Communicating With Growers

Communicating With Growers

The days of fax machines and availability lists aren’t nearing extinction, but in what has become a world of technology and speed, the relationship between growers and independent retailers must adapt to new ways of communication.

We talked with three proactive growers who are using new modes of communication to save time and ensure an excellent product for retailers, and asked them to share their ideas. If you like what you read, be sure to pass it on to your grower(s) the next time you talk.

Seeing Is Believing

David Wilson, director of marketing for Overdevest Nurseries, understands the power of video. Wilson regularly takes a video camera out and records images of available plants–and more.

“David goes into the grower houses and walks around among the gorgeous perennials and does more than just talk about them,” says Tom Hebel, owner of Revolutionary 100 retailer Bucks Country Gardens. “He doesn’t just say, ‘This perennial looks good today.’ It’s a bit of an education of the variety and an overview of the assets of the plant. And even if you didn’t like it before he started, when he’s done, you’re in love with the darn thing.”

Wilson says these videos help reinforce the confidence retailers can have in Overdevest’s just-in-time shipping. “We want retailers to know they are market-ready for them, so as soon as it comes in it’s going to fly out of their place.”

When Wilson shoots these videos of market-ready products, he says, the idea is to show retailers the plants they’re getting before they come in and explain some of the features of the plant and what they can do with it. “We make this video short–no more than two minutes–and we send it to the retailer ahead of time, attached to an availability list.”

Wilson says these videos are great for salespeople, providing them with quick, valuable information that can be easily passed on to the consumer. Some of the videos can also be used by the retailer in their retail space and marketing efforts. He adds the clips can be linked to e-newsletters, websites and even played on the garden center’s in-store televisions.

To see Wilson’s video, visit GardenSplendor.com and click on “Showcase Plants” along the left-hand side of the homepage.

Virtually Improved

While the phone may be the quickest and most direct way for growers to communicate with their customers, Stephanie Whitehouse, Peace Tree Farm’s sales and marketing manager, says a beefed up e-mail campaign has been an excellent way for Peace Tree to stay top of mind with its customers.

In these e-mails and also on the company’s website, Whitehouse sends along photos of the best-looking crops for that week. “We also add a new photo album on our website,” she adds. “People can see exactly what it looks like and how lush the plant is.”

The growing operation has added a convenient online shopping feature to its website. At PeaceTreeFarm.com, wholesale and retail customers can log in and have special site access to place orders. “It’s like Zappos.com where you’re searching for shoes, but in this case you’re shopping for plants,” Whitehouse says.

E-mails and websites are great ways to provide retailers accessibility to growers’ resources, but Peace Tree Owner Lloyd Traven also encourages retailers to visit their growers and get in some valuable face-to-face interaction. An in-person visit can help retailers connect with a variety they may have missed on the availability list.

Leave a Reply

More From Finances/Operations...

July 2, 2015

At Great Risk, Ernest Wertheim Helps Others To Escape Nazi Germany [Book Excerpt]

Editor’s note: Ernest Wertheim met the famous Pastor Niemöller at his cousin’s wedding. Niemöller is credited with saying: “First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist. Then they came for the socialist, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.” Niemöller told Wertheim about a ski instructor at a mountain resort that was half in Germany and half in Czechoslovakia. Here is an excerpt from Wertheim’s memoir, Chasing Spring, that recounts why Wertheim, renowned for his love of […]

Read More
Petunia ‘Pink Halo Ray’ (Danziger)

July 2, 2015

Improve Your Plant Knowledge At 2015 Summer Show Classes

Make plans to attend some of these educational presentations, seminars and panel discussions covering plant knowledge that will be taking place at this year’s conferences.

Read More

July 1, 2015

Marketing Classes At 2015 Summer Shows

Make plans to attend some of these educational presentations, seminars and panel discussions covering marketing that will be taking place at this year’s conferences.

Read More
Latest Stories

July 2, 2015

At Great Risk, Ernest Wertheim Helps Others To Escape N…

Editor’s note: Ernest Wertheim met the famous Pastor Niemöller at his cousin’s wedding. Niemöller is credited with saying: “First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist. Then they came for the socialist, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.” Niemöller told Wertheim about a ski instructor at a mountain resort that was half in Germany and half in Czechoslovakia. Here is an excerpt from Wertheim’s memoir, Chasing Spring, that recounts why Wertheim, renowned for his love of […]

Read More
Petunia ‘Pink Halo Ray’ (Danziger)

July 2, 2015

Improve Your Plant Knowledge At 2015 Summer Show Classe…

Make plans to attend some of these educational presentations, seminars and panel discussions covering plant knowledge that will be taking place at this year’s conferences.

Read More

July 1, 2015

Marketing Classes At 2015 Summer Shows

Make plans to attend some of these educational presentations, seminars and panel discussions covering marketing that will be taking place at this year’s conferences.

Read More
Alden Lane Nursery Water Wise

July 1, 2015

Drought/Water Management Classes At 2015 Summer Shows

Make plans to attend some of these educational presentations, seminars and panel discussions covering drought and water management that will be taking place at this year’s conferences.

Read More

June 29, 2015

All-America Selections Releases 2015 Annual Report

The annuals, perennials and edibles that are All-America Selections winners can help every segment of the distribution chain sell more product because of a back story that explains what it takes to become an AAS winner.

Read More
Lloyd Traven

June 29, 2015

Peace Tree Farm’s Lloyd Traven Will Be A Keynote Speake…

Speaking on Wednesday, Aug. 5, Traven will offer a wake-up call for the industry on how to capture and engage young consumers.

Read More
Botanica Collection (Landmark Plastic)

June 29, 2015

New Products Debuting In Summer 2015 [Slideshow]

These new products will be making their debut at this summer’s retail shows. Be sure to stop by and visit their manufacturers while you’re walking the trade show floor.

Read More

June 26, 2015

Share Your Memories Of Pink Flamingos To Honor The Pass…

Tonight I will lift a glass to Donald Featherstone, who created the iconic plastic pink flamingo that became a symbol of kitsch or bad taste, depending on your sense of style. He died this week at age 79 (Click here to read his obituary from NPR). I’ve long had an affection for the tacky lawn art. I lived in Austin, Texas, throughout most of the 1980s and and early 90s. While living there, I often drove by a house that was far away from the epicenter of Keep Austin Weird, in a quiet established community known for interesting architecture, good schools and its well-heeled residents. This house stood out because it had a plastic pink flamingo, out of place in this pocket of good taste. Over a few months, the homeowner added more pink flamingos until it was a sizable flock. Did I mention his house was on a major thoroughfare? […]

Read More
Feature image

June 25, 2015

Ernest Wertheim Rescues His Father From An Early Concen…

After Wertheim's father was arrested when re-entered Germany after a lengthy absence in 1937, his family heard there may be a way to free him. Here is an excerpt from Wertheim's book, Chasing Spring, recounting what happened next.

Read More

June 25, 2015

Human Resources Classes At 2015 Summer Shows

Make plans to attend some of these educational presentations, seminars and panel discussions covering human resources that will be taking place at this year’s conferences

Read More
Chasing Spring and Its Not Just about the Hat

June 22, 2015

New Memoirs From Ernest Wertheim And Allan Armitage Off…

New books from garden center design expert Ernest Wertheim and plant expert Allan Armitage offer a glimpse into the two mens’ careers. More importantly, however, they also go into detail on each man’s life experiences that helped make them what they are today.

Read More
Hawthorne Gardening feature image

June 22, 2015

Scotts-MiracleGro’s Subsidiary Buys Hydroponic Co…

Scotts-MiracleGro’s Hawthorne Gardening Co. recently announced it has purchased General Hydroponic and Bio-Organic Solutions. The company is based in Santa Rosa, Calif., and is “popular with marijuana growers,” according to Columbus Business First. Hawthorne Gardening Co. was created in October 2014 and is led by Chris Hagedorn, the son of Scotts-MiracleGro CEO Jim Hagedorn. At the time, Scotts-MiracleGro said the division was created to serve a younger and more urban customer. Purchasing General Hydroponic will position Hawthorne to respond to the U.S. changing attitudes and laws to legal medical and recreational marijuana. Tom Knox’s article about the purchase in Columbus Business First says General Hydroponics supplies liquid fertilizers and has plants in California, West Virginia and France. You can read Scott’s press release on the purchase here.

Read More

June 21, 2015

Ian Baldwin’s Blog Spurs A Debate On What Matters…

Industry consultant Ian Baldwin wrote recently about the need to emphasize nature more in garden retail. He pointed out that most garden retailers would prefer to go backpacking or kayaking before going to a movie, yet that passion for nature rarely translates in their customers’ shopping experience. His comments stirred a vigorous debate about organic vs. local and how butterflies and wildlife marketing are working at the ground level. Read the debate below. If you would like to read the original block, click here. Ian, this an interesting dilemma. We have classes on creating a Backyard Wildlife and they are generally well attended, but I think the vast majority of gardeners consider these kinds of backyards to be too messy and unruly. Obviously this is a misconception and one that our industry could do a better job of clarifying. Keep up the good work, my friend. Steve Smith, Sunnyside Nursery The […]

Read More
Fire Ants

June 19, 2015

Imported Red Fire Ants Discovered At Delaware Garden Ce…

State agriculture officials made the discovery during an inspection of tropical plants imported from Florida. The state has issued an alert to local businesses reminding them to check any shipments they may be receiving.

Read More
Moana stacked pallets display

June 19, 2015

Display And Merchandising Classes At 2015 Summer Shows

Make plans to attend some of these educational presentations, seminars and panel discussions covering displays and merchandising that will be taking place at this year’s conferences.

Read More
Webinar Laptop Graphic

June 17, 2015

Webinar: Proven Ways To Protect Your Data From Hackers …

On June 4, Today’s Garden Center broadcast a webinar addressing ways garden retailers can increase their online security. Listen to the recording of the webinar, where our panel of experts discussed the steps you can take to ensure your business, your data, and your customers are safe.

Read More

June 16, 2015

Digital/Social Media Classes At 2015 Summer Shows

Make plans to attend some of these educational presentations, seminars and panel discussions covering digital and social media trends that will be taking place at this year’s conferences.

Read More
Cultivate Trade Show

June 12, 2015

What To Do, And What’s New, At Cultivate’15

According to Aubrey Ballinger, learning resource specialist at AmericanHort, Cultivate’15 is the industry’s post-season pep-rally. “Because Cultivate’15 is unique in its attendees — representing every facet of the industry — and the sheer size of the event, we like to keep it on the cutting-edge of what it means to have an all-industry, educational, networking and business experience,” Ballinger says. Here’s what you can expect this year. What To Do At Cultivate New Varieties Zone: Get a first-hand look at more than 750 new plant introductions. See new colors, better habits, drought resistance and other aspects important to growers, retailers, landscapers and — most importantly — consumers. New Products Zone: This is your chance to preview the new innovative items ready to hit the market. Whether hard goods, technology, equipment or future retail best sellers, Cultivate’15 lets you be the first to see what’s coming so you can get a jump on the competition. […]

Read More