Orchard Nursery On Holidays

Orchard Nursery On Holidays

Q: What methods do you use to help you buy the right mix?

Mercer: A good friend, Eric Cortina from Rogers Gardens, taught me about storyboards. There are two parts: the inspiration board and the storyboard.

The inspiration board is created before going to market. It creates a direction with color, texture and theme. And then after returning from the market, I create storyboards from what I bought at market. Storyboards let the floral designers and display artist understand my vision.

I take loads of photos at the giftshows and assemble them on a large poster for each theme I have chosen. It is also helps my buying, because sometimes I will get the photos together and realize it won’t be successful. Then I go back and change my order and reinvent.

I always include a coordinating ribbon on the storyboard because floral design is very important in our store.

Putting together the boards is time consuming, but I feel it gets us all on the same wavelength.

There are a couple of other tools I use for buying I want to mention. First, I never leave home without open-to-buy numbers. I run inventory level reports on December 22, which gives a focused picture as I do my buying, especially what did not sell.

One of my strongest recommendations for new buyers is: Network! Get to know your neighbors in town and other parts of the country and have dinner together at market. Those relationships and the information shared has been invaluable to me.

Q: When you are on buying trips, how do you discern what will sell and what won’t?

Mercer: First and foremost I always look for intrinsic value in everything I buy. Then I try to cover all bases when it comes to price point. I want to sell both the $2 drawstring bag from Peking Handicraft and the $2000 Russian Santa. I need to be proud of all the product I sell.

You never really know what is going to sell, but if something really sends me, then I know my customers will be excited about it too.

I try not to fill my store with reordered product. I have a few bread and butter items, but success is all about change.

Color stories are often the core of our displays, so mixing product lines is imperative. I am extremely observant of color when I shop. Each season there are category trends that I feel strongly about and this will direct my buying.

Home décor has been on a downward spiral for us for a while, but apparel has filled in that gap. It has become a very important part of our inventory, so I have created a boutique in the back of the store that really focuses on jewelry, hats, scarves and clothing.

Q: What tips do you have for how to work the tradeshows?

Mercer: I really work the whole show in Atlanta (AmericasMart), trying to walk every floor in every building. I like to get an overview before I start buying. The first few days I take note of new styles, colors and trends. Then I’m ready to start creating a look for the store. Often a trend will look new and exciting in the first showroom, but by the time you have seen it everywhere, it has lost its allure. That’s when it is vital for a buyer create her own look.

Get out of your comfort zone, go into showrooms you think have nothing to do with your store. It opens your mind and you may come across the next great thing. Every store needs a few far out items. This year my stretch was an item called the Coobie bra. I took a chance and it took off. Since June I have sold 350 pieces at $22. Wish I could find more items like that where customers come back to buy two or three more.

When I try something new I will often offer it to the staff at cost to get them on board. Then everyone has an experience they can share with the customer.

Q: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced?

Mercer: My vendors are always changing, which presents a challenge in getting Net 30 terms. Most new vendors want credit cards or COD. Another area of struggle is we have the advantage and challenge of merchandising in a real house. So we try to romance each room so our customers can imagine what our product will look like when they take it home.

Leave a Reply

More From Sales Floor...

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