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.
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.”

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