Imagine five floors filled with stylish baubles, fresh florals, lots of sparkle, blinking lights, distinctive new containers, lavishly decorated trees and aisle after aisle of displays and booths. This is the scene that played out at the 2009 Christmasworld – The World of Event Decoration trade show in Frankfurt, Germany. The annual event takes place at Messe Frankfurt, the city’s renowned trade show venue and attracts more than 950 exhibitors from 38 countries. I was invited the attend the show at the beginning of January and spent three days with my camera in one hand snapping away and a notebook in the other, detailing the hot, and soon to be hot, European Christmas trends.
With 65 years of growing under its belt, it’s clear that Marigold Nurseries knows a thing or two about providing its customers with great service and quality.
I was pleasantly surprised by plant sales this past spring, although I have to admit that they were much better than expected. Still, I learned that every business has the opportunity to either ignore or engage their economic reality, and that change can be as simple as reacting, adapting or diversifying to meet the current needs of the client and the business that serves them.
A recent experience at a local grocery store got me thinking about customer service and how one bad experience can really stand out for a shopper. When I made my way through the checkout line, I wasn’t greeted, smiled at or even acknowledged. The only verbal exchange from my miserable clerk was a quick “yep” and a blank stare. Many weeks later, the experience still stands out in my mind and I’ve shared the story with family and friends.

Sourcing the garden centre for home decor

A new story from the Canadian Press highlights why a garden centre can be a great source for home decor items.

Canadians are big complainers about service
Canadians are among the industrialized world's worst complainers about inferior customer service, a new survey suggests.
Aug. 5, 2009 - Your staff is both the face of your business and an essential part of the engine that keeps it running. These employees are also human - they make mistakes and may require positive or negative critiques. How do you give your staff feedback?

How peer boards benefit business owners
How do entrepreneurs learn from each other? And how do you get them to do the things they want to do, and need to do, but never seem to find time for? One answer is peer advisory boards. 

Crocs lose their footing
Comfy and durable, Crocs have carved out a niche in the footwear market. Unfortunately, the brand may not outlast the shoes.

Canadian retail sales surge

Canadian retail sales rose much more than expected in May after a surprise drop the previous month, Statistics Canada said Wednesday. 
July 10, 2009 - Sometimes all it takes is a clever sign to make people stop and take a second look at your products. What's are some great signage ideas you've used in the past?

Plant Concierge gives gardeners the answers

Plant Concierge is a recently launched project designed to encourage more widespread consumer use of plant care and landscaping services, with the aim of increasing gardening activity.
As a garden centre industry, we are very fortunate to be one of the industries least affected by the international recession. In speaking with many owners across North America, generally the season seems to be unfolding better than anticipated. Giftware, colour, unique plants, seeds and novelty items are doing well. The biggest star, as we all expected, has been edibles.
Dry summers become a wake-up call, shocking us into reality. Municipalities institute water bans and wells run low. Water, it seems, is not a limitless resource, even here in Canada, and we can no longer run our lives as if it were.
Often, the hardest part of working in a garden centre is not dealing with customers, hectic spring schedules or inventory turnovers – but coping with the workplace politics arising from staff conflicts. When you think about it, we often spend more of our waking hours at work than we do with friends or family, so it only makes good sense to try to maintain a positive relationship with our co-workers. While sustaining a harmonious staff is a skill that some find akin to alchemy, in reality what it really takes is the persistent efforts of the nursery owner(s), management and the staff itself in order to maintain an atmosphere of mutual respect.

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