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Notes from Nikki: How to make your garden center more kid friendly

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Make your store a special place that kids will remember when they become customers.

Nikki Weed | March 7, 2013

Recently I stood on my side of the counter with six wide, curious eyes staring at me. These eyes peered at me with such amazement and awe, it made something in my business mind click. At that very moment, I realized that this was an area that I've been neglecting all along.

These small sets of eyes have no viable source of income, these small sets of eyes have no flower fashion sense or a large SUV to haul plants and assorted garden center items away in, but they have parents that do.

Children are often overlooked as business goldmines. Not only do children commonly accompany their parents on shopping excursions that involve household purchases, they also influence what is purchased in the end. By making your store kid friendly, you not only keep the kids entertained, but you make the parents more at ease while shopping.

Being kid friendly doesn't have to include a bounce house and a clown every weekend. Small steps can be made to make your store kid friendly such as:

1.    Create areas that are at "nose level." Make sure shelving units in your gift area are full of items that would attract kids such as animal-themed statues or neon colored pots

2.    Have something unique, such as an animal that is a resident at your garden center. Kids will remember this and ask to go to "the place that has the chicken, cat, dog,” etc.

3.    Have brightly colored wagons with cushions for parents to haul kids around in, parents will get frustrated if trying to juggle a kid and a cart at the same time

4.    Promotional days go a long way – not only do you instill an interest in the children, the parents will appreciate the fact that you include them as valued customers (think pony rides and ice cream cones)

Even though catering to kids won't pay off immediately, it will in the long run. If you're able to create a special store for kids to remember as they grow up, as they come of age and need flowers, they'll remember you and your store as that special place from their childhood.
 

Nikki Weed is a horticulturist and professional adventurer who uses her experiences and knowledge to manage a successful garden center in Greenville, S.C. She can be reached at pepitaweed@gmail.com.

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