The Journey of Lifetime Learning

The Journey of Lifetime Learning

by Tim Quebedeaux

It has been almost a year since I started work with Steve Bailey. During that time, I have done onsite visits, attended Fall Event as a service provider, compiled the WDR weekly, and helped complete the P&L Study. I have gained a great appreciation for accountability in numbers and in the resolve of Garden Center owners to succeed. From those early Garden Center days to today, I recognize valuable information that I could have used 20 years ago, when I started managing Garden Centers.

Every week as I compile the WDR, I get to see a tidal wave of information. With all those numbers to look at I often become cross-eyed! But as I remember what it was like to be managing that first store, I tend to pick out a few meaningful numbers. Average Sale (weekly and YTD)... Transaction Count % up or down…. Leading Categories in Sales by region…. Just those few numbers can tell me a lot on how I compare where I am, and where I can be or should be.

I was always trained to know what my Average Sale was every day of the year. So being able to compare that number to other centers my size (in revenues) and in my area… WOW! I would have loved it! Pushing our sales team with the data, showing them that IT is possible to increase our average sale! Some people need to see the numbers to believe it. Also tracking transaction counts gives me an idea of how we are trending versus other Garden Centers in my region. If one Center is showing an increase and we are flat… I could find out what they were doing just by sending them an email and asking why. The fact that I would not be alone managing my store – I have help. The last one that really hits me is the category percent of sales. It shows me what is selling in each region of the country. Very telling of when I need to increase my inventory and when I need to exit. Everyone needs to know the seasonality of each category for their sales curves. But digging into the WDR week to week will show you when a category is up and down. Connecting those dots will give you a good guideline to when to ramp up inventory and even tougher for most buyers – when to STOP!

And then upon completing the P&L Study, I once again came away with a few key numbers that I wish I could have used years ago. Such as Margin dollars per transaction, Business cost per transaction, and Sales per acre.

To be able to look at that key employee and tell them of that $65.32 average sale, we use $35.57 of it to pay for the expenses and paychecks. Even a better picture is business cost per transaction. With our average sale of $65.32, $61.54 is used to conduct business leaving the owners with only $3.78 per transaction to put towards improvements, profit sharing, or into savings. To some employees it will help them understand the numbers side of the business so they start acting in the company’s best interest, not just theirs.

Then, you look at Sales per acre! I know I have managed a few places that we “loaded” up with inventory. We were so happy to have the room, mainly so that we could “care” for the plants properly. I have come a long way in my years. I now understand better. If I am having to care for too many plants, I am not turning them fast enough. I have too many. Seeing the ability of some Garden Centers to produce over a million in revenues per acre so many times that made me realize it is not the space, it is how you use it.

It was a warm January day when I started working in the Garden Center back in my college days. I didn’t know a lot, like what was that sweet smell. I have learned it was a Osmanthus fragrans (Tea Olive). I didn’t know what a Duranta repens was – after the fifth time asking my supervisor that day it stuck. I have come along way. I no longer think I know everything. That passed shortly after I started at the garden center (coinciding with reaching my mid 20’s). I know there is a lot more to learn. I am learning everyday about what I know and what I don’t know. The journey of knowledge and wisdom is exciting.

Got questions or need more information about The Group's the Weekly Department Review (WDR) or Annual P&L Study? Give Tim or Steve a call or email.

Tim Quebedeaux
Cell: 770.355.6249

Steve Bailey
Cell: 618.521.5225


Tim Quebedeaux and Steve Bailey with RetailKPI Consulting are service providers for The Garden Center Group and manages all Group financial sharing programs. The Weekly Department Review (WDR) and The Annual P&L Study are industry exclusives developed by The Garden Center Group and are included in your retainer!

REMEMBER: Your interaction (by phone and email) with Group Service Providers such as Tim Quebedeaux, Steve Bailey, Robert Hendrickson, Sid Raisch, Jean Seawright, and John Kennedy are included in your retainer! So what are you waiting for? Take advantage of all that The Group has to offer and give them a call or send an email now!


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