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Tea & the Garden

Tea & the Garden 

by Danny Summers

Just the idea of a simmering hot cup of Tea... in The Garden creates an ideal vision for how to begin the day. Maybe we should pause here for 15-20 minutes, grab a cup of Tea (or coffee), and step out to the Garden (or the most peaceful area of the Garden Center will do). Use the time to relax, breathe deeply, perhaps pray, and think about all the wonderful natural world around us. Then, return to this message when finished...

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Visions of Oasis

Visions of Oasis

by Danny Summers

Last week, many of us, along with thousands of other industry pros, were in Ft. Lauderdale for the TPIE show. One word that was introduced during the General Session was WOW! That same word was also used by many as they explored the show itself.

Experiencing such a large expanse of our tropical world in one place creates a feeling of an Oasis. This message can be an important one to your audience.

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Hallmark and the Plant Trend

Hallmark and the Plant Trend

by Danny Summers

If you were with us at The Fall Event 2022 in Kansas City, you will remember Darren Abbott, Hallmark's Senior Vice President Global Product Development and Consumer Experience, sharing much of the DNA that is at the heart of their emotional marketing which leads to product development and the ultimate customer connections. During his presentation, he acknowledged the trends toward gardening – particularly tropicals and he told us his team was developing a series of cards in their Signature Paper Wonder Pop-Up series featuring a few tropical plants.

At the time, he didn't have examples to share and could only say they were in the pipeline. This past week Karen and I were in one of our local Hallmark Gold Crown Stores to grab Christmas Cards (because we care enough to send the very best...) and as I wandered the different aisles of cards I came upon the Paper Wonder 3-D card section. And there I found four of the new tropical-themed cards and, of course, I just had to buy them!

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The Colors of Spinach?

The Colors of Spinach?

by Danny Summers

This message is not to introduce us to some new hybrid of our favorite leafy greens. But the idea for this came to me a week or so ago when I read a story by Stanberry Research of Dr. Harry Mitchell Sherman "The Colors of Healing."

Dr. Sherman was an accomplished surgeon in San Francisco in the early 1900s and in 1904, his observations set a new trend in operating rooms and hospitals across the country. Dr. Sherman realized how strained and tired his eyes became while doing surgery in a bright white environment. The white rooms and white cloth were popular back then and reflected the bright lights of the operating room. So he decided to swap out white surgical drapes for black ones, reducing the glare and making it easier to focus on the surgical procedure.

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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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Imagine

Imagine

by Danny Summers

Just imagine... No boundaries. No restrictions. No barriers. Nothing but "blue sky" space to think about things you normally don't. It's like those long summer days when you were a kid and had a world of time to dream big things and make stuff up. Let's open the doors and windows of your mind to just... imagine.

In 2015, The Fall Event was in Orlando and we had the opportunity to have Simon T. Bailey present to The Group. His presentation was based on his then most current book, 'Release Your Brilliance'. Simon said, "Up to the age of 4, most children are operating at a genius (or brilliance) level." He went on to say by the time they reach their early 20's only 20% are there and by their early 30's, only 2% are operating at a genius level. He added, by the time the average child is 17 years of age they have heard the word NO 150,000 times and YES only 5,000 times. Simon has continued on his quest to help everyone find their brilliance. Since then, he has authored five additional books to help encourage his audience's brilliance. You can see them HERE.

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A Powerful Story

A Powerful Story

by Danny Summers

When our girls were young, we stumbled upon a magical story crafted in an animated film titled The Man Who Planted Trees. The fictional story paints a simple yet powerful and unforgettable message set in the early 1900s. It introduced us to a shepherd named Elzéard Bouffier who quietly takes on the task of planting 100 acorns a day in an effort to reforest a desolate region in the French Alps. As the story unfolds, you see the shepherd's work transforming the region as life (and hope) returns and the world around is renewed.

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A Bright Future

A Bright Future...

by Danny Summers

That's what I see ahead for Garden Retailing and the Horticulture Industry as a whole. We have several both direct and indirect evidence to support this vision for what's beyond the horizon. First, let's consider what almost every Garden Center has experienced the past 15+ months. Reports of seeing 20-25% new customers and a high percentage of them were young. And by the questions they asked, they are new to gardening. We have wondered if they would return this spring and most indicators point to YES, they have. These new plant and gardening enthusiasts are finding their own joy and passion in their garden activities. If we can continue to help them be successful and build upon this new-found relationship with plants and their garden, this may very well be the much needed bridge of transition between boomers and the next generation. These new young customers are one of the best pieces of evidence to support the vision of "A Bright Future."

Additional evidence to support a vision for "A Bright Future" can be seen in this year's nominees for Green Profit Magazine Young Retailer of the Year Award. In the December 14th edition of GROUPtalk, we announced a new Group effort to co-sponsor and promote Green Profit Magazine Young Retailer of the Year Award for 2021. The Garden Center Group, with support from our Partners for Success, are official sponsors of the 16th annual award, along with AmericanHort.

This past week, Green Profit announced the three finalists for this year's awards. They are:

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Why?

Why?

by Danny Summers

At this time of year, this is an important question - in many ways. I am sure during these extremely busy weeks, such as this one (Mother's Day Week), exhaustion kicks in and you are wondering "Why do I do this?" or "Why do WE do this?"

To maintain a sense of balance during these wild weeks, taking a few minutes each day to take a few deep breaths and remember the "Why" can help.

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Garden Center vs. a JOY Center?

Garden Center vs. a JOY Center?

by Danny Summers

As Garden Retailers, you have so much to share to everyone, even to those who are not aware of it. Have you ever considered your Center being a JOY Center? Here's a few thoughts of alternate names for describing your Center:

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