City: Akron, Ohio
Owner: Lisa, Craig & Scott Graf
Size: 45 acres (3.5 retail)
Years In Business: 20
Number Of Locations: 1
What changes have you made in the last 12 months to increase your garden center’s profitability? This has been the year of many positive changes. Reviewed finacials line by line to reduce cost. A few examples: we researched and found that by implementing a cardboard recycling program we could save several thousand dollars. We changed health insurance and business insurance providers for a cost savings. In addition, we hired consultant Steve Bailey to help us learn to use information from our POS system to make better management decisions. As a result, we did a comprehensive labor budget per person per week for the year which has helped us to reduce labor costs.
We also worked with consultant Sid Raisch in a group setting to develop a comprehensive marketing plan which helped us to increase sales during early spring and peak times. A plan was developed to improve plant inventory control so we could bring in fresh perennials and nursery products more frequently and as a grower / retailer we changed annual crop schedules to better manage the flow of inventory throughout the season. This resulted in better sell through, less waste, & ultimately better margins. Through all of this we involved our staff so they could be empowered to be part of the decisions and we really rallied the troops (so to speak) to take care of our guests, offer suggestions for add on sales, and genuinely show appreciation to them. We increased hanging basket display space with free standing poles that hold 4 or 6 baskets at eye level and other new display pieces for better product presentation.
In the last 12 months, have you used your POS system for any of the following? This is our second year with POS. We offered a bonus buck program for spring purchases redeemable in June. The bonus bucks were mailed to Preferred Customer club members that spent over $200 in April 10th–June 10th. We do reports before making purchases and now are evaluating not only what we sold but when we sold it so we can improve our product mix and control inventory. In addition, we evaluate our best selling items and most profitable items so we can give them the best selling spots in the store so we can sell more of them.