Raising the Bar - in 2020

Raising the Bar - in 2020

by Danny Summers

"A funny thing happens when you RAISE THE BAR. People find a way to get over it, once they realize it's expected. Human beings can do amazing things - if they're asked to." 

   ~ John Powers, Boston Globe Writer and Author of 'Friday's with Bill' (Belichick).


On November 18, 2019, I first introduced the idea of our Raising the Bar Program for 2020 in our weekly enews, GROUPtalk. For years, The Group's Annual P&L Study has produced benchmarks from our top two tiers of performers, who we call Best Practices/High Achievers. Overall, this has been an important goal to help all Group Centers reach. But, in 2020, we are Raising the Bar - again.

Within The Group, the Annual P&L Study has shown we have four levels of net profit being reported. There is a small group of centers who are currently not profitable or below the water line. Next is a larger base group of 0 to +5% net profit. This often is seen as the largest group of garden retailers outside The Group. Then we have what The Group calls the High Achievers which is +5 to +9.99% net profit. The last few years, this group has seen a larger number of additions to the High Achievers group, as more centers are moving up from the base group. Then The Group recognizes its Best Practices Group which achieves +10% or higher. Overall, The Group's mission is to help each center reach the next level of profitable performance.

How High Can We Go?

This is where our Raising the Bar Program comes in. The Best Practices benchmarks are averages of those centers who reach the top level. But what the average is not showing us is what is the very best?  We have centers who are performing well above the Best Practices averages. For the Raising the Bar Program, we are studying those centers who are leading in performance in key categories. We are drilling down into how they are doing it. We plan to explore the WHY of their story and, with their permission of course, share details. This will be leading up to The Fall Event 2020 where we plan to have breakout discussions on these key categories and leading centers will be sharing details.

Raising the Bar


On May 18, 1912, George Horine, a 5 ft. 11 inch tall junior at Stanford University, set a new world record for the High Jump at 2 meters (6 ft., 6 3/4 inches). He was credited to introducing the "backwards roll" to accomplish what have never been done before. George had no idea he would set into motion what would develop into a new level of accomplishment for his sport. But his willingness to try something new opened the door for him and many athletes that followed.

A number of new records have been set since George first showed the world a new technique.


Today, the world record stands at 2.45 meters (8 ft. 1/2 inch) set in 1993 by Cuba's Javier Sotomayor. By the way, Javier uses the same technique as George, but it has continued to be developed and now know as the "western roll."

So what does this have to do with Garden Retailing and our Raising the Bar Program? The original quote at the beginning of this article by John Powers shows what can result from the acceptance of what is possible.



An Example for Where We Can Go




Danny Summers, Managing Director & Chief Instigator
The Garden Center Group
North America's Resource for Garden Retailing Since 2001


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