Thursday, December 16, 2010

Great Change in the Garden Center Industry

In the last year we have seen many well known nurseries struggle or close. Monrovia, Hines, Carolina... the list goes on. Small business is hurting everwhere with banking relationships, increases in taxes and government controls and competition for limited consumer dollars from mass merchants. Garden Centers have added to this the fact that success in our industry is extremely dependent on good weather. This all adds up to tough sledding in the IGC industry. Our company, Hort Couture, is here to help the independent channel be more successful. Here are a few of the things I want to point out:

1. We will NEVER be in the box stores. We are a brand developed by an IGC for the IGC. This never does mean never. Not in five years or fifty years with this commitment change. IGC's are pesimistic when they hear this after experiences with Proven Winner, Henri Studio, Hines, Monrovia, Christopher Radko and other brands that have jumped ship to the mass merchants. We are different.

2. We are dedicated to preserving the dynamic that the best new plants are at the IGC. Many great new plants now begin their careers in the boxes. Whether you are selling televisions or petunias, as a retailer you must have the latest new products to be appreciated and supported by your customers. We need the support of the industry to band together to give the breeders the promise of financial return (royalties) from the IGC that is competitive with the return from the boxes. Together we can keep the good stuff at the Indy where it belongs. Breeders want to help, they just need to make a living too.

3. We are creating new business channels and supply chain ideas to help the independent. We have made branding easier for the small grower or retailer and have a new innovative way to delivery product from Florida to the IGC. We are looking at the future of the IGC and how we can be a better partner to them.

4. We have a value added brand. We want the Hort Couture brand to give the IGC a destination brand with a luxury feel that will lead to better margins for growers and retailers at all levels of the supply chain. We can not survive as an industry with the attitude that cheaper is how to compete.

5. We are actively looking for ways to attract new gardeners to the IGC. Hort Couture is on the forefront of digital media and how it can be used to educate and attract new customers to the IGC. Cultivating new customers is an important aspect of iGC success in the future.

I hope if you are a small business in our industry that you will take a closer look at what we are doing. The consumer dreads the trip to the box and looks forward to the trip to the independent. We hope that you will consider our brand a unique and profitable way to make your store different than the big box.


Anonymous said...

"and have a new innovative way to delivery product from Florida to the IGC"

Is there somewhere that more info can be gleaned about this aspect? Would be interested to see what you have in mind.`

Jim Monroe said...

We are shipping our plants from Florida on a new boxing/rack system called the STACKABLE PLANT SHIPPER. It creates density on the truck with zero damage to the truck. It also loads and unloads quickly. We have our own dock in Homestead so there is no moving product around and LTL frieght. We are saving you money and giving you RETAIL READY product the day it arrives. We are also cutting nearly two days of truck/dock time off the shipping time. The other supply chain idea we are implementing is that we have our tropical program available regionally from our ALLIED WHOLESALE GROWERS. As an example, a retailer in Denver can buy Tres Chic Tropicals from Welby and have them shipped with their Avant Garde Annuals. This is great for smaller retailers and for restocking in the heat of Spring. If you (anonymous) will email me from the website I can send you lots of pricing and info on this program.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else have trouble reading the font on this page? We found this to be a big problem with the Hort Couture tags- for those of us who are becoming visually-challenged, growers and gardeners alike, a bolder font that pops off the page (or tag) is a big help.

Jim Monroe said...

I have had people comment on the white text on black before. The black is so gorgeous with the photography that we will probably keep it for now. We have actually worked on the text size on the tags over the last three years and it is larger. Thanks for the feedback!

Anonymous said...

The white font and photos on black is attractive and not the problem- it's just that the font is still difficult to read because it is so "fine-textured" on the black page. Would bolding it help? For example- when I look at the comments-- the name of the person commenting and the word "said" is in bold, and much easier to read than the body of the comment. No biggie- just a first impression.

Jim Monroe said...

I am not sure how to change this in Blogspot where this was created. I just chose the templete and all of the rest is default.
Sorry but not sure how to fix.

Paige Worthy said...

Love your attitude and spirit, Jim, AND YOUR PLANTS!

As for your font issues on the blog…you can definitely change on Blogger to a larger font or a different one. I'm just a spring chicken and still have trouble reading it…

Jim, I'd be happy to walk you through changing it at Clinic if not before!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Much better on the font! Thanks!