OFA Bulletin May/June 2011 : Page 1

May/June 2011 • Number 927 Build Incremental Sales with Food by Jeff Warschauer Editor’s Note: Jeff will be presenting a session called “Destination Garden Center: The Food Element” on Saturday, July 9 at 4 p.m. during the OFA Short Course. Visit www.ofa.org/shortcourse for more information. A fter another winter that brought record-breaking snow and cold, everyone is looking forward to spring. Independent garden center owners are hoping for more than just good weather. With lagging home sales and unemployment still slow to change, garden center owners are holding their breath to see how their businesses will survive the “perfect storm” of big-box competitors, cautious consumers, the mortgage meltdown, a changing customer base, skyrocketing operational costs, and, of course, the weather, especially during the all-important spring season. The good news is that the economy seems to be turning a corner. The bad news is that we can’t change many of the other issues affecting our industry. Successful garden centers aren’t waiting for things to go back to the way they “used to be.” They’re adapting their business operations to align with current business conditions and emerging opportunities. A 27-year career and more than a thousand visits to garden centers have given me a front-row view of our industry. Over the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with garden center owners who are taking a new approach to the Continued on page 8 Five Trends in Home Gardening by Dr. Art Cameron Introduction Let’s face it, gardeners are a mixed group. Some are very content to have a few beautiful plants in a container by their front door, while others are willing to plant heirloom vegetables in wonderfully planned gardens. Some wish for tough plants that require little care, while others gain satisfaction by tending and cultivating land for food and fiber production. Some are looking to simplify to low-maintenance native gardens, while others are adding complexity and interest using trellises and delightful works of art. It is probably evident that describing trends is subjective, and certainly I would be the first to admit that my opinions are just that. Still, I speak regularly to both novice and advanced gardeners, and the five trends I summarize here are based on those interactions. As a university instructor and speaker, it seems that one common thread is that more gardeners, novice and advanced, are looking to enhance sustainability in their gardening endeavors. This can translate into use of tough plants, perennials, annuals, natives, and garden art. It can also mean that they are looking for new organic vegetable production techniques, especially those that might be used in community Continued on page 10 Inside this Edition ... Build Incremental Sales with Food Five Trends in Home Gardening Even More Words from Washington Twospotted Spider Mite Management in Greenhouses Exciting New Cut Flowers 1 1 2 4 13 Five Branding Secrets Revealed: Build Your Reputation & Increase Margins More Money for Me Part II AFE Report: Disease Management Delegation: From D’oh! to OOHH! Welcome New OFA Members & Subscribers 17 18 21 23 24 Green Building, Green Business, Green Thumb: Joliet Junior College Sets Standard with Sustainable Greenhouse Facility OFA News 25 OFA Short Course Registration & Hotel Information 29 32 This is a member benefit of OFA – The Association of Horticulture Professionals.

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