For a garden centre to evolve into a true four-season operation, it must by definition embrace seasonal, or holiday, sales in the form of Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and most especially, Christmas giftware and décor. Such items are vital to bridging the gap between growing seasons, and provide valuable additional revenue.
There are two ways to make more money in your business. The first way is to sell more plants and the second way is to control your business costs. If you can do both then you’ll have hit the sweet spot but as any business owner is well aware, it’s easier said than done. Customers are harder to corral and simply keeping the lights on and the plants moving out the door takes every hour of the day.
A high-powered human resources executive said to me a few years ago, “I can’t get over those candidates who insist on listing “proficiency in Microsoft Word and Excel” as skills on their resumés. In this day and age, it’s like saying you know how to use a pencil!” In retailing terms – this rationale still holds true.
We can’t change what’s happened so far in the big picture or in our personal relationships, but we have a huge antidote available to us in the form of passion. Whereas an “emotion” is a reaction of love, hate, anger or happiness that is often uncontrolled and is expressed in either negative or positive ways, I define “passion” as a powerful feeling of excitement and enthusiasm about life in general and a consistently positive attitude overall.

From a brown thumb
to a green thumb

An inexperienced plant-lover shares how she was transformed from a brown thumb to a green thumb.

Canadians forgo service for low prices
Customer service has been knocked off its perch by low prices as the leading factor driving shopper loyalty, according to a new study released. But take caution, deep discounts aren't the only way to consumers' hearts.

A matter of just 50 cents

Do you empower your employees to make decisions on the fly? One shopper recounts a shopping outing where 50 cents could have turned her disappointing experience into a fantastic one.
June 30, 2010 – Starting July 1, British Columbia and Ontario will join Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in eliminating current provincial sales taxes and substituting a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).
June 1, 2010 - In April, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has released a report revealing that CIBC is far and away the worst bank when it comes to servicing Canada’s smallest businesses.
June 11, 2010 - The canny shopper knows that cash is king when it comes to negotiating a deal, especially when working with independent businesses. Do you offer a deal in exchange for cold, hard money?

Not your grandmother’s gardening anymore
There have been massive shifts in the way people think about gardening, says Toronto garden writer Gayla Trail. They are stepping away from grandma’s rows of flowers and preferring to grow fruits and vegetables.
While putting together our state-of-the-industry report for this issue, it was great to sit down and write about what bright opportunities lie ahead for garden centre retailers. At a time when many other sectors are suffering, you work in one that’s full of promise.
It’s not always possible to reward employees for work well done with financial incentive. The money, often times, just isn’t there. How then does one motivate workers to excel without the promise of a raise or bonus?
I think it’s safe to say that the popularity of the container gardening trend is quickly gaining momentum and it is only a matter of time before it morphs into one of the stalwarts of retail garden sales.
Frustrations around big-box competition and a changing customer base are often part of the conversation at industry gatherings these days, but the reality is that the independent garden centre industry has been a good place to do business in recent years, and may be about to get even better.

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