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The Group Winter Tour - Are You Ready?

The Group Winter Tour - Are You Ready?

by Danny Summers

Are you ready for a Winter Tour of The Group's Garden Centers?

Does this get your attention? I hope so. The Garden Center Group's Winter Tour is very convenient. It can begin on that first cold winter day when you have plenty of time and a hot cup of coffee or tea. It will be time to explore dozen's of fellow Group Centers you have never seen or maybe haven't seen in years.

You can travel on your own schedule. Begin, then decide where to visit and pause when needed. At each stop as you see things you like or want to know more about, you can take a minute and send that Center a quick email.

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Green with Envy!

Green with Envy!

by Danny Summers

It is so obvious. All you have to do is observe advertising trends to see how plants and gardening are being used to capture attention. We see major brands trying to leverage the natural "goodness" of plants and the activity of gardening as they promote whatever they want to sell. Most have nothing to do with plants or gardening.

It must be one of two possible strategies for why they would position their product or services parallel to plants or gardening. First, it might be to just capture the attention of the audience, realizing plants and gardening are one of the top growth categories over the past 18 months. The second possible strategy might be simply trying to absorb some of the positive "greenness" and to it imply they care, their products are wholesome, or good for you or the environment. It's like saying, "Hey our products are just as good as plants or gardening."

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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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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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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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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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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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Making a BIG Impression!

Making a BIG Impression

by Tom Kegley

This Large Format Greenhouse Covering at Skinner Garden Store is a sight to behold.

When Skinner Garden Store’s Cameron Rees had the idea to utilize a blank space to connect with drivers on the 4-lane divided highway adjacent to his location, he truly decided to ‘go big or go home’!

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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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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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The Year of Alignment - Part Two

The Year of Alignment - Part Two

by John Kennedy

As we move into the marketing magic of the year, driving focus and attention to our garden centers, which in turn drives foot traffic and the return of new found “fan-demics” (I just made that up) as well as our existing client-base, I thought it might be nice to take a good long look in the marketing mirror.

Each morning before coffee, I take seven steps to the WC to throw some water on my face, brush my teeth, and take a good long look at the drain and damage 56 years of being me has brought to my face--wrinkles from smiles and sun damage, baggy eyes from the six hours of sleep, and a blank stare into the possibilities the day will bring as I slowly kick the cobwebs to the curb, and embrace a deep and spiritual sense of gratitude that I am on the right side of the grass today.

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What is a Garden?

What is a Garden?

by Danny Summers

What is a Garden?
To really understand and appreciate both the question and the many possible answers let's do some exploring together...

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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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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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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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Only REAL Christmas Trees...

Only REAL Christmas Trees...

by Danny Summers

Seeing so many REAL Christmas Trees atop cars this week is a wonderful sight. By REAL of course I mean LIVE Christmas Trees. It is a tradition which began in the 1500's long before the automobile and is credited to German-American immigrants bringing the tradition to North America. You can read more of this story HERE. Allow me to finish the title for this message... "Only REAL Christmas Trees... deserve to be named."

This is an idea shared several years ago and has spread in more of our centers. Growing a live tree takes time – 6 to 12 years which makes it much more special than a mass-produced "live-like" (a.k.a. fake) one. The use of evergreens for decorating "the halls" also brings the wonderful scents we all remember during the holidays.

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Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays

by Danny Summers

Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?

Most sources you read and people you talk to are pretty much in agreement... the general public is going to be staying close to home this fall and winter throughout the Holiday Season.

We have recently seen some Group discussion on this subject in our GroupEs eList and the consensus is this could be a bigger than normal Fall and Christmas decorating season. Hosting more close family gatherings is likely and bringing Fall and Holiday color home may be just what everyone needs to create a comforting environment.


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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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