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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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Rooms and Runs - Alignment 3.0

Rooms and Runs – Alignment 3.0

By John Kennedy

As we continue the theme of Alignment in 2021, here are a few more thoughts I would like to add to the discussion in the month of May.

Let’s consider the big three pillars of any retail shop—average transaction, number of transactions, and customer experience rating. Studies show that there is a direct correlation (read alignment) from the customer satisfaction metrics and the average transaction metrics.

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The Art of Seeing the Invisible – Part 2

The Art of Seeing the Invisible – Part 2

by Sid Raisch

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

NOTE: (This is a less than 3-minute read).

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The Art of Seeing the Invisible – Part 1

The Art of Seeing the Invisible – Part 1

by Sid Raisch

 

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Serving You

Serving You

by Danny Summers

At first glance, this title could represent all of our Group Service Providers and our Staff and our role in serving you, our Garden Center Clients. We are certainly here to serve you. But for this conversation I want it to represent the role you have in serving your Garden Center customers. Your Garden Center serves a very important role in your community. In fact, in the past year I have described you (our Garden Center Clients) as servants to your communities. This was never more evident than what you provided in 2020.

In order to really serve your customers in the very best way possible, you must know your customers. This is definitely a challenge... Just how well do you know your customers? Is it simply by studying their purchase history, what sells and who bought it? It is more than just having their mailing address and email addresses? It is certainly more complex than the data you can access from your POS system.

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Back to School

Back to School?

by Danny Summers

 

Did you ever think we all would be going Back to School? I'm actually referring to Business School... That's what all Garden Centers in The Group have the opportunity to do. With the major Group financial programs and interacting with The Group Service Providers and peer Centers, we all have the benefit of advanced learning. It's really advanced business school for how to be most successful at Garden Retailing!

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How High?

How High?

by Danny Summers

This question may be in many Garden Center Owners' and Managers' minds today relative to sales and business in general for 2021. While we may have thought the growth seen in 2020 to be an anomaly, indications so far for 2021 point to continued growth. With more Group Centers now open and reporting in the Weekly Department Review (WDR) we are beginning to see a clearer view of what the season and year may be like for everyone.

In studying our 2020 results, we saw the increases came through a combination of growth in both Average Sale (about 1/3) and Transaction Counts (about 2/3). In the back of our minds has been the question, "Can our Centers reconnect and attract all the new customers from 2020?"

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What's Your Score?

What's Your Score?

by Danny Summers

What's Your Score?
From your customer's perspective... that is a very important question.

In a matter of days or weeks, your Center will see the normal surge of customers with that "Spring Fever" look in their eyes and this important question will begin to be answered by the only people that really matter... your customers. Many of you may already been seeing them. We all know it takes a lot of preparation and training to meet and exceed the customer's expectations and therefore receive their highest scores. High scores relate to repeat visits, and connected and loyal customers. If asked, how will they answer this question?

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Finger on the Pulse!

Finger on the Pulse!

by Danny Summers

This is a very important function of managing your Garden Center today. One of the major benefits of Group participation was most evident in the spring of last year. I remember it very well, just like it was yesterday.

It was Monday, March 23rd, the beginning of Week 13 and that was when we saw the first of our centers being forced to close due to state mandates. Fortunately that Center was in the middle part of the country where spring had not really began yet. Over the next few weeks, most all centers began to deal with new issues, whether business restrictions, new safety protocols and of course staffing issues.  Many Centers had to quickly assess their position with large portions of in-bound orders scheduled for delivery and how they would be able to serve their customers in the coming weeks. In addition, they were wondering what the reaction to stay-at-home orders would be in the minds of the customer. One very important Group connection point was the ability for Centers in the middle to northern portions of the country to watch what was happening down south. Let's look at a few figures from the Weekly Department Review (WDR) from a few of those weeks.

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Your Message

Your Message

by Danny Summers

This is a very important subject. Of course it begins with the question... What is your message? There are several levels to the answer. The over-arching purpose for your center is just a start. Then you may develop a theme for the coming season or year. Then it can be broken down to weeks, special holidays, recognized events and or intra-seasonal activities. There's a lot of things to consider and as Tom Kegley has said, developing a message that is uniquely yours is very important and takes time. After all, it's your BRAND! (This would be a great place for me to remind you to revisit Tom Kegley's "Let Your Brand Rock" blog article.)

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How Will You Know?

How Will You Know?

by Danny Summers

It was November 22, 1985 and a young Whitney Houston offered her debut album. On it was a soon-to-be hit... How Will I Know. The lyrics of Whitney's song was crafted around a boy-relationship (of course), but the title also fits my message to you this week. One of the prominent lines is "How will I know... if he really loves me?" Now let's pivot to your Center and the spring ahead of us.

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2021: The Year of Alignment

2021: The Year of Alignment

by John Kennedy

Happy New Year and Happy New You. The previous year (formally known as 2020) has left an impact on all of us, and to not have been affected, changed or transformed would be both unrealistic as well as unfortunate.

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Embracing the Hard-Earned Lessons of 2020

Embracing the Hard-Earned Lessons of 2020

by Sid Raisch

My “body guy” (body shop, not gym) has not had such a good year this year. With commuting and shopping trips down overall, there are fewer accidents, especially deer hits that tend to happen more during commuting hours. This means his business and his family hasn’t been spending as much locally or otherwise. Same for his employees, suppliers, and their employees.

While this writing is heading down a not-so-positive path, it is for a good purpose, so please hang in here with me. Every cloud has a silver lining, even 2020. Our industry has been the silver lining as compared to many others. There’s a tendency to revel in glory and a good year, no matter how it happens, is certainly to be appreciated and celebrated. From what I’ve seen and heard, you don’t need more encouragement to do that.

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Some Business. All Pleasure. No Regrets

Some Business. All Pleasure. No Regrets

by John Kennedy

As we continue to adapt and accept the new landscape of the garden center industry and find peace, gratitude and joy in the cracks and crevices that appear, I feel a new “rebirth” approaching…a new outlooka new view over the horizon.

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Performance Reviews:The Pruning that Leads to Blooming!

Performance Reviews: The Pruning that Leads to Blooming!

By Jean L. Seawright, CMC

There’s no question that employees are more effective when working in an environment that promotes regular communication about expectations and results. People want to know where they stand—even if it isn’t good. A performance review can address this need by answering the burning question every employee has: “How am I doing?”

Unfortunately, in many organizations, performance reviews have gone by the wayside, even though the younger generation of workers—the Millennials—are known for their need to receive regular feedback (and praise!) from management.

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The Sound of the Bell

The Sound of the Bell

by John Kennedy

When I was growing up in rural Maryland in the late sixties and early seventies, there were only a few homes and farms that populated the countryside. When we youngsters were all out in the fields, woods and creeks, the time to come home was announced with the “sound of a bell.”

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Who's Your Competition?

Who's Your Competition?

by Danny Summers

When asked this question, I know the usual answer you might give is the garden center across town or even the big box down the street. It is a natural reaction. But the best answer may be quite different. It is normal to think about others who are in the same business as you and consider competing with them in a battle for the same business or customers.

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5 New Rules for the 2020’s

5 New Rules for the 2020’s

by Sid Raisch

New rules about what we do and how we do them have emerged going into this new decade.

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Thinking: The New Muscle Workout

Thinking: The New Muscle Workout

by John Kennedy

For many of you who have known me over the years, my son Benjamin has been a constant guiding light of purpose and passion in my life since the day he was born.

The most important and impactful effort we make in our lives is the role we play in crafting the moral compass of values and behaviors that impact our children, our loved ones and our companies. I am no different and I am blessed to be part of the family of families in the Agritourism Life.

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