Tips from the top - Garden Center Magazine

Ideas from the highest – Backyard Middle Journal

10 minutes, 40 seconds Read

The 2022 High 100 garden facilities have precious insights to share about how they’re retaining good workers, methods they’re setting themselves aside and initiatives to construct group. We spoke to 3 IGCs for his or her finest tips on benefiting from the gardening growth.

Editor’s notice: Interviews have been edited for size and readability.

Photograph © Adobe Inventory | FollowTheFlow

Birds of a feather

Flamingo Highway Nursery in Davie, Florida, (No. 60 on the High 100 Checklist), final made an look on our 2017 record and returns this yr to share some modern initiatives. The garden middle made an enormous push to develop its Flock loyalty membership final yr by an enormous membership drive. Proprietor Jim Dezell shares particulars on this system, renovations and extra.

Backyard Middle journal: What are a number of the advantages of the Flock membership program and the way do you put it on the market?

Jim Dezell: Making a long-term buyer relationship and sense of group by Flock membership is an important aim and a metric we monitor in our hourly enterprise reviews which all managers obtain. We all know that roughly 27% of our each day enterprise is completed with present Flock members and each cashier and affiliate is aware of that our aim is to enroll 30% of the non-Flock clients. We name this our FCR (Flock Conversion Charge).

We talk with our Flock by our weekly (Wednesday) Flamingo Flyer e-mail blast which is distributed out to 22,000 members and is rising by roughly 500 per week. As a result of we now have a loyal membership and we offer actual worth when it comes to weekly BOGO or different engaging promotions, our open price averages 37%, which I’ve been informed is triple typical retail.

Photograph courtesy of Flamingo Highway Nursery

GC: How did Flamingo Highway determine on its tropical theme?

JD: We opened up in 2005, simply days after Hurricane Wilma ripped by South Florida. It was an particularly energetic hurricane season and the native tv stations had been fixated with [the message] “There’s bother within the tropics.” My managerial crew brainstormed, and we combated this negativity with the subline on our brand: “Celebrating life within the tropics!”

As a brand new enterprise, I used to be most considering a reputation which might be straightforward to recollect and be locational. Being positioned on Flamingo Highway provided the proper identify and all the advantages that include the official funky icon of Florida — the pink flamingo!

Photograph courtesy of Flamingo Highway Nursery

GC: How did you determine to construct 5 new tiki buildings on the property over the previous yr?

JD: Our aim is to be experiential retail, and this requires a bodily house that transcends conventional retail. All of our retail buildings are encompass a central landscaped pond that options brightly coloured Caribbean-inspired cabanas. Tiki huts intensify this tropical vibe and assist our mantra “Rejoice Life In The Tropics With Us.”

GC: What units your garden middle other than the competitors?

JD: We’re one of many solely full-service garden facilities in our market providing plant care merchandise, items, pottery, crops, supply and set up providers. Almost all of our rivals promote solely crops.

Photograph courtesy of Flamingo
Highway Nursery

To additional differentiate ourselves, we now have a full-time farmers market/café which provides to the buying expertise tremendously as individuals can spend extra time having fun with meals and our well-known smoothies. Actually, the farmers market has turn out to be a vacation spot in itself with individuals buying garden middle objects out of impulse.

Our biggest differentiator and robust supply for social media buzz is our seasonal occasions. No different garden middle in our market gives an Easter Celebration, Fall Pageant (pumpkins and hayrides) and Christmas (reside tree gross sales and Santa). With the downfall of the regional malls, we now have turn out to be the place the place households have fun the seasons and take memorable images, yr after yr.

GC: How is your garden middle working to attach with newer gardeners and preserve them coming again?

JD: As with all garden facilities, we had been blessed to see many new clients in 2020-21. We signed up as many as attainable to hitch our Flock. We even have garden talks all year long each Saturday and Sunday specializing in totally different crops and gardening methods. This info may be very useful to novices. Since succulents have been such a preferred class with youthful gardeners, we constructed a whole greenhouse filled with them fairly than devoting simply a part of our shade home. This additionally freed up house within the shade home to have extra houseplants — one other fast-growing class. In fact, an important factor we do to maintain youthful gardeners coming again is to be pleasant and encourage them. You gained’t hear any Latin plant discuss at FRN!

Constructing connections and group

After realizing its onboarding course of wanted an overhaul, Abide A-Whereas Backyard Boutique in Mt. Nice, South Carolina, (No. 95 on the High 100 Checklist) shifted its focus to participating new hires and holding them excited all through their first month. Bruce Donaldson, president, shares a number of the first-time High 100 IGC’s finest practices.

Backyard Middle journal: What are some profitable techniques for onboarding youthful staff?

Bruce Donaldson: First, our workplace supervisor emails new them a ‘Welcome Letter’ a couple of days earlier than their begin date encouraging them to ask questions like what to put on, what to carry, how the primary day will go, and many others. We discovered that this was a great begin for the curious ones and gave them a supply to ask extra questions. We additionally simplified the paperwork and handbook right down to about half-hour.

As soon as they’ve a locker, shirts, timecard and a short tour of the place all the things is, they meet their supervisor who introduces them to their crew and opinions their job description with them.

They’ll shadow a extra skilled worker for his or her first week. We now have discovered that youthful staff are very social and recognize being allowed time to work together with others.

Photograph © Glenn Clark I GC Pictures

GC: How do you keep these youthful staff?

BD: Our administration crew goes to nice lengths to create and keep a heat, pleasant work setting —a spot for everybody to be mates … which makes it straightforward for brand new hires to settle in. When requested what we’re doing to maintain youthful staff, a seasoned worker remarked, “a phenomenal place to work and a terrific group tradition.”

Concepts that work for us [include] fridges saved stocked with free glowing water of various flavors and types, Gatorade, water, mild snacks like fruit, crackers, popsicles or yogurt. We additionally maintain seasonal after-hour dinners or plant workshops only for workers.

GC: How do you discover and retain extra established staff?

BD: We attempt to promote from inside at any time when attainable by permitting individuals to be taught extra about what they’re considering or what introduced them to our enterprise within the first place: gardening and crops. Some workers begin out as a cashiers or loaders in a single season and transfer into gross sales or a management function. We try to do a greater job of speaking with our workers to assist them see a profession with us.

GC: What units your garden middle other than the competitors?

BD: We’re a 65-year-old, family-run garden middle with a high-end reward store, surrounded by giant oak bushes in a phenomenal setting. Prospects can nonetheless buy the tried and true whereas discovering inspiration in thrilling new houseplants, flowers and items. However most of all, it’s our individuals, who’re completely satisfied, participating and educated!

GC: How is your garden middle working to attach with newer gardeners and preserve them coming again?

BD: Our group is quickly rising with a lot of competitors for individuals’s time. COVID saved us aside and our free plant care courses and workshops are bringing new clients to us each day. Our lovely setting with garden shows helps a buyer see what a plant, garden or fruit tree may appear to be 5 years down the street. Our advertising crew promotes what we’re doing totally on Instagram and social media with present and related posts and tales.

Photograph © Glenn Clark I GC Pictures

Buyer confidence

Making a comeback to the record this yr is The Farm at Inexperienced Village, which hasn’t appeared because the inaugural High 100 Checklist in 2011. The 32-acre New Jersey garden middle (No. 46 on the High 100 Checklist) boasts a powerful collection of crops and laborious items, making it a vacation spot for consumers from all around the state.

David Brill, vp, will probably be taking the reins of the 43-year-old garden middle over from his dad and mom within the coming years and shared how they’re creating a cheerful office, what’s promoting nicely and learn how to compete in a quickly altering market.

Backyard Middle journal: How does The Farm at Inexperienced Village retain good workers?

David Brill: Apart from compensation, I consider a few of our customer support insurance policies assist retain workers. If it’s straightforward for a gross sales affiliate to maintain a buyer completely satisfied, it’s simpler for them to be completely satisfied doing their job.

Nothing good ever comes out of a scenario the place a buyer has an issue with a product they’ve bought. And since crops are often the problem, we permit our workers to make them completely satisfied with out breaking the financial institution as a result of more often than not it’s one thing underneath $100. Plus, giving the workers the power to deal with customer support points on their very own makes the shop run extra effectively. They’re not tying up a register ready for a supervisor for a easy scenario.

It sounds unusual however we’ve had some workers come over from different garden facilities they usually’ll say, “That is a lot extra pleasurable than my previous job the place I used to be continuously telling individuals no.”

GC: What units The Farm at Inexperienced Village other than the competitors?

DB: We concentrate on primarily being a retail garden middle. We’re not a wholesale yard, which I believe helps us differentiate from numerous corporations. We even have extensively used a point-of-sale system for over a decade now. And numerous our competitors, I consider, doesn’t have that. So simply pulling reviews, determining your clients, what they’re shopping for, and all the things you may get from a point-of-sale system helps us differentiate ourselves for our clients, particularly with ensures/retailer credit, and shopping for.

Photograph © Glenn Clark I GC Pictures

GC: How is your garden middle working to attach with newer gardeners and preserve them coming again?

DB: COVID was a wild trip for all of us. We’ve all had exponential development throughout these previous two to 3 years. Because of this, now that the world is getting again to regular, we’ve had a big drop in buyer rely for this calendar yr. Individuals are again to regular they usually’re touring, they usually’re additionally changing into a little bit hesitant to spend with the best way the economic system is true now. So holding them coming again goes to be attention-grabbing over the following two to 3 years.

We spend some huge cash promoting with billboards, on-line and unsolicited mail by our promoting company. So hopefully that may assist retain our elevated buyer base. We’ve been with them for about 4 years now, so earlier than COVID occurred, we already had an promoting marketing campaign arrange.

GC: What have been a few of your best-selling merchandise and crops over the previous two years?

DB: Over the previous few years, our annual division had very wholesome development in 2019 to 2020. It was insane development, however the truth that we had been capable of develop on prime of that from ‘20 to ’21 may be very spectacular.

However lots of people had been shopping for the raised mattress mixes; they had been mulching their properties themselves as a result of they had been all trapped at house. There have been so many new consumers too, because the home market boomed and folks had been shifting out of the cities.

Houseplants greater than tripled in gross sales quantity from 2019 to 2021 and over these two years, our nursery inventory virtually doubled. I imply, all the things had unimaginable development.

Pottery was fairly spectacular as nicely. It greater than doubled in two years. We at all times have a great stock of pottery as a result of you may’t promote it in the event you don’t have it. So in 2020, we had been capable of promote numerous previous inventory that was on the ground.

Since we preserve good working stock yr spherical, we had been capable of fulfill numerous demand.


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