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IGC Chicago was a hit!


August 24, 2014
By Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery

Aug. 25, 2014, Chicago – The eighth annual IGC Chicago wowed the industry with a high-action show floor and a powerful education line up that included a candid sit-down interview with Martha Stewart.

IGC Show founder Jeff Morey's keynote interview with Stewart was standing-room-only; even show-goers in the ballroom's upper-level balcony leaned in as Stewart described the key opportunities for independent garden centers. Specialized offerings and variety in seeds and green goods are what draw her to independents, as well as beautifully merchandised displays like those at one of her favourite stores, Terrain in Westport, Conn.

To draw Gen X and Gen Y into the garden, education and manageable garden plans are key, Stewart said. IGC retailers must also play a key role in getting kids into the garden to discover where their food comes from – a mission she makes a priority with her own young grandchildren. Stewart brings her grandkids into her gardens to pick blueberries and harvest vegetables, a chore she said she's happy to leave to the little ones: "I'd rather do the planting."

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Following the keynote, Stewart toured the trade show floor with IGC Show co-founder Cheryl Morey, and stopped to chat with exhibitors and examine product hands-on.

"Martha was really a pleasure to interview," Jeff Morey said. "I think we were all surprised to learn how much she really does in her gardens. For example, even though she has gardeners and landscapers on staff, she talked about preferring smaller-sized material because it's easier for her to handle. Who would have thought she digs her own holes? She was really down-to-earth and very knowledgeable."

"Walking the IGC Show floor with Martha, you could see her genuine fascination with our industry," added Cheryl Morey. "She was amazed at the size of the show and how many offerings are focused exclusively on independents. She was impressed."

A survey of attendees from the trade show floor reveals IGC Chicago's broad range of products was of particular note with buyers this year.

"We always find something different at the IGC Show. It keeps us coming back every year," said Carlie Manthei, manager of Brenda's Blumenladen in New Glarus, Wis.

Another retailer, Karen O'Connor, owner of Mother Earth Gardens, Minneapolis, MD, said, "The IGC Show is bigger than any other trade show. There's such a large variety of vendors and products. It's great!"

IGC-exclusive specials got buyers writing orders on-site. "We always come to the IGC Show to write our product orders for the season," said Darlene Jones, merchandise manager and buyer at Hoerr Nursery in Peoria, Ill. "We save a lot of money with the show specials."

Vendors, too, reported brisk buying on the show floor. "We were very pleased with the turnout to our booth at IGC Chicago. It was a significant success for us," said Kevin Xu, owner of PH Garden. "We saw many of our customers and wrote lots of orders. Everyone in the garden centre business was here!"

IGC Chicago returns to Navy Pier next summer from Aug. 18 to 20, 2015.


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