story titled:

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Visions of Spring

Visions of Spring

by Danny Summers


How big will the Spring Season be in 2023? That's a common question we all consider for months. It began last fall or even earlier. But here we are the first week of April and while most central to northern locations are just getting started, we have the benefit of seeing what's happening at The Group Centers in more southern regions.

We have been watching intently, every week when we get our WDR Reporting. And so far what we see is pretty encouraging. We all remember how 2022 gave us higher Average Sales but lower Transaction Counts. And most recognize that was a result of a compressed season last year (late Spring and early Summer).

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Collaborate

Collaborate

by Danny Summers

Collaborate seems like a pretty lite word to describe what we do here in The Group. A quick synonym search for alternatives finds: Cooperate, Unite, Join, Team-Up, Pull Together, Hang Together, and many more. All of these combined much better describe what we know today as The Group.

In the coming weeks and months you will see us having more sessions to bring The Group together... to Collaborate!

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Phases of Spring

Survival, Success, and Significance: Phases of Spring

by Sid Raisch

Have you noticed the Phases of Spring that occur as we approach, endure, and emerge from the annual 100 Days of Horticulture Hell crisis?

There is a naturally occurring progression of events and associated emotions during the early spring through until the summer seasons.

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A Nature Store?

A Nature Store?

by Danny Summers

Have you ever considered calling your Garden Center... A Nature Store?

I'm not suggesting changing your Center's name, but just in describing what you do, what you offer... A Nature Store.

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The BIG Squeeze of 2022

The BIG Squeeze of 2022

by Danny Summers

If you were with us last Thursday for our March edition of the GROUPtalk LIVE Series, you experienced Tim Quebedeaux revealing the results from The Group's 2022 Annual P&L Study. We had a large crowd assembled for the presentation and Group Centers can see the details in the recording, now available on the 2023 GROUPtalk LIVE Series Resource page from their landing page following login.

As Tim presented each area of this year's study, I was amazed. We knew from the Weekly Department Review (WDR) that sales were down in 2022 compared to the previous year. The BIG question in most of our minds was... how much would this affect profit?

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The Wellness Connection

The Wellness Connection

by Danny Summers

In recent weeks I have seen more than one article expounding on the growing consumer trend of prioritizing Wellness. A quick search or simply being alert to watching messaging in almost any media and you will see this first hand.

I know there was a growing awareness or interest in Wellness prior, but I am confident the Covid era has accelerated it even more today. One such article I saw a week or so ago was from AdAge magazine where they were promoting a day-long conference called "The Wellness Revolution Conference" where they will spotlight the intersection of health and marketing. They included several major brands bringing Wellness to the forefront of their marketing campaigns in the coming months. In the same announcement, they quoted a report from McKinsey & Company from last fall. McKinsey & Company is a global business consulting (and research) firm. The title of that report was...

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The High Cost of Lost Opportunity

The High Cost of Lost Opportunity...
Another Spring is a Terribly Costly Thing to Waste

by Sid Raisch

We’re all busy. I’ll get straight to the point.  

What’s different this year? What isn’t different but could be or should be, and what impact would that have? Do you even know? Read on.

Will this year be another 2022, yet another spring of about the same as the year before, if we’re lucky?


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Be the Inspiration

Be the Inspiration

by Danny Summers

The natural change of seasons can be a time of encouragement. The promise of spring brings a sense of renewal and new life. Most people have never had the experience of walking into a greenhouse in early spring. Just to see all the young plants and flowers there, waiting for the chance to be selected and to be added to a home garden is exciting... and inspirational. There are so many ways to "Be the Inspiration" in spring.

Do you expound upon the beauty, facets or character of the individual flower or plant? There are so many to talk about each week and so many great stories. Do you show how they can make you feel?

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Making the Connection

Making the Connection

By Danny Summers

While the vast majority of Super Bowl 2023 ads are now a very distant memory, I thought a few are noteworthy. That's pretty amazing when you consider the reported costs were $6-7 MILLION for a 30-second spot and there were enough of them, if you string them all together, to be over 1 hour long. So, in doing a totally non-scientific research review, here are three I want to bring back for seeing one more time.


 

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Happiness

Happiness

by Danny Summers

The search for happiness is as old as time itself. It's easy to see how some people search for their happiness in the way they spend their time, attention, and of course their money.

In last week's blog message from Sid Raisch titled SHIFTing, Sid referenced a video that Tom Kegley shared with us. It is an insightful presentation by J. Walker Smith, a marketing and futures expert with the international market research and consulting firm, Kantar. During this 34-minute presentation, Walker includes the highlights from an Oracle survey results released last July. Here's the Report headline and some noted data:

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