When a Writer Calls...

When a Writer Calls...

by Danny Summers

This past fall I received an introduction email and then a call from a writer who was assigned the task of creating a story for Better Homes & Garden magazine. The subject started out as:

"Why online plant sales are driving independent garden retailers out of business."

His name was Brian Barth and as I listened to his initial questions, my reaction was not what he expected. The first thing that was obvious to me was he had been handed this task because someone at BHG already believed this. It didn't seem like it was being done to find out IF IT IS TRUE. It seemed to be a fact in their minds and they just wanted to know WHY. It was like they had statistics that showed a large number of independent garden retailers had closed in recent years (which is true) and, well, it just must be all those online sales that are responsible. 

I could tell Brian was a nice guy who has experience in writing on garden and landscape subjects. In doing a search you can quickly see he has written for some major publications such as New Yorker, Washington Post, Landscape Architecture magazine and others. It also seemed he was open to what I had to say, even if it didn't fit his original assignment (or title). When I said,

"The real question is this:  How is e-commerce changing the industry overall? I would suggest it's introducing a whole new customer to the joy of plants."  

My comment was very obviously in a totally different direction from what he was expecting. We talked for quite a while and I referred him to some general observations such as what I shared here back in November in my 2-part blog post titled "The New Garden Center Customers."

When talking with writers (or reporters) you are never really sure how your comments will be used and what the final "angle" of the story will look like. Well, the story is out and a few of you have found it already in your reading and sent me some comments. If you have not yet seen it, you may be surprised how it turned out – I was, and overall I thought what started out to be a doomsday story about independent garden retails ended up pretty positive. 

So, now that you have my introduction on how this all began, I invite you to read the entire story on BHG.com for yourself. PLEASE give me some feedback on the overall message and how it relates to what you see in your business.

I look forward to hearing what you think!

Send me a quick message afterwards (email link here) and thanks in advance for reading and sharing!


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



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