2012 Revolutionary 100 Garden Center: Flamingo Road Nursery

Owner: Jim Dezell

City/Town: Davie, Fla.

Company Website: FlamingoRoadNursery.com

Size: Retail–5 acres

Sales Range: $3 million–$4,999,999

Years In Business: 7

Number Of Locations: 1

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

We have weekly Facebook postings to alert customers of upcoming events. We answer customer questions and foster a sense of community among our customers by sharing garden photos and garden center photos (sometimes spurred on by contests).

What makes your garden center Revolutionary?

It can be summarized in one word: Change.

At Flamingo Road Nursery we have developed a culture of constant change. Our customers can drive to our store knowing that we will have what they are looking for–but they also know that our environment will look different than the last time they visited. And that creates excitement!

As a newer garden center (only 7 years old) that has operated during a difficult economy, we have not had the luxury of "doing things the way they have always been done." To the contrary, and by necessity, we have had to develop a business that is interesting enough to attract customers away from long-time competitors and we have had to creatively create a desire for our nursery products since very little of what we are selling can really be called a need.

We have successfully created a "need" category with our Farmers Market, which is open every day and has a loyal following. Cross shopping between the market and the nursery is very strong and being in the food business is excellent for festivals that promote both operations. For example, the banana, lychee, strawberry and fruit festivals that we have each year tie together tree/plant sales with food items made with the festival ingredient. Offerring food/drink with over 20 outdoor tables also extends the shopping time and creates an entertainment environment.

During the past 12 months, we have also made more capital improvements than ever before–and our customers seem to be motivated to take on new projects by the example we are setting through our physical change. This year we installed over 10,000 square feet of pavers in the key area surrounding our centrally located pond. We constructed 27 redwood tables to merchandise our annuals and we built a Creation Station in the center of the area to promote container gardening. A new Tropical Oasis area was created, featuring a gigantic waterfall, 400 sq. ft. tiki hut and enormous 15 foot tall adirondack chair. This area has quickly become a mecca for family photos (and of course our name is prominently displayed in the background to appear on all photos!).

We expanded our Farmers Market to include a new Sweet Shop, featuring soft serve ice cream, fudge, hand-made truffles and smoothies/shakes/fresh squeezed juices. After 5 years of negotiating with the city, we were granted approval to pave and landscape our exit drive–which improves our curb appeal and is greatly appreciated by our customers who now avoid dust or mud on their way out of our business.

Our Fall Festival grew exponentially this year as we added new events (and increased the prices on all activities). In three short years we seized the opportunity to create a Fall Festival in Florida that is now heavily promoted through the media. We believe that hosting a Fall Festival is more advantageous for us than northern garden centers because Fall kicks off our selling season, which runs from October through May. Many people come for the Festival–but leave with the plants! Even if they don’t purchase during the Festival, they are exposed to all of the beauty of fresh colorful annuals–and the "want" is established.

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