2010 Revolutionary 100: Southeast Region

Revolutionary 100–Southeast Region
Company, City, State  Locations Retail Acres  Years Examples of Revolutionary Business Practices
Regional Winner: VerdeGo
Bunnell, FL
2 3+ 9

The Florida market isn’t exactly an enviable place to be at the moment, with its difficult housing market and roller coaster landscape industry. But VerdeGo has thrived in Bunnell, and just opened a second location nearby in Port Orange, which has it positioned well for 2010.

In the last 12 months, those at VerdeGo have been busy, adding new lines of pavers and hardscapes, as well as introducing pergolas and new outdoor products to complement the full line of landscape and live goods it already carries. Just to get an idea, product lines range from plant material to pavers, retaining and decorative walls, summer kitchens, natural water features, fire pits, landscape lighting, irrigation and more.

“We have a design center built into our nursery, and are a design/build company, which means we install everything in our garden center,” says Landscape Designer Brian Brown. “All of our products and services are installed ‘in-house,’ which means no work is hired out to subcontractors.

“We are a one-stop shop for all (our customers’) landscape needs.”

The garden center also offers a wide variety of live goods, and all sales staff and design center staff are FNGLA Certified Horticulture Professionals, making them experts on Florida plants.

Countryside Gardens
Hampton, VA
1 1 7 The owner worked with a bookkeeper to review expenses and make changes to banking fees, utilities, worker’s compensation and insurance, as well as restructuring loan and credit card use. Ongoing regular contract expenses (such as trash removal) are noted on 2010 calendar to review for comparison at appropriate times. 
DeWayne’s Home & Garden Showplace
Selma, NC
 1  3  78 Stained the concrete greenhouse floors to give the greenhouse a more upscale feel and expanded the gift shop, allowing for room for a new Pandora Boutique and a P. Graham Dunn room.
Fairview Garden Center
Raleigh, NC
 1  2  23 Managers fine-tuned labor budgets by watching dollars spent along with hours; reconsidered early buys for inventory control and looked for deals from vendors that could be passed along to customers as a value item. They focused on consistent branding of the garden center, including radio ads 180 times a week all 52 weeks of the year. Promotes "Fairview Grown" annuals.

Flamingo Road Nursery
Davie, FL

 1  5  5 This retailer saw an 11 percent sales increase due to a huge increase in customer traffic generated by a new farmers market. "Every day we must earn the trust of our customers and our right to survive as a business."
Greenbrier Nurseries
Roanoke, VA; Beckley, WV
2 17   54 Greenbrier owner Jim Monroe created a now national brand of plants for independent garden centers called Hort Couture. At the garden center he created a customer appreciation card that won a national award for its design.
Holcomb Garden Center
Hixson, TN
2  2.25  45 Holcomb takes an employee and guest on a day trip at the end of spring. This year they took 56 people to Dollywood. They also sponsor a gardening photo contest on local TV station and provide $25 gift certificates to the winners. There are two winners each week for a total of 32 weeks a year. 
Ken Matthews Garden Center
Yorktown, VA
1 3 38 The website features an updated blog called "Clippings," along with a seminars schedule complete with description and registration page for customer convenience. It also features gardening tips and a variety guide for the region.
Out Of Eden Garden Center
Maryville, TN
1 3 11 Out of Eden runs radio ads called "Gardening Tips" that are produced and also broadcast on overhead speakers in the store. They use a written facilities upgrade plan to consistently plan for new additions and changes to the garden center.
Randolph’s Greenhouses
Jackson, TN
1 3 67 Randolph’s created a TV program on gardening. It also increased the amount of display gardens and colorful displays showing customers how to use unusual plants they may not recognize.
Springhouse Gardens
Nicholasville, KY
1 2 15 Focusing on reaching new customers through new media opportunities like Facebook, e-newsletters and the company website. Springhouse hired consultants to help, including John Kennedy to assist in improving teamwork, training and customer service.
The Good Earth Garden Center
Little Rock, AR
1 5+ 36 Won best garden center in the state five years in a row; plant selection, staff and atmosphere make the difference. Features live music on Saturdays in the spring and fall, valet parking and designers on site to create landscape plans from photos.
The Great Big Greenhouse & Nursery
Richmond, VA
1 6 34 Great Big Greenhouse offers a farmer’s market each week at the garden center. Managers there reduced operating expenses to offset a downward sales trend due to the current economy.
Willow Ridge Garden Center
Oak Ridge, TN
1 6 29 Willow Ridge is employee-owned with six stockholders. They offer employees cash bonuses, sales commissions, profit sharing, merit raises and a 401(K) match. To gauge customer satisfaction, they conduct clip-board exit interviews of customers whether they buy something or not.
         

 

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