Needs for the Future

Needs for the Future

by Danny Summers

Taking time to look ahead is an important task but how often do we really do it? And let's face it, in the middle of a busy (normal) day it most likely doesn't or can't happen. Even if you remember a few minutes to push away and think about "what if's", the best you can do is jot down some quick notes and continue later.

The Eureka! session at The Fall Event 2023 offered a vision of what the possible benefits could be in having a planned period of disconnected thinking time for you and your team. The saying "can't see the forest for the trees" applies during our normal day. There are so many areas to consider your needs and opportunities for the future. One such area is your marketing efforts. This is a huge subject and covers multiple facets when you consider everything that your audience sees from you... your brand on everything. Every message you present to them, whether it comes through your website, emails, social platforms, traditional advertising and even your facility and your team, helps create the standards for your marketing.

If you were with us on the final morning of The Fall Event 2023 when we invited our Tour Center Owners to the stage for a Q&A, you heard Susan Bacus Morgan, Marketing Manager at Star Roses & Plants ask the question, "How can we best support you in your marketing?" Her question is an important one as I have heard other sponsors express similar views. Her question was prefaced by recognizing the amount of effort the Brand invests in marketing support overall (particularly Point of Purchase materials) and she was seeking a more effective approach.

This question sets the stage for a discussion and considerable thought...

  • What is needed to support your Center's marketing programs in the future?
  • What resources can our Partners for Success and Sponsors provide to help you be more effective in your marketing?

Recognizing that simply making the wholesale sale to a Retailer is not the end but just the beginning, is an important viewpoint for the vendor. It is not until the Retailer sells the plants or products and the consumer is enjoying them at their home that the cycle truly complete. One of the answers to the questions above could be monetary support but most likely it is something more. Obviously, one of the most important starting points is the relationship itself in order to create a better approach. Just like Susan's question, it begins with a committed Vendor (or Brand) wanting to support the Retailer to be successful in marketing their plants or products.

Our November 9th GROUPtalk LIVE, titled Marketing Needs for the Future, will be an open discussion to consider needs for your marketing efforts in the future. I hope we can gain some insights that will help our Centers be better positioned for the coming years as well as help our Partners for Success and Sponsors to better support your efforts. They understand they win when you win. Plan on being with us and spend some time thinking ahead of what could really help you in your marketing efforts in the coming seasons. Be ready to share.

Better Shopping Carts - A Working Focus Group
Another area of ​​thinking ahead began months ago when we had a conversation on GroupEs eList about shopping carts. This is an area that one size does not fit all, but understanding who is using which ones and why and how efficient each one is a worthy discussion.

Back in June when we were presenting at the Ball/Darwin Perennial Day, I was heading to the hotel and I passed right by the R.W. Rogers facility. I quickly did a u-turn, walked in and was fortunate to find Bob Rogers there. R.W. Rogers is a long-time sponsor of The Fall Event.

Bob spent some time with me as he showed me their facility and we discussed not only their shopping cart operation but also their other products they produce such as mobile counters and benching units. We saw RW Rogers benches when we were at both Natorp's Nursery Outlet and White Oak Gardens during The Fall Event 2023 Tour.

And when I say shopping cart area – it is an amazingly efficient operation. I saw almost every shopping cart you can imagine with all the major brand names attached. Do you know they stock most every replacement part for refurbishing the carts you have? When you think about it, much of the time the frame and finish may still be in good shape but the wheels and other parts are showing the wear. Changing or updating wheels may be the answer.

We talked about the many different types of carts they offer and many that our Centers use – with two levels, with top shelf that folds up, with and without child seats. One topic I have heard in our earlier GroupEs discussion was the benefits of having a longer top shelf. I told Bob about this and this got Bob to thinking.

We came up with the idea to have a Working Focus Group this fall that can consider Needs for the Future and some effective changes you would like to see in shopping carts. Bob agreed and we set Thursday, November 2nd as the day for the first meeting. It will be a Zoom meeting that I will organize. Bob has already been working on some "what if's" and I can tell he is excited to have our input on what could result in better shopping carts for you.

If you are interested in participating in Better Shopping Carts - A Working Focus Group, sign up HERE. Depending on what we come up with, we may need followup meetings or at the very least, we will share developing design ideas with you for feedback. I will be sharing more details ahead of our meeting.


Sharing is at the heart of The Group and your ideas are very important. If you have any trouble logging into The Group WebSystem, please let me know. Are you and your staff all subscribed to our eLists such as GroupEs, Retail-Grower, Retail-Landscape, Owners-Only, and a number of others? Need help subscribing? Let me know so I can show you how you can sign up.

Thanks for sharing!

Danny Summers
[email protected]
Tel: 678-909-7770
Cell: 678-761-7145

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

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