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A Better Recession Effort = Better Marketing

A Better Recession Effort = Better Marketing

by Sid Raisch

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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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 Better Pricing Effort = Better Marketing

A Better Pricing Effort = Better Marketing

by Sid Raisch

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.

Interesting concept that pricing has anything to do with marketing, but it has EVERYTHING to do with marketing. And it has everything to do with every penny of Revenue and Profit. There is nowhere else in your company or on earth that Profit can come from, if not included in your price from the beginning.

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What if...

What If…

By Danny Summers

What If... someday you are busy with your normal routine and... something really magical happens.

Sometimes new ideas that are real innovations come when you least expect them. And maybe even when you're not really even paying attention. Can you imagine having such a new idea that is so innovative that it creates a whole new business or product line? That is exactly what this story is about. And it is TRUE.

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Polishing the Details

Polishing Details

by Danny Summers

As Group Centers are closing the books on Spring 2022 and the first half of the year, this is the perfect time to not only review the results but also begin to set in motion your plans for Polishing Details for the second half of the year and even 2023.

We have just received details from Tim Quebedeaux for The Group's Mid-Year Weekly Department Review (WDR) and we can now see individual category performances compared to previous years.

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Bring Your Best

Bring Your Best

by Danny Sumnmers

At first glance at this title, you might think it could be encouraging you to "Bring Your Best" to work every day. Or it could be an over-arching goal for everything you do. And both should be a goal. But this title is directed toward all of the combined knowledge, experience, and perspectives we will have as we meet at The Fall Event 2022. If we visualize all of the people sitting in the opening session, many are seasoned Garden Retailers, some are new to their positions, and some are the very best suppliers we have in our industry. Then if you add all our team of Group Service Providers we have even more combined experience. But it's not just the most experienced people that add so much – it's also the newcomers to the business. The younger generation comes from other backgrounds and has new and fresh perspectives and ideas.

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The Power of Connection

The Power of Connection!

by Danny Summers

I believe the Power of Connection can mean everything! We saw first-hand what all of us being connected through The Group meant during the turbulent weeks in the spring of 2020. And even since then the Power of Connection has shown us much more. It enabled us to quickly pivot to react to the changing retail environment and needs of your Guests. It also provided results from these positive management changes through our Annual P&L Studies for both 2020 and 2021. The fact is your Power of Connection with 130+ peer Centers through The Group offers the unique resources many other Centers do not have.

The Power of Connection could also describe what we have witnessed over the past two years with so many people being drawn to the activity of gardening and having plants in their lives. Last year at The Fall Event 2021 we experienced The Nature Fix story by Florence Williams and why we all need more nature in our lives. This has not changed in 2022, even though sometimes weather restricts our opportunities. The Power of Connection with gardening and plants and their positive benefits should remain one of our primary focuses to share with everyone.

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Your GroupSpace – A Preview for The Fall Event 2022

Your GroupSpace – A Preview for The Fall Event 2022

by John Kennedy

As we inch closer to The Fall Event 2022, we wanted to highlight some of the presentations, people and products that will join us in Kansas City.

As you may have known from previous GROUPtalks, John & Souny Kennedy have created a wonderful digital platform that allows a busy Garden Center to run at maximum efficiency and engagement. It was originally created specifically for our Garden Center Group Clients and is called GroupSpace.

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The Final Stretch

The Final Stretch

by Danny Summers

With a quick glance at the calendar and the Weekly Department Review (WDR) it is easy to see we are in "The Final Stretch" the spark for this blog post title. This has certainly been a different season, a late-arriving spring almost everywhere and when comparing numbers from the previous two years which both arrived earlier (and maybe stayed longer), we have had some year-to-date deficits to overcome this season.

I must admit I normally don't follow horse racing and normally don't watch the major races. We have enjoyed being with close friends who live in the Lexington and Louisville Kentucky areas in past years and have actually been to both Churchill Downs and Keeneland (just not on the big race days). Our friends Louis and Betsy Hillenmeyer have taken us to several of the farms around Lexington and we have marveled at the wonderful horses we saw there. But a few weeks ago when hearing the news following this year's Kentucky Derby, I realized there could be a correlation between the story of this year's Kentucky Derby unlikely winner and our Garden Retailing efforts this year. Here's just a little of the story of Rich Strike, the 1st Place Winner of the 148th running of The Kentucky Derby...

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Water the Bamboo

Water the Bamboo

by John Kennedy

 

As Danny’s article, The Final Stretch, and the featured video shows, closing strong is always vital to any mindset in business and life. What a stunning finish. The heart & soul of a champion!

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Annual P&L Study 2021 - Being the Best!

Annual P&L Study 2021 – Being the Best!

by Tim Quebedeaux

From Raising the Bar to Pushing the Boundaries!  In the 2019 P&L Study the top line comparison was changed from the High Achiever and Best Practices group, to only the Best Practices Group.  Well, that changed in 2020, in creating the Best of the Best Group, which in 2021’s P&L Study, took the place of the Best Practices group as the lop line in the Study to compare against.

Like in marksmanship, we want everyone to aim small, miss small. This small group of Best of the Best (BOTB) had 9 of the 10 Garden Centers repeat in 2021.  We wanted to show a standard above what had been presented in the past. Not only did this give everyone a higher standard to aim for, it gives the Best Practices Group (largest number ever at 48) a chance to raise their own standards.

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Making a Difference

Making a Difference

by Danny Summers

If we were to have any principle ideas to wake up to every morning one could very well be "making a difference." These three small words have a natural place in faith, family, friends and work. I think it also fits the purpose of our Garden Centers by encouraging guests to find joy through gardening and plants. The simple act of planting a tree or cultivating any plant helps make a difference in our shared world and can benefit many more people through the years.

The Fall Event 2022 will take place in Kansas City, Missouri, September 19-22. There is so much to see and experience and we will be sharing much more in the coming weeks leading up to our arrival. 

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Balancing or Juggling?

Balancing or Juggling?

by Danny Summers

It's Spring and that time of the year when you have more things to do than minutes in a day. It certainly is a balancing act. Without being there in person, it is difficult for anyone else to have a real understanding of what it's like. Maybe the easiest way to explain to anyone outside the Garden Center is ... the average Garden Center receives about 70% of their annual business in a 12-week period. That's 70% in 23% of the time (like 4 quarts in a 2-quart jar)!

Hopefully for you, most of the time, it feels like a balancing act. That is a steady position on the balance beam, one foot over the next. Or just like the image above, both hands steadily holding onto both balls equally.

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Mitigating Sticker Shock

Mitigating Sticker Shock

By Sid Raisch

“Oh, I didn’t think it was going to be THAT much!”

(You don’t have time to NOT read this right now because you have customers thinking, if not saying that very thing in your store.)

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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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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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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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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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