Last winter marked the second year McCabe’s Greenhouse & Floral in Lawrenceburg, Ind., hosted its exclusive Christmas Party. “It has been a huge success,” says Beth Legge. “This isn’t your typical open house.”
They set a theme and all staff members dress in the same colors to match the theme. The main Christmas tree also matches the theme.
Personalized invitations with hand-written messages are sent to customers. “It’s in the evening and we have themed cocktails and finger foods,” she says. “The customers love it and talk about it all year. They can’t wait for the next one, and we make a profit!”
Each year, Motts Greenhouse in Louisville, Ohio hosts a Midnight Madness sale at the end of June. The staff picks a different theme each time; this year it was movie night. Employees dressed up as a favorite movie character, and customers received a ticket with a discount on it.
The sale starts at 9 p.m. and different specials are offered throughout the evening.
Spotlighting A Customer’s Garden
In June, Natural Art Garden Center in Toms Brook, Va., co-hosted the “Sharpe & High Garden Tour” to highlight the outdoor living space of clients Craig Morris and Mike Marcheterre.
Morris and Marcheterre had worked with the garden center on creating a beautiful space featuring an orchard, raised-bed vegetable garden, herb garden, rain garden and even a log cabin.
The garden center and the Strasburg Heritage Society combined forces with Morris and Marcheterre to offer a tour of the nearly 1-acre property, as well as an ice cream social.
“Lots of ice water and tea with scrumptious cookies and ice cream were had by the more than 175 people who attended,” says Lynne Phillips, owner of Natural Art Garden Center. “We started promoting it in the store, through Facebook, e-newsletters and, of course, the newspapers. We got lots of press out of it.”
During the tour, Phillips gave two talks with Q&A sessions following on the rain and cut flower gardens, as well as a brief talk on the log cabin process. This idea can be replicated by any business that has a willing client with a spectacular garden.
To celebrate the 37th Anniversary of Donahue’s Greenhouse in Fairbault, Minn., the grower-retailer decided to grow six different types of plants in raspberry-colored pots.
“We sold 1,000 of each plant each week for six weeks at 37-cents each, with a limit of two per customer,” says Kathy Donahue Nass, co-owner of the retail operation. “This brought many people back in our store each week. They not only bought the two 37-cent plants, but other things that caught their eye.”
Events With Benefits
When the staff at Harvey’s Farm in Westborough, Mass., was brainstorming unique ways to give back to their community, they thought of their own educational seminars as a model for community involvement.
“We knew if we made our seminars free, there would be no perceived value to them,” says Emily Harvey, manager of the gift department. “In lieu of gathering an admission fee that would only benefit us as a business, we decided to collect donations for local organizations, including our local food pantry and humane society.”
They advertised the events for free through web- and newspaper-based community calendars.
“Our customers felt great about having an opportunity to give back,” she adds. “If you’re already offering seminars for profit at your garden center, consider offering a class that benefits local organizations that your customers care about. Your generosity will promote positive word-of-mouth advertising in your community.”