Quebec gets two new RONAs.  Retail giant, RONA, recently opened its 14th and 15th big-box style stores for Quebec, giving them a total of 72 such stores across the country.
Griffin’s Greenhouses, a small family-run garden centre/grower operation just outside of Peterborough, Ont., celebrated its 30th anniversary last year. By all standards, three decades in business is a significant achievement. But, in a retail world now dominated by box stores and the “convenience factor,” this accomplishment is even more impressive.
Garden centre retailing is one of the most demanding environments for inventory management. Displaying in a greenhouse or an outbuilding presents unique challenges. Bright sunlight fades packages and tags, dust gives products a somewhat aged look, and, of course, moisture can make merchandise look weathered – none of which are too alluring to a prospective purchaser.
According to retailers in the U.S., the average yearly sales per square foot should be $340.  Some businesses obviously exceed this, working on an average that exceeds $700 a square foot.  To convert this, it means that you should be achieving $2,500 to $6,500 per square metre.
As interest in container gardening continues to climb, some garden centres and nurseries in Atlantic Canada are modifying their operations to follow the fad. Consumers are drawn to container gardening and pre-planted pots for several reasons – versatility, less weeding, portability and a faster bang for the buck.
Simply stated, a split retail/wholesale operation is a garden centre or nursery with both a retail outlet and a wholesale growing operation (or perhaps a storeroom with imported goods).
Paul Day, show manager for Landscape Ontario, and Rob Cappiello, industry vice president for Reed Exhibitions, announced the launch of a new hardware/outdoor living trade show that will run concurrently with Garden Expo / Florist Expo on October 17-18, 2006.
As winter settles in across the country, consumer gardening magazines are focusing on indoor activities such as reading and growing houseplants as well as offering tips on adding content to the outdoor garden in winter.
For 25 years, Cullen Gardens and Miniature Village in Whitby, Ont. has been one of the biggest tourist attraction east of Toronto, drawing up to 35,000 visitors a year.
For homeowners today, it is now “in” to be “out!”   Outside that is ... cooking, entertaining, reading, relaxing and even working in the great outdoors.
For years gift certificates were consider the ‘lazy’ gift, which didn’t require a great deal of thought or effort. When large retail chains first capitalized on the new gift card technology, consumers had a change of heart and quickly embraced the new version of gift certificates. 
With its origins as an ancient pagan festival, Halloween has been transformed into a retailer's dream by offering customers an array of merchandise for all their trick or treating needs.
Just announced on June 6, but rumoured for several weeks – in fact for years – the retail garden sector has gained another fierce competitor when U.S.-based Lowe’s home improvements announced it would open its first Canadian store in Toronto in 2007.
There’s something positively exotic about sharing a fine meal outside. Maybe it’s because we’re cooped up so much during our harsh winters? Maybe it’s a desire to commune with nature? All indicators are pointing towards outdoor kitchens as a serious trend to watch. A trend that garden centres could tap into quite nicely.
Knowledgeable staff and healthy plants at reasonable prices are good starter points for garden centres, but in order for your businesses to bloom, more is required. Increasingly, customers are seeking and receiving that little bit extra that entices them to visit.
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