How Will You Measure Up?

How Will You Measure Up?

by Danny Summers

The clock is ticking and every day you inch closer to the Spring Season. So much effort has already been invested in preparations, but it is natural to still be thinking...
Have we done enough?

What have we missed?

What more can we do?

We have three major programs going on within The Group that can help you answer the question... How Will You Measure Up?




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SHIFTing

SHIFTing

by Sid Raisch

Note: Spring is about to take off (for some of you now, and later for others), this is for your winter-like weather morning cup of coffee thinking time. Since it’s the slower time of year, I’ve added several rabbit hole links to go down for more depth on the SHIFTing.

Focus on executing your Spring plan now, while allowing this article to wash over you so you can recognize signs of change in the coming months, and come back to it in Summer to allow it to influence your decisions about your future so you’ll be able to get to work on them before Spring 2024.

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Sharing the Magic!

Sharing the Magic!

by Danny Summers

As you create and implement your promotional plans for 2023, you have the opportunity to do so with what we have learned over the last three years... how important gardening and plants are to us (all human beings).

Actually, this journey of understanding the importance of plants, the garden, and the activity of gardening began much earlier. One important message that comes to mind was when Robert Hendrickson shared the results of a survey done to answer the fundamental question... "Why I Garden?" Robert shared that with us in 2015 and you can find the top 30 answers in The Group WebSystem by navigating to the Clients-Only menu and down to POWERtools. Just look in the first section in the Marketing area.

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An Exciting Time!

An Exciting Time!

by Danny Summers

Over the last two weeks, many of us have experienced two of the industry's largest events, MANTS in Baltimore (top two photos) and TPIE in Tampa (bottom two photos). If these events are any measure of where we are right now as an industry... the best way to describe it is An Exciting Time!

The level of excitement and anticipation is obvious. Both exhibit space and attendance could easily be described as Sell Outs! Interest in plants and gardening at retail is at an all-time high and with young consumers continuing to become homeowners and continuing their "plant-parenthood" practice these trends look to only increase in coming seasons.

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Getting To YES!

Getting to YES!

by John Kennedy

Years ago, I stumbled upon a great book that highlights the importance of the word “YES.” And a few years later, I came upon another book that also focused on the importance of the saying “YES.”  When I hear the same thing twice in short order, I believe I should pay attention.

Both books, as well as many, many others, have been influential in my mind set on strategic planning, training and consulting, as well as the necessary skillsets of leadership and sales.

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A Wild Ride!

A Wild Ride!

by Danny Summers

At first glance you could easily think I am referring to a vacation experience in a recent memory. For Karen and I, this could harken us back to several things.

One is our first visit to Walt Disney World and the chance to ride on Space Mountain. If you have never had this experience the easiest way for me to describe it is... A Roller Coast in the Dark! Or, as Disney would want to describe it.. a rocket ship in space avoiding meteorites! For Karen, the description is much shorter... just simply...

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Designing the Customer Experience

Designing the Customer Experience

by Danny Summers

Here's an important question... Are you Designing Your Customer's Experience?

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Hitting Your Target... in 2023!

Hitting Your Target... in 2023!

by Danny Summers

As we welcome the New Year of 2023, it's the perfect time to spend as much time as possible thinking about your plans and goals for the season ahead for Hitting Your Target! I know you have done a considerable amount of planning already. Your overall budget may be in place. You have placed (or about to place) many of your spring orders for plants and products that will begin arriving in the coming weeks.

You may still be working on your weekly promotional plans. Many Group Centers plan for specific plants or products to promote as well as what systems you will use to share details with your audience.

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A Better Brand Execution = Better Marketing

A Better Brand Execution = Better Marketing

by Sid Raisch

Part 6 of a Series with the Theme “A Better _______ = Better Marketing”

Marketing is an important part of the job of everyone in a company. It’s everything a company and everyone in it does within, outside, around, and beyond. In this series of articles, we’ll be discussing how different views of marketing make a huge difference in choosing, taking, and owning our position now and in the future. 

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Come Together

Come Together

by Danny Summers

When I consider this title, it really could represent the purpose and core mission of The Garden Center Group. We come together in so many ways. Just the practice of sharing peer-to-peer or through our team of service providers, coming together is at the core of what we do. The idea for this message brings to mind the saying, "No man is an island unto itself." This is a portion of a poem written in 1624, by English poet John Donne.

The premise that we are better when we share and come together is arguably at the foundation of The Garden Center Group. Each Group Center is unique but the sharing of ideas, concepts, resources, and of course business data, all provide for the ability of each Center to apply what is learned and ultimately be better than before.

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Your Work as a Craft

Your Work as a Craft

by Danny Summers

Have you ever thought of your work as a craft? Not craft as a hobby, but as a craftsman. I often refer to our industry as having some of the most wonderful people and how there is something very special about people who grow or sell plants.

Horticulture, much like farming, has great assets in the people. For us, it is the people who call Nursery, Garden Centers and Landscaping home.

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New Year = New Opportunities

New Year = New Opportunities

by Danny Summers

We have some big news as we look forward to the 2023 new year. If you have been reading recent GROUPtalks, I hope you have read about our Weekly Department Review (WDR) program going online, beginning Week 1 of 2023.

Participating Group Centers will access the WDR through our WebSystem, both for uploading their data and seeing weekly reporting when complete. (If you need help logging in please let me know.)

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We Grow What We Feed - 2

We Grow What We Feed - 2

by John Kennedy

My very first job that I can remember, that was not chores on the farm for $5 a month, was stuffing church mailers in Alice Springs, Australia. Between 1972-1974, our family lived “Down Undah” and they remain some of my most cherished memories as a child.
In exchange for working a few hours on the weekend, we were compensated with candy. That candy was the only time I was able to eat it other than Easter and Christmas.

So, I guess you can say I ate candy, religiously! (I’m here through Friday…tip your bartenders!)
Another job I had in my teen years was at a pizza shop--Vennari’s Pizza in Columbia, Maryland. My High School friend Kyle got me the job and taught me everything I “kneaded” to know…from making the “special sauce” to spinning the pizza, I was in my element working there, and not only paid in pizza but also made $3.15/hour! After 2 summers, I saved up enough to buy a purple 1974 AMC Gremlin. Yup…I did!!

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Dust Off Your Image

Dust Off Your Image

by Danny Summers

The new year is just around the corner and I know you are already knee-deep in planning for it. Here are a few things to consider adding to your list in preparation for Spring 2023...

How's Your Center's Image?

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Just Imagine...

Just Imagine...

by Danny Summers

Imagination is a wonderful gift that we all have. I believe we all have the same level of imagination when we are born. You can see so much of this gift in the eyes of children. I see this in our grandchildren's eyes now. You may remember a photo I shared a little over a year ago of our oldest grandson when he was just about 3 and he stood in front of Georgia Aquarium's largest tank, Ocean Voyager.

Here's the photo I shared then. Try to imagine what this 3-year-old was thinking at the time.

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A Better Recession Effort = Better Marketing

A Better Recession Effort = Better Marketing

by Sid Raisch

Part 5 of a Series with the Theme “A Better _______ = Better Marketing”
   [Go to Part 6 "A Better Brand Execution = Better Marketing" - HERE]

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Health + Time

Health + Time

by Danny Summers

To continue on the message from last week – A Recipe for What Matters (or we might say What Matters Most), I included a tease of sorts on some thoughts for additional ideas...

Health and Time.

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Get Your Kicks, on Route 66!

Get Your Kicks, on Route 66!

by John Kennedy

When you finish this thoughtful message about Route 66, enjoy a version of It's Wonderful and Route 66... performed by Diana Krall and Natalie Cole at the end.


Over the last four years, in the Northern Virginia area, there has been a flurry of infrastructure improvements nearby our home in Centreville (a bustling DC Suburb). A crazy, constant cacophony of construction and chaos.

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A Recipe for What Matters

A Recipe for What Matters

by Danny Summers

Each of us sees numerous ads every day. They come at us from all directions and it seems to only increase in methods of how or where we see them. Certainly, TV, radio, internet, and of course every social media page we interact with is pushing products. Even some gas stations are pushing ads at the pump. Most are very promotional and the worse ones seem like they were designed by ex-used car salesmen (no offense if you have friends or family in that tough business). But you know what I mean. It's all about price and how low they can go.

If you have been in The Group any length of time, you know we began early on hearing from The Group founder, Robert Hendrickson, how you should focus on a different type of message – telling a story. One that connects with the audience, and speaks to their needs or interests in a real and caring way all while sharing the enjoyment and benefits of the garden and gardening activity. Robert would challenge us to think... if you come across as just selling something, you are most likely on the wrong path. This is a great time to quote a famous person from Hannibal Missouri (where Robert and Wendy now live)...

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Preparing for 2023

Preparing for 2023

by Danny Summers

There's been quite a bit of conversation recently in our eLists on preparing for 2023 and in particular the budgeting process. There's a lot to be considered for sure. And 2023 is certainly not the typical "new year" to consider. But even in a typical "new year" there is a lot to consider.

Not only do you have the typical budget considerations you will see in The Group's Chart of Accounts... What should you budget for Sales (by category)? How're Margins going to be tracked? What do you see in changes to Operating Expenses for next year? And what should you project for Wage & Wage Benefits?

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