I had an interesting conversation with a person representing a plant brand yesterday. We discussed the possibility of us picking up the brand for 2013. We had a nice talk but it doesn’t look like the brand would be a good fit for us. One of the main reasons is timing. We have run into this with every national brand that we have worked with. The main problem is that all national brands are geared towards marketing, promotions and sales for northern markets. Those of us in the South are on our own with these brands. Either the plants, pots or tags are not available when we need to plant to have the product ready in March or the marketing and promotions don’t start until we are more than halfway through our selling season. The simple fact is that we who deal plants in the South are not considered as part of the national green industry (with a few exceptions). Why? Because of population density. There are more people in other parts of the country. People equate to sales.
Every spring there is an email newsletter that comes through about April 15 or so that says something like, “Spring is here. Time get started planting!” However, we have been selling and planting for 6 weeks or more in the South. If there is ever a national promotion or advertising program that is agreed upon by the industry, the South will get the short end of the promotional stick. If it happens, the advertisements will focus on northern markets and start so late in our selling season which will be of no benefit to us.
We need a coordinated national cooperative, commission or committee that can fund, create, schedule and promote the benefits that our industry provides to the county. Think about it. How many products produce tangible items that give back to the consumers and how many product are available to consumers that sustain the environment by simply existing? When that group national promotion is finally formed, southern growers and garden centers need to make sure we are well represented. If not, we will receive no benefit from participating in it just like an article featuring a certain plant in the June edition of Southern Living will never be of any benefit.
Selling in May
Sales in May are sketchy at best. It’s the same every year. The week after Mothers Day seems to be the week when everyone takes stock of everything and may or may not order based on their leftover inventory for the weekend. Next week is the week before Memorial Day weekend which is also a hit or miss week depending on how well things are going in the garden centers. We have been dry around here and warmish to around 90F or so this week. As long as we get some rain and the temps stay below 95F, we will probably have a good week.
Weekends in May are tough. There are a lot of events and festivals that make selling plants hard. These events draw your customers away from your stores. There are a lot of garden centers hosting their own events and sales to keep the customers coming in the door. Here is a sample of what one garden center is doing.
Lots of Plants for Memorial Day
There is good availability on all the summer items you need like Lantana, Vinca, Begonias, Pentas and Sunpatiens!