April 2016
The Power of Pink By Abby Kleckler

Getting hundreds of people into the garden center while supporting a good cause seems like a win-win. Here are three snapshots of successful campaigns inspired by Spring Meadow Nursery's Pink Days/Invincibelle Spirit hydrangea campaign. Each garden center makes the fundraisers their own, getting people excited about everything from hanging baskets to paintings throughout the year.

Pink Days in Bloom, Newfoundland, Canada

It’s rare that we take a trip across the border, but Pink Days in Bloom has become a mainstay on the small Canadian island of Newfoundland, thanks to avid gardener Linda Ryan.

“I was looking through gardening magazines and came across the ad for Invincibelle Spirit hydrangea and thought I would try to seek the plant out,” Ryan says. “I tried a few garden centers here, and they didn’t have them. Then I went to a garden center about 20 minutes outside of the city, Pat’s Plants and Gardens, and Pat Puddester is the owner, and she had a ton of them.”

Ryan worked with Pat’s Plants and Gardens to have the first local plant sale to raise money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF), and it quickly expanded.

“That first plant sale we raised $2,300 in 2011, and the following year I approached a bunch of other garden centers,” Ryan says. “Everyone signed on and we raised $25,000 in the second year.”

Since inception, Pink Days in Bloom events have raised more than $100,000.

Year-Round Ideas

Last year, there were 17 different Pink Days in Bloom events that expanded beyond the growing season.

“We have a very short growing season here in Newfoundland; it’s only from June to the end of August really,” Ryan says. “We’ve gone beyond that now and extended the Pink Days in Bloom season as we call it even beyond the growing season right up until the end of December.”

Last year a garden center launched Pink Poinsettia Days in Bloom to continue fundraising around the holidays, while other garden centers and nurseries joined in on the Pink Tree Project, donating a portion of all pink flowering trees they sell to CBCF.

One upcoming event for Mother’s Day this year is a partnership with a local florist to be called Pink Rose Days in Bloom, where they’ll donate a percentage of pink variety sales to the cause.

L2R Linda Ryan, Sharon Snow NTV Personality, Paula Tessier CBCF-Atlantic, NTV Cameraman Hickey's Greenhouses, CBS, NLThe ideas are endless, according to Ryan.

“I pitch my ideas, and I’m always brainstorming things,” Ryan says. “They register their events through the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation here in the Atlantic region, and I work with them to work out the details and promote it.”

Spanning Industries

The roots of Pink Days in Bloom are in the garden center industry, but other businesses in the community have jumped on board as well.

“In Pat’s community [Pat’s Plants and Gardens], four retailers cooperate and the whole community gets involved on what’s called Pink Weekend,” Ryan says. “In addition to Pat’s Plants hosting, we have her neighbor right next door which is a gift shop, and we have a boat tour just down the road, and a restaurant just down the road. They give a percentage of their sales for that day for the cause.”

Pink Days in Bloom “The Little Christmas Fair” brings together more than two dozen artisans and performers, one garden center selling Christmas arrangements, and Christmas Wreaths for the Cure with fresh balsam fir wreaths. This event alone draws more than 800 people in six hours, according to Ryan.

Mutual Benefits

“Pink Days in Bloom is a really fulfilling way to support the breast cancer community, and it’s about raising awareness about breast cancer,” Ryan says, “But it’s also important in raising awareness about the garden center industry, a wonderful way to encourage healthy, beautiful living through gardening.”

Businesses have also used the events as a way to engage employees and contribute to the overall customer experience.

“It gives the employees a satisfaction that it offers them an opportunity to go beyond their everyday job duties,” Ryan says. “If you can eavesdrop on some of the conversation during these events people are really connecting, and I think this helps make a lasting impression on the customers and the employees.”

One of the biggest changes of heart from Pink Days in Bloom was with one of the starters of it all, Pat Puddester.

“I get goosebumps because I remember this conversation with Pat so well,” Ryan says. “She had her garden center up on the market for a couple months, and as soon as the first person walked in the door for Pink Days in Bloom, she said it wasn’t for sale anymore.”

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Abby Kleckler

Abby is the managing editor of Lawn & Garden Retailer. Contact her at akleckler@greatamericanpublish.com.





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