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.

SHIFTing Our Society

Look UP - Our society is SHIFTing before our very eyes.

I’ve heard it said that 2023 is going to make 2022 seem like it was standing still. It already kind of seems like it was standing still as we saw it level off from the 2020 and 2021 surge.

Events unfolding now are increasing with intensity and the SHIFTing is picking up momentum. This is way different than a pandemic. It’s about the adaptation of already invented technologies coming deeper into our market and changing the market in fundamental ways. Think fax machines, personal computers, word processors, and THE INTERNET kind of society-shifting technologies, except that the rate of adoption is 10X of any of those.

We’ve heard talk of robots that design, build, program, and repair robots to replace humans doing the same but faster, better, and less expensively.

We’ve heard of artificial intelligence that writes articles better than most professional writers can write them and even faster than we can read them.

We’ve heard talk of computers that write code instead of people writing code. They’re even capable of deciding what code they should be writing.

We’ve heard of artificial intelligence that thinks and makes decisions faster and better than humans.

We’ve heard of these things but couldn’t envision that they’d actually happen, except they have, and they’re rolling into our society at an exponential rate, because they can. That’s how they work.

Why will this happen? It’s not a question of if it will happen and not one of when because it already is. The real question is why is it happening?

A widely accepted concept is that our workforce is short by 20% of the positions that could be filled if there were qualified applicants who were ready and willing to do the work. Every segment of our industry from growing and manufacturing the things we sell to retailing to landscaping and landscape care – all have about the same shortage of people. In other words, 100% of the work is being done by 80% of the people required to do it or there is more work available that isn’t taken on because of the shortage of people needed to complete it. Revenue at every level is suffering from a lack of people to produce it. Productivity is suffering from a lack of people as those who are doing the work become more and more fatigued and work less and less efficiently. Replacing people is getting more difficult by the day.

We’ve thought that inflation was a problem and it is, but that’s nothing compared to not having people to do the work to create the products and services that people need, and want to buy. Is it possible that this is the real cause of inflation?

Remember hearing about the DIFM Do it FOR Me trend? That was 20 years ago and it has slowly become mainstream now but in a bigger way than we’re prepared for. In the garden center, we’re still selling the pieces and parts and not the solutions people really want. Ever try walking through a garden center choosing plants for your own container? It’s not easy at all, and your emotions start telling you that you have better things to do with your time but who would you ask to do it for you?

In a recent consult with Group Client, Bill Zeolie, owner of Bedford Fields Home & Garden he reflected on this.

"We have sold a lot of outdoor Poly furniture that is not the most comfortable or best looking. The closing point time and again is that they don’t want to take it to the cellar or storage for the winter. The stuff weighs a lot and takes a lot of storage space but it seems to be all about the time it takes.

They pass on larger containers they wanted until finding out they would have to winterize it somehow or bring it inside.

They want to buy an undecorated floor model artificial Christmas Tree and don’t want us to get the box to store it in because they plan on moving it to another room until next Christmas.

People shy from larger 10 gal. and larger shrubs and trees because of the effort required to get them from their vehicle to the hole they have to dig. Our planting service works for some but others don’t want to pay to have it delivered and planted for them.

We’ve lost a lot of pet food repeat business over the recent years to customers having a Chewy subscription delivered to their door so they don’t have to think about whether they need it, go get it, or carry it in from the car. In other words, the Amazon Effect of delivery to the door saves them from all that trouble so they can just enjoy their dog without the extra work.

Where are we going to get the people to do this work when even more of our customers also don’t want to do anything with anything they buy?”

We can all relate either ourselves or by observations of how business is changing for our friends who own other small businesses.

Consumers are buying more and more food already prepared and delivered as a meal.

Vintage goods are in, but not the dusty antique store ones. Pickers find those treasures then clean and chalk paint them and sell them in boutique stores and sell them on Etsy and Facebook Marketplace.

Notice all the pop-up shops of already built $10,000 storage sheds to put stuff in so people don’t have to haul it to a storage unit or sort what they want from what they can do without and take it to a donation center.

Have you heard the rumbling exhaust sounds of your customers' discretionary spending dollars going up in smoke after they have committed payments on another $10,000 and more of spending that can’t come to garden centers after they buy factory-customized and tricked-out special overland package SUVs and Crossovers like the Jeep TrailHawk, Toyota TRD Pro, Subaru Wilderness, Honda TrailSport, Kia X-Pro, Hyundai XRT, and GMC AT-4? The auto industry listened to what people wanted to buy and packaged it so they don’t have to source upgrade features individually off-market.

The do it FOR ME society is rapidly replacing what’s left of the DIY (Do it Yourself) society that has been the core of retailing. This isn’t the service economy we’re talking about. It is the FORMER RETAIL DIY society, or whatever we want to call that. It doesn’t matter as long as we align to it.

It’s REALLY simple – technology is necessary to replace the work that people once were available to do, and it is now more cost-effective and reliable as compared to doing even more work without more people to do it.
Here are a few areas where the application of emerging technologies is growing - some of which we all recognize, and others that YOU won’t.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming universally accessible. If you’re considering not taking this seriously first CLICK HERE to see examples of AI at work in various disciplines. And CLICK HERE to listen to this amazing podcast telling of the IMPLICATIONS OF AI in our VERY NEAR future. (If you’ve never listened to a Podcast, this is a great time to take that leap.)
  2. Digital Security – Blockchain is digital security. With Blockchain a digitized item is traceable and verifiable. NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are entering our society in a macro sense, not waiting for the “formerly as-usual) bell curve of growth. Blockchain is being integrated into every form of online commerce. If you take credit cards, are on social media, have a website or a Google presence, and just about anything you’re already involved with.
  3. Electric Vehicles (EV) – Growth of the EV market is going beyond mandates as manufacturers embrace the incentives, along with less costly manufacturing expenses. This goes beyond partisan politics and Internet memes saying it can never happen because it is indeed ALREADY happening. Click HERE to read about how the infrastructure to support EV charging is developing before our very eyes with charging stations popping up everywhere, but more importantly, it is growing in the background as the crews in boom trucks erect new lines with greater capacity to move electricity wherever it is needed.
  4. Energy Abundance – Peter Diamandis is someone we should all know together. He is all about the future and backs it up with deep knowledge of today in areas we don’t have access to, except to stay up with him. Click HERE to download a free Metatrends Report. This is BIG STUFF but not that far away. The Energy Abundance area is in there along with many others that will seem like SCI-FI stuff, like the Jetsons did (and became), but isn’t that far off. In fact, it isn’t far off at all, it’s in motion now. 
  5. The Great Retirement – Click HERE to read about the Silver Tsunami and how retirement and delayed retirement of the elder half of the population is increasing quickly as they cash out on the real estate value boom of the Covid years and spend their inheritances. This is causing another huge shift of employment and also residency. The Silver Tsunami cloud has a silver lining if you’re located in the right places. Upon exiting the workforce Boomers are increasingly emptying out of the north and Midwest and filling up spaces throughout the Southeast and other pockets across the southern U.S., resetting the economies of the areas they leave, and those they enter. 
  6. Luxury Re-defining – Brands that were once out of reach by location have democratized, first through outlet malls and now through outlet sites such as and Truer luxury brands we’ve never heard of are emerging in places where the average Jane and John Consumer will not see or understand them because being out of reach is kind of the point. Hint – They’ll be online. 
  7. Longevity – It has been said that if we can live long enough we might live forever. Until COVID-19 our life expectancy has been increasing based on the average age at death. Life expectancy is not a good way to beat the averages as most people have an age in their mind upon which they expect to die, largely due to this number and the age of death of close friends and family.  Click HERE to hear Peter Diamondis, an expert on longevity talk about how we think about our health and life expectancy influences how long we will live. Developing a more informed mindset about real health care, early identification and treatment of disease, biotech advancement with emerging treatment technologies, youthful thinking and financial ability to live longer is a key to actually living a longer life.   
  8. Social Commerce – Social Media is the new mall-scape street-scape façade of crowdsourced everything from inter-personal communication media and the growing domain of social commerce. Buying is going in-app and through post links to retailer mobile websites, right there where word of fingertip accelerates the growth. Click HERE to read about the acquisition of Botanical Interests by social media consumer gardening celebrity Kevin Espiritu, founder of Epic Gardening with over 6 million followers. He will now be influencing consumers everywhere they are online, and this is a huge bet on selling even more Botanical Interests garden seeds in our stores too. Not a prediction, but I bet we will see more than this. Click HERE to check out Kevin’s Epic Gardening YouTube channel.
  9. Climate Change – When Global Warming deniers started arguing that the climate does and is changing so global warming is nothing new - the argument was won and lost depending on whether you were a denier or believer in Global Warming. Today, everyone agrees to some degree that the climate is indeed changing though not always agreeing with how it is changing, what or if anything should change to stop it, and what the implications are. We’re all in Climate Change together and the opportunities to meet consumers where they are is BIG so we really can’t lose. Here’s the important factor to recognize clearly that you already know. Nearly all consumers under age 40 have been schooled since pre-school on the subject. They’re knowledgeable and passionate about protecting and preserving the environment as well as growing plants to make that happen. Pollinators anyone?


There are other ways our society and gardening are SHIFTing. These are some important ones to be more aware of and to begin developing deeper understanding as well as formulating plans on how to benefit from them.

Click HERE to enjoy an INSIGHTFUL video that Tom Kegley, the Group’s Branding GURU shared on even more SHIFTing. It will shed more insight and perspective and help you understand the entire concept as well as why we’re even talking about all this...

Our own lives are changing so fast we can’t keep up with all the ways, how to use them, or understand what any or all of the SHIFTing means. It takes time. Thanks for investing your time reading this article and heading down that path.

Even though you’re at the end of this article, DON’T STOP NOW. Take some more time to go deeper by going back and clicking through and reading everything in the articles at all those links!

It’s time now to plan a session to explore your preparation for the SHIFTing marketplace ahead. Send a text to connect while you’re thinking about it and I’ll get in touch to set it up for after spring. 937-302-0423.





Before procrastination or other busyness steals another year from you Text or Call 937-302-0423 or send an email to [email protected] .


Sid Raisch is an advocate for family business leading growth, change, and results throughout US horticulture. Redefining the business future for consumer horticulture by understanding how the end-to-end supply chain needs to be redirected is a skill Sid has honed into an art. He has understanding and insight through inquisitive observations and extensive experience and has served as a trusted advisor helping transform both national and local businesses into more profitable and sustainable businesses. Developing national and international educational programs that create change in culture, community and company provides Sid venues with a front row seat creating effective and innovative business models.


Sid is a Certified Value Builder System Advisor, and currently serves as Chief Strategist and the Swiss Army Knife of Consultants to The Garden Center Group clients. Contact Sid at [email protected] or call or text  937-302-0423.


REMEMBER: Your interaction (by phone and email) with Group Service Providers such as Sid Raisch, Tim Quebedeaux, Jean Seawright, John Kennedy, and of course Danny Summers are included in your retainer!


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