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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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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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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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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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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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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

Part 4 of a Series with the Theme “A Better _______ = Better Marketing”
   [Go to Part 5 "A Better Recession Effort = Better Marketing" - HERE]

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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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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