Jennifer Polanz Says Good-Bye To Today’s Garden Center

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Some of you may already be aware, but the August issue is my last as managing editor of Today’s Garden Center. Starting next month someone else’s picture will grace this page, as I will be taking off to care for my newborn baby.

Don’t think you’ve gotten rid of me that easily, though. Once I’ve had a short maternity leave I will come back to write for the magazine on a monthly basis, so you will still see my name. It was a difficult decision to make, but in the end I decided I wanted to stay home with my baby and experience all those wonderful “firsts.”

My Own Firsts

I look around my desk, though, as I write this and see reminders of all the amazing things I’ve experienced in the industry. It wasn’t so long ago I was experiencing all my own firsts in garden retail. My first industry event was the GCA Holiday Tour in Detroit, which I attended about a month after I arrived here. It was there I realized how kind and generous this industry really was, and I knew I would enjoy being a part of it. I’ve participated in tons of events, from trade shows to retail tours and garden center visits, to lobbying for the industry on Capitol Hill with the Society of American Florists. I’ve met a plethora of people. I’ve even seen my own magazine give back to the industry with its support of the ANLA Retail Rising Star through a scholarship program.

When I started at Today’s Garden Center, we were an upstart – we came out six times a year, and were only beginning to build our place in the industry. Today, we hit readers monthly; we have a Web site updated frequently with news, products and on-the-road musings; and we have a weekly e-newsletter to make sure our readers stay informed.

We also launched our Revolutionary 100 Garden Centers list in 2006 to recognize true innovators in the industry, and received tons of positive feedback and support for it. This year, we took it a step further to recognize regional winners and an overall national winner. Next year, we have even more in store for you!

I’m proud of the “first steps” we’ve taken, and the work we’ve done over the years. I look back at the magazine covers and realize the amazing amount of information we’ve been able to share with readers through the voices of our retailers. As someone with a journalism background, I firmly believe everyone has a great story to tell, and it’s been a pleasure being able to find those people and share their stories with you.

On a personal note, I would like to single out a few people who have been of great support to me during my tenure. Those people include our columnists Sid Raisch and Kurt Fromherz, former TGC Group Editor Delilah Onofrey (who recently returned to the position of Editor of Greenhouse Grower, our sister magazine), OFA Executive Director John Holmes and ANLA Director of Marketing & Industry Relations Jonathan Bardzik. There are many more to thank, as well – too many for this space. So I will just say thanks for the memories! Salut!

Are You Revolutionary?

Every year we survey garden center retailers all over the country to find our Revolutionary 100 Garden Centers list. The list isn’t based on size of the retailer or revenue, but rather on their ingenuity and innovation.

We want as many garden center retailers to fill out the survey as possible this year, so we’ve streamlined it to make it faster and easier. Those who qualify will be featured on the list in the January issue of TGC.

To participate in the survey, go to and click on the 100 Revolutionary Garden Centers Survey button on the home page.

Good luck!

Jennifer Polanz is a freelance writer with Grasshopper Freelance. She can be eMailed at


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