2012 Revolutionary 100 Garden Center: Bemis Farms Nursery

Owner: Edward Bemis

City/Town: Spencer, Mass.

Company Website: BemisFarmsNursery.com

Size: Retail–4 acres

Sales Range: Less Than 999,999

Years In Business: 65

Number Of Locations: 1

Tell us how you use social media to better serve your customers.

Facebook has been a fantastic tool to reach our most interested customers. We use Facebook to involve our customers, not to pitch a product or promotion. We have a little over 900 fans, and it is not unusual to get 15-20 or more likes/comments on a post. I think 40 comments was our top. Our fans are great at posting pictures of what they have done at their homes with our plants or workshop projects, too.

Tell us how you work with other local businesses on customer outreach.

We cross promote with several other complementary businesses by giving their little gifts in our swag bags for some of our workshops. We also promote several other local businesses on some in-store publications. So far this has been a little bit of a one way street, but we figure our collective success is all tied together.

What makes your garden center Revolutionary?

This is very difficult to answer this year. I feel that the meaning of the word Revolutionary is very dynamic. When we first completed the survey in its first or second year, Revolutionary meant taking on a new bold project, promotion or presentation.

In some ways being Revolutionary in 2011 means being in business in 2012. At least in the Northeast, even maintaining level sales is met with awe from fellow garden center owners. Five years ago I never thought that I would feel a sense of accomplishment by keeping sales level with the previous year.
I don’t mean to sound like I am whining or complaining at all. It is just a different world. We have continued to adapt to the new economic realities. I guess that is what makes us Revolutionary for 2012.

Here are some of the things we will NOT do:

  1. Cheapen our guarantee. We have an amazing guarantee. One without a time limit. One in which our goal is to be sure the customer is successful, for if they are not, the entire industry loses that customer, maybe forever. We are not going to compromise on that guarantee even as others are becoming more stringent.
  2. Sell cheaper materials. Cheap, inferior materials will only damage our long term position. Customers will come to hate gardening as they have more problems with inferior plants and products. We may sell smaller sizes to keep the price down. Or find a vendor who can supply it to us for less. But we will not sell cheaper crap just because it is cheaper.
  3. Abandon our customers. As woody plant sales continue to decline nationally, the customers who are still buying them need good solid guidance on what will work for them. They need advice on how to solve a problem if it should occur. We will continue to position ourselves as the expert to go to for that advice.

Is that good enough to be Revolutionary in 2012? I honestly don’t know. I do know that we plan on being one of the survivors. We continually think about what we can do as a garden center – and as an industry – to bring gardening/plants/exterior decorating to the fore of the public’s mind. We may never come up with the answer. But I know we will not stop trying.

Leave a Reply

More From ...
Garden Center Symposium 2012 Scholarship Winner

September 2, 2015

Garden Center Symposium Seeking Scholarship Applicants

Eligible applicants should be majoring or minoring in horticulture or a related field, with preference given to those with an interest in a career in the garden center industry.

Read More
Weigela ‘Crimson Kisses’ (Monrovia) Feature Image

September 2, 2015

9 Trees, Shrubs And Roses That Can Withstand The Elements [Slideshow]

Breeders have been working hard for many years on developing, trees, shrubs and roses that can hold up during cold weather conditions. Here's a look at some of their latest offerings.

Read More
GCA Bathroom Awards 2015 Altums

September 1, 2015

Garden Centers Of America Best Bathroom Awards Announced At IGC Chicago

During IGC Chicago, Garden Centers of America (GCA) recognized a group of independent garden centers for their store restroom designs with the 2015 GCA Best Garden Center Bathroom Awards.

Read More
Latest Stories
Garden Center Symposium 2012 Scholarship Winner

September 2, 2015

Garden Center Symposium Seeking Scholarship Applicants

Eligible applicants should be majoring or minoring in horticulture or a related field, with preference given to those with an interest in a career in the garden center industry.

Read More
Weigela ‘Crimson Kisses’ (Monrovia) Feature Image

September 2, 2015

9 Trees, Shrubs And Roses That Can Withstand The Elemen…

Breeders have been working hard for many years on developing, trees, shrubs and roses that can hold up during cold weather conditions. Here's a look at some of their latest offerings.

Read More
GCA Bathroom Awards 2015 Altums

September 1, 2015

Garden Centers Of America Best Bathroom Awards Announce…

During IGC Chicago, Garden Centers of America (GCA) recognized a group of independent garden centers for their store restroom designs with the 2015 GCA Best Garden Center Bathroom Awards.

Read More
Growing Solutions Farm Native Plant

August 31, 2015

Growing Solutions Farm Gains New Native Plant Garden

The National Garden Bureau, American Beauties and Midwest Groundcovers have teamed up to provide more than 200 pollinator-friendly native plants to the Chicago-based vocational therapeutic garden for young adults with autism.

Read More
Danish Garden Center

August 31, 2015

How Danish Garden Centers Are Revamping Their Plant Dep…

Danish retailers are improving nursery stock and houseplants by altering their growth habits to provide products with unusual or manicured shapes to pique the interest of consumers.

Read More
Garden Design Magazine

August 28, 2015

Garden Design Magazine Now Available For Sale At Indepe…

The upscale magazine, which was previously available only through the publisher’s website, focuses on high-end outdoor design and lifestyle trends.

Read More
Steve Bailey

August 27, 2015

How To Set An Attained Margin Percentage Goal At Your S…

One retailer asked this question: Is there an attained margin percentage that is considered a good goal for garden centers and their various product lines? Check out financial consultant Steve Bailey's advice.

Read More
Viola ‘Sorbet XP Coconut Swirl’ (PanAmerican Seed)

August 26, 2015

19 Versatile Cool-Weather Annuals For Beds, Borders And…

Annuals can be versatile not just in their suitability for cool conditions, but in their adaptable use in beds, borders and containers. Here are breeders' recommendations on their top new selections.

Read More
Holly Wilson Wilson’s Garden Center

August 25, 2015

How To Make Your Newsletter More Interesting [Solve My …

A retailer recently asked how to come up with fresh ideas for your store’s eNewsletter, so that it does not become redundant. Here's some great advice the retailer received.

Read More
Farwest Nursery Tour

August 25, 2015

Farwest Show Will Include A Retail-Focused Idea Sharing…

The 2015 Farwest Show, taking place this week in Portland, Ore., will include an Idea Center For Retailers, a comprehensive learning experience focused on garden retail. Located on the main show floor, garden center owners and employees can participate in many sessions as industry experts share advice and how-to information.

Read More

August 24, 2015

Let Us Know About Your Greatest New Idea!

October is "Steal This Idea" month at Today's Garden Center. We're looking for the latest, greatest and most successful new ideas that you've incorporated at your store and are willing to share with your industry peers.

Read More

August 24, 2015

PANTS Show In Philadelphia Canceled For 2015

The Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association (PNLA) was informed by the PANTS Show producer that this year’s show, planned for early November, has been canceled. PNLA is reviewing its options for the future.

Read More

August 24, 2015

Mark Your Calendar For These Gift Shows

Want to enhance your gift department? Here's a look at some of the major gift shows taking place later this year and early next year.

Read More
Ingenico EMV

August 24, 2015

Small Retailers May Face Big Challenges In Complying Wi…

The National Retail Federation’s J. Craig Shearman says it may take a couple years for credit cards with EMV chips to become the norm, but retailers should still begin preparing, or face increased liability.

Read More
Helleborus ‘Winter Jewels Painted Doubles’ (Terra Nova Nurseries) FEATURED IMAGE

August 21, 2015

12 Cold-Hardy Perennials For 2016 [Slideshow]

Your customers are likely looking for plants that can withstand cold temperatures. Here's a look at breeders' suggestions for some of their favorite cool-weather perennials.

Read More
USA flowers

August 18, 2015

Gift Shows Are Focusing On Local Products

Hoping to change the buying experience for attendees, gift show organizers are adapting through technology and a focus on locally produced items.

Read More

August 18, 2015

6 Super Ideas From Product Express

Take a look at some innovative new products that will add a spark to your business!

Read More
IGC East Martha Stewart

August 18, 2015

Eight Insights From Martha Stewart’s Keynote Pres…

Martha Stewart's Q&A presentation with Jeff Morey at IGC East in early August yielded some revealing information about her branding, and how the independent garden center industry can stay relevant in a changing market.

Read More