January 2004
This & That By Bridget White

Editor's Report

After being on break for several months, I had too many things on my mind to focus on one topic, so I decided on a little bit of everything for this month’s column.

Resolutions

I love making resolutions every year and couldn’t start the January issue without sharing a few of the top resolutions we need to work on as an industry. Don’t worry…I won’t cover them all…just a few of the musts.

Shift focus. We are not garden centers or plant merchants or landscapers; we’re retailers, competing for that ever shrinking discretionary dollar. And if we don’t start recognizing that our real competition is the likes of Nordstrom’s, Pottery Barn and the restaurant of the day, then we’re going to lose out.

Hold pricing. There has been a lot of talk in the industry about the big box stores and how their pricing affects independent garden centers. I know it’s hard to see their ads week after week and not wonder about your own prices, but remember, you’re not selling plants; you’re selling plants, knowledge, service, atmosphere, relationships, solutions, confidence and a thousand other things. You can’t offer low prices, good service and high quality, so which two will you choose?

Prepare. Chances are it will rain several of the key spring weekends, some shipments will arrive late, an employee will drop the ball, your new department will bomb or some other disaster will occur this year. When it does, will you be ready? Do you have umbrellas for rainy-day shoppers; do you have a back-up vendor; are you investing only what you can afford? It’s no crime to have problems come up; it should be not being ready for them.

Pack Trial Bound

Perhaps it comes from affiliation with sister publication GPN, which serves commercial greenhouse growers, perhaps from recognition that green goods is the largest sales category for many garden centers, but we at Lawn & Garden Retailer have always thought the California Pack Trials was a must attend event for garden centers. Now, we’ve decided to put our money where our mouth is, so to speak, with the inaugural Lawn & Garden Retailer/GCA Pack Trial Tour.

For four days early this spring, and yes we know some of you are busy then, we’ll tour a busload of independent garden centers up and down the California coast to see the newest in bedding plants, perennials and cutflowers. If you’re known as having the best and newest plants, you can’t afford to miss this opportunity. More details can be found on page 18 and in next month’s issue, but don’t wait too long to reserve your spot. We’re only taking 50 people. Call the GCA at (888) 648-6463 for details or to reserve space.

A word of thanks

For the second year in a row, which by the way is the same number of years we’ve been in publication, we finished up last year as the number one magazine in the industry. The support of our readers and advertisers came through loud and clear, and we want to say thanks. So from the staff of Lawn & Garden Retailer — Bridget, Carrie, Catherine, Doug, Felix, Kelley, Neda, Tami and Tim — we wish you and yours a prosperous new year that fulfills all of your wishes.

Bridget White

Bridget White is editor of Lawn & Garden Retailer.




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