This year, when customers made their annual spring outing to Eising Greenhouses & Garden Centre in Simcoe, Ont., they found the same quality plants, just in a brand-new setting. In the past year, the business has undergone a complete renovation to deliver customers a high-end retail experience. The changes have been well received to say the least!
In real estate terms – we’ve entered a buyer’s market. For several years now, home sales have been brisk. In many cases, houses sold quickly for bids at or sometimes exceeding the asking price. Those days, for the moment, are gone. Home sellers must bring their “A” game to the process. They need to think like marketers – their home is now a “product” for sale. As with any product, it’s got to get noticed first and then make the buyer’s short list. An attractive exterior is the real estate equivalent to a catchy label on a consumer packaged good. The exterior communicates a lot about what’s inside and gardens are a major component of that first impression. Home stagers are professionals brought in to ready a house for the real estate market and long neglected gardens are often part of that process. Herein lies the opportunity for garden centres.
As independent retailers, you know how important it is to shop local. When customers make a purchase at your garden centre, they keep cash circulating in your community and help you pay your taxes, your payroll and your operating expenses. The problem is reminding your customers of these benefits. A new movement based in the U.S. is making it easy to do just that.
Rod McDonald, the founder of Lakeview Gardens in Regina, recalls his mother’s reaction when he first told her that he was opening a garden centre.

Upping the wow factor
builds brand loyalty

A May survey of Canadian and American shoppers revealed employee engagement and a great "brand experience" contribute most to an exceptional shopping trip.

Flowers power blooming business

Pixie Gardens Inc. is a business that provides customers with the perfect garden, but takes care of all the work.
June 16, 2009 - A new website in the U.S. is allowing users to buy, sell or trade their veggies, adding a whole new dimension to the term "community gardens."

Buy and swap your veggies
A new website in the U.S. is allowing users to buy, sell or trade their veggies, adding a whole new dimension to the term "community gardens."

Turn blah to beautiful
Why are some window boxes so beautiful and others so blah? It's all about design, according to the gardener for public education at The New York Botanical Garden.
May 29, 2009, Ithaca, NY — Christopher G. McCann, president of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, is the latest addition to the Seeley Conference program. McCann will be addressing the subject of “Delivering our Message to Multiple Audiences.”

Vegetable gardening tops consumer lists
In a new survey, the Garden Writers Association Foundation (GWAF) confirmed that veggies are tops with gardeners.
My wife is a very picky flower consumer. Her checklist includes price, colour, uniqueness, and – mostly importantly – fragrance. In fact, if the plant isn’t fragrant, you’d pretty much have to have flowers pulsing neon to pique her interest.
May 25, 2009 – In my conference presentations, I often talk about the fact that what the customer perceives is in their mind truth and that is what retailers and suppliers need to work on.

Perception is truth
Retail expert John Stanley discusses how garden centres perceive their own industry and what they think are their weaknesses.

The 3/50 project looks out for independents
Pick three. Spend 50. Save your local economy – that's the new premise of a website recently launched in the U.S.

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