Greenhouse Canada

Spring 2010 sales theme: ‘Rain, rain, go away …’

August 17, 2010  By Myron Love


Spring 2010 sales theme: ‘Rain, rain, go away …’
Wet weather in June put the brakes on what looked to be promising spring
sales for many greenhouse and garden centre operators across the country.


Aug. 17, 2010 – Wet weather in June put the brakes on what looked to be promising spring
sales for many greenhouse and garden centre operators across the country.

Baskets were high and low in this retail area of den Haan’s Garden World
and Greenhouses.


“Business started out like gangbusters in March and sales continued
strong through April,” says Kurt Reeves, co-owner (with his brother, Paul) of
Plant World in Etobicoke. ”But we lost all our momentum when the weather
changed at the beginning of May. And June was also soft. As a result, our sales
are slightly down this spring from last year.”


A retail display at den Haan’s Garden World and Greenhouses in
Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia.

The Prairies appears to have been the region hardest hit by soggy
conditions. Bill Hole (Hole’s Greenhouses and Gardens in St. Albert, which is
just outside Edmonton) reports spring sales were down 20 per cent from the same
period last year. “Four of the five weekends in May were cool and wet,” Hole
says. “We even had snow the second last weekend in May. It was the worst spell
of bad weather I’ve seen in a very long time, and it was much the same right
across the Prairies.”


Priscilla Mah, owner of Central Botanical Gardens in Saskatoon, notes
that despite the weather, her spring sales were up somewhat.

Chad Labbe, of Shelmerdine Nurseries and Garden Centre in Winnipeg,
reports sales in April and May were very strong. “We were up 10 to 15 per cent
coming into June. But our June sales were below normal because of all the

The story was much the same in British Columbia. John Zaplatynsky,
president of Gardenworks Garden Centres – with nine locations in the Vancouver
area and on Vancouver Island – also reports that sales started out well in
March and into early April before the weather turned cool. “I would say our
final sales figures for the spring were on par with last year.”

In eastern Canada, while Donna Gamble (Gamble’s Greenhouses in Nepean,
Ontario) notes that her spring sales were pretty good considering the weather
and the short spring, Henryk Maedler (Les Serres Maedler Inc. in Clarenceville,
Quebec) describes his sales as ranging from “so-so to lousy.” 

Plants and gardening apparel at den Haan’s Garden World and Greenhouses.

“We had cold and snow on Mother’s Day,” he says. “We just had two good
weeks to sell everything. It was a discouraging spring.”



At den Haan’s Garden World and Greenhouses in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia,
the weather was only part of the reason for a slight decline in spring sales.
Darlene den Haan notes that sales started out strong in April but then lagged
in May and June. What’s also affecting sales is that the population in Nova
Scotia is aging faster than in most other provinces in Canada and that the
economy in the region is down. “People are watching their spending,” she says.
“Our customers are buying fewer and fewer bedding plants. Our container sales
are up – especially the 4" plants – because people aren’t planting gardens
like they used to but are instead buying containers.”

Plant World’s Kurt Reeves also reports an increase in container sales.
“People seem to like having that instant material and instant colour.”

Bill Hole says containers in the Edmonton area are selling well.
“Vegetable plant sales in containers have been good,” he says.

John Zaplytynsky observes that in the Vancouver area, vegetable plants
were very popular. “It’s the grow-your-own thing,” he says. “Anything
food-related sold well.”

A water garden display area at den Haan’s Garden World and Greenhouses.

Chad Labbe (Shelmerdine) saw an increase in nursery stock sales. “Our
nursery sales were on par and even a little higher than previous years.”

Priscilla Mah reports that bacopa was a good seller for them this year.
There was also more demand for allium. “Our sales of planters and hanging
baskets were also up,” she adds.

Henryk Maedler noted strong demand for hibiscus as well as demand for
bougainvillea trellises. “We grow mostly tropical plants,” he says. “We
are well established so we can weather the ups and downs. But it’s not easy if
you are just starting out.”











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