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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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Your Compass

Your Compass

by Danny Summers

Navigating or setting the right course can be tricky. There has been some Group discussion recently on how to see over the horizon into 2022 with the last two years in the rearview mirror. When I think of navigating and today's tools for today's travelers, I am reminded of the way our kids (grown adults today) navigate as they travel.

I admit, I am revealing what generation I grew up in and I am just as quick to rely on my iPhone to set the course by SIRI and Apple Maps. It's really cool and fast and I can almost be on autopilot. There's not much thinking needed except avoiding the other cars. But at the same time, I feel we are missing out on some very important skills. The art and skills of navigation.

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Two Types of Leadership

Two Types of Leadership

by John Kennedy

As we round out the year with the holidays, it’s always important to begin to think about what 2022 will shape up to be…will it be like 2021? 2020? 2019? Or will it have a personality all of its own?

Whatever the story is to be told, having a plan that will address it is always better than having no plan at all.

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Groupthink

Groupthink

by Sid Raisch

We’re in a group. We might be subject to Groupthink.

From Wikipedia:

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Cohesiveness, or the desire for cohesiveness, in a group may produce a tendency among its members to agree at all costs.[1] This causes the group to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation.[2][3]



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Connecting

Connecting

by Danny Summers

As a Garden Center connecting with your audience is extremely important. It always has been. Connecting happens in a multitude of ways. It certainly happens whenever the customer enters your Center and interacts with your team, and shops for your plants and products.

The other ways of connecting has been changing over the last two decades. More connecting today happens through your messaging or sharing of information through the various channels of communication. At the same time, your audience is slowly changing and the way they want to receive your information may be different than how you are positioned to share information today.

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Power Tools!

Power Tools!

by Danny Summers

Having the right tools can make a world of difference. And knowing what tools to use for the job or task is equally important. If you've been around The Group and read my messages over the years you certainly have heard me refer to the POWERtools area of our WebSystem. It is located under the Clients-Only pull-down menu and contains all of our tools for download.

This week we feature two of those POWERtools in a message from Robert Hendrickson as he created both during his decades of helping Garden Centers. They are the Monthly Department Review and the Ad Planner, which are now updated for 2022 (both USA and Canada versions).

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Counting On Another Boom Year Isn’t A Plan

Counting On Another Boom Year Isn’t A Plan

by Robert Hendrickson

Circumstances no one expected created two great sales and profit years for the garden center industry. Expecting this business boost to become what cliché lovers like to call “the new normal” is short-sighted and risky. Better to spend time and attention on how you plan to spread the word that your company and the products you provide are important to the health and happiness of past, current, and future customers.

Ask almost any garden center owner or the person responsible for the company’s marketing decisions what they have planned for the upcoming year and the typical response will be… “We don’t plan that far ahead.” This usually means when it comes to marketing, they make last-minute decisions based on what’s selling, what’s not selling, or what other garden centers say they should be doing.

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Rounding Third – Heading Toward Safety?

Rounding Third – Heading Toward Safety?

by Sid Raisch

The thrill of being a kid within local broadcast range of the Cincinnati Reds in the 60’s, and then The Big Red Machine in the 70’s creates lasting memories and impressions. It was all so incredible from the point of view of a kid in a small town an hour away like I was back in the day. I’m not much of a fan since then but I can tell you that back then you didn’t need to be a sports fan to be a fan of the Reds. It was infectious. It was contagious. And that’s enough of that talk.

Reminiscing is nice, and yes, this does have something to do with the garden center business. Quite possibly as big as the Big Red Machine itself was the sound of the games as broadcast by Joe Nuxhall if you were in range of The Big One - 700WLW radio. You just never forget Nuxy’s voice, and trademark closing to every game, "rounding third and heading for home" which is memorialized in a sign between 3rd and home bases high on the outside of the Great American Ballpark and visible as you drive along Interstate 71. Usually, Joe added, “and this one belongs to the Reds!

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The Gig is UP!

The Gig is UP!  Adopting and Adapting to Change

by John Kennedy

As we all know, the pandemic accelerated our need to embrace technology, e-commerce and innovation. From curbside pickup to on-line ordering, our garden centers jumped from 2020 to 2030 in just one year. It’s like we took a Quantum Leap (great TV show!) into the future, and are now wondering if we stay, or “leap back” to 2021.

That is the great big question for all of us.  Go back to the way it was, embrace the way it is (a great song) or embark on the way it will become?

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A Culture of WHY

A Culture of WHY

by Danny Summers

Over the past two weeks, we have been experiencing Florence Williams' wonderfully impactful story of 'The Nature Fix.' It is the result of her multi-year work of documenting WHY nature is so important in the health and welfare of every human being.

Many of the details contained in her book support what we all have known for years about the importance of plants and the activity of gardening. We just did not have the science to back up our beliefs... until now.

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Are You Getting By or Getting Away - Part 2

Are You Getting By or Getting Away? – Part 2

by Sid Raisch

[If you missed Part 1 of this series you can read it HERE.]

Part 2 – Get By or Get Away 
RE-setting Your Value Proposition Post COVID-19

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The Train of Garden Retailing

The Train of Garden Retailing

by Danny Summers

At first glance this might appear as a strange combination. Train verses Garden Retailing? But bear with me as I share some thoughts I have had in recent months. This idea came to me as I was talking with prospective Centers who asked about what we do in The Group and why they should consider joining. Basically, "Why The Group?"

As I thought about my response, aside from all the normal unique sharing, programs and services The Group offers, strangely enough what I have told our daughter and her husband about buying their first home came to mind. We have had numerous conversations with them about how home prices keep going up and how much more difficult it might be to get into your very first home. I said, "Home ownership is like jumping onto a moving train. Once on-board you gain equity as the overall market goes up and as you pay down the mortgage. If you are not on the train, you are loosing ground, going backwards as the train moves forward."

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Imagination!

Imagination!

by Danny Summers

Kids have "wide-open" creativity skills with no throttles, governors, or constraints that most of us adults have developed. If you look closely at the photo above you will see the titles... "Thinker, Thinking Cap and Idea-O-Meter" depicting the story of how kids don't have the "I Can't" or "It Won't Work" weights holding them back. As we progress through life we encounter many "guardrails" that tend to build upon each other and restrict our creativity. In the following text I found some wonderful words written by Samuel Ullman (1840-1924), an American businessman, poet, humanitarian, and religious leader, born in Hechingen, Germany and died in Birmingham, AL. Here's an interesting introduction I found to Ullman's famous poem 'Youth.'

 

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Are You Getting By, or Getting Away? – Part 1

Are You Getting By or Getting Away? – Part 1

by Sid Raisch

With 79 years to go this may be the biggest consumer con-job of the century, and you are involved.

It’s not a joke that COVID-19 became a convenient excuse, a crisis not going to waste, a cop-out, as well as a likely inconvenient trap for companies to find themselves in. Time will tell, and time is growing short as people are adjusting to the NOT return to normal.

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Building Relationships

Building Relationships

by Danny Summers

Relationships. It is the lifeblood of a successful career or business. It spans all aspects of your operation... Your customers. Your staff and management team. Your growers and hardline vendors. Other relationships you have are here within The Group. The relationships built with The Group's team of Service Providers and your peer Centers is something that is very unique today.

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Simplify.

Simplify.

by Danny Summers

Let's face it. Things tend to get more and more complicated. Every time we add a new program or product, does it replace an existing one or just increase your the list of "things-to-do" and multiply your weekly, daily (or even hourly) challenges? With where your Center has been the last 15+ months, it's time to focus on simplifying your operation. You can begin at The Fall Event 2021.

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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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Smarter. Not Harder.

Smarter. Not Harder.

by Danny Summers

Let's face it, with what you have been through the past 14 months, this should really get your attention.

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The Art of Seeing the Invisible – Part 3

The Art of Seeing the Invisible – Part 3

by Sid Raisch

“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” Jonathan Swift

NOTE: Some of you are near peak of the season while others have moved on through, but all of you should be in “Management Mode”. This means you’re operating rather routinely on a daily basis at a high level of volume and personnel. The routine becomes a sort of paralysis by default where things are happening without much question, as “the way it needs to be” to get things done, or status quo. There are a few problems with this mode and reading about them will make your time here worthwhile.

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High Terrain

High Terrain

by Danny Summers

You are in HIGH TERRAIN today. You are and we all know it. The image above might be a micro respite from today's hectic pace, but what I am referring to is the HIGH TERRAIN of the new levels of your Garden Center sales during the Spring of 2021. This in on top of the mountain of sales most Centers developed in 2020.

With 2020 in the rear-view mirror, we were wondering if you could even match, not to mention build upon last year's performance. Seeing Week 18 (May 3-9, 2021) results just in last Friday provides a very positive outlook for surpassing 2020. Let's compare a few figures against this time last year and now.

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