Two years ago, Blondie’s Gift & Gardens celebrated its grand opening, and has since grown into a successful full-service garden centre.  Located just east of Medicine Hat, in Dunmore, Alberta, Blondie’s Gifts & Gardens prides itself on offering customers an intimate shopping experience.
In the short time that I have been sitting in the editor’s chair I have noticed some strong trends in the garden centre industry as well as some possible concerns that may appear in the near future.
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I must admit, unlike the many who came before me at this magazine, I wouldn’t label myself an expert when it comes to gardening. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve spent many days, knee deep in dirt, looking for the perfect plant to fill out the patch around the patio.
Celebrating the New in New Year
The agriculture sector is faced with a great number of uncertainties and yet, is still evolving, growing and performing well, though not at record levels.
If it were a stock listed on the exchange, Flowers Canada (Ontario) would be one of the hottest properties available. People would be lining up to invest. It’s a leader in R&D, has excellent relations with governments at all levels, and has earned the respect of regulatory departments on both sides of the border. It has helped develop forward-thinking human resources strategies, and has a number of market development initiatives to its credit. What it needs are more ‘investors.’

The earlier the problems are addressed, the better the chance of a successful turnaround. A contingency plan should be put in place in order to prepare for “what if” strategies and exit plans, if necessary.
As the end of the year quickly approaches, it is time to once again reflect on your financial position, and what you can do to improve your situation by reducing taxes payable, whether you are an individual taxpayer or an owner of an incorporated greenhouse operation.
Growers well appreciate the investment they have that continually posts the greatest dividends. Good employees are worth their weight in gold, or in today’s prices, premium unleaded.

Alberta’s growing influence within the Canadian greenhouse industry is about to get much larger. The province is funding a major upgrading of its research greenhouses at the Crops Diversification Centre South in Brooks.
Establishing them can provide many advantages. But to ensure that such a strategy meets all your objectives, it is wise to consult experienced tax and legal advisors.

While gutter heights of new greenhouses are continuing to rise, this remains a low-profile industry within Canadian business circles. There are the occasional greenhouse business stories in local papers and TV and radio stations, but not a lot of human interest or technology/science reporting.
There are alternative materials and recycling programs already available, B.C. growers were told at a conference earlier this year. “The biggest problem of recycling plastics right now is the sorting cost,” said one speaker.

“We will become one of the only North American greenhouse producers with substantial year-round and diversified production from our own facilities.”

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