— Julianne Mobilian and Kate Spirgen
BRED BY DANZIGER
How long has it been on the market?
GOLF Beauty Improved is a 2022 Introduction.
Grows to height/width
16 inches/10 inches
This unique variety lends itself to fun and whimsical displays. Put it in a place where people can touch the plant, play on the golf name with golf balls and clubs and highlight its attention-grabbing features as an in-ground or container plant.
GOLF Beauty Improved Craspedia is a true attention-grabber at the garden center. Its golf ball-shaped, bright yellow blooms are the unique item every home gardener is looking for. The newly improved variety has more vigor and flower power with increased ease of rooting under any light condition. GOLF Beauty works well in stand-alone gallons, offers a fun and surprising thriller plant in combinations and is a striking addition to garden beds.
Container combination ideas
GOLF Beauty Improved is the thriller plant for 2022! It is also part of Danziger’s Durabella Combination program. Danziger loves it paired with Cascadias Fantansy Hot Pink Petunia and Ombre Pink Calibrachoa.
The monarch is the iconic American butterfly. Everyone can identify it. One of the first school lessons my son had was about the monarch. His pre-K class learned about the milkweed-monarch relationship while they watched the caterpillars grow and pupate. On the day, the monarchs were released, the children donned their homemade wings and antennae, and staged a monarch migration all around the school. The whole school watched. His brother did it a few years later. I bet many of your children learned about the monarch at an early age, too.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the monarch was a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act on Dec. 15, 2020. To those of us who pay attention to the ongoing plight of the monarchs, we welcomed the effort. The service’s decision was a result of an extensive review of the monarch, compiling and assessing the monarch’s current and future status. As a candidate under the Endangered Species Act, the monarch’s status will be reviewed annually until a listing decision is made.
In February 2021, The World Wildlife Fund–Mexico announced the results of the annual survey of monarch butterflies overwintering in central Mexico. The butterflies occupied an estimated 2.1 hectares (a little over 5 acres) of forest during the winter of 2020-2021. This was a reduction of approximately 26% compared to the previous winter, when monarchs occupied 2.83 hectares. Scientists estimate that 6 hectares are necessary to sustain the population. Also, there was a 75% decline in the winter of 2019-2020 versus 2018-2019.
There are many national efforts underway to help keep the monarch from extinction. Any of the following organizations below can provide more information than you will ever need to help. If you do a quick search right now you will be amazed at what’s going on in your community. A quick search for the Asheville area yielded quite an impressive list of resources, press and general information of how to get involved, where to obtain milkweed, when and where to witness the migration and much more.
Monarchs need milkweed. Most of us grow plants. Consequently, we certainly are in a position to give aid. Plant a patch at your nursery — it beats mowing. Grow some and give it away. The elementary school closest to you will take it, I bet. There is probably more than one species of milkweed native to your area. If you plant it, they will come. It’s fun and can help save our wonderful monarch from extinction.
The author is president of Carolina Native Nursery in Burnsville, North Carolina. carolinanativenursery.com
New isn’t always better, but the same old product selection year after year at your garden center can leave your customers with a stale taste in their mouth. Infusing your inventory with at least a few new finds, or entirely new categories, can help keep your reputation and customer experience fresh and exciting.
Homogeneity in the independent garden center market is a real phenomenon these days. As buying became more global and access to new product lines became easier in the last two decades — and growing operations grew and began offering long-distance shipping — I started to see the same “stuff” show up at IGCs everywhere I shopped and traveled. What always excited me about shopping at local garden and plant shops — back in the day — was that I could find a wide variety of offerings at each stop. Be it a cool hard-to-find plant species or some handmade or locally sourced garden accessory. I loved “garden center hopping” as I liked to call it, which meant making visits to multiple garden centers on the same day, or travel trips.
Over the past decade, each trip to a different garden center started to fill me with feelings of déjà vu. Wait, didn’t I essentially see the same product selection at the last two places I went? It felt like making multiple trips to independent retailers was becoming less fruitful. With many of you visiting the same gift markets, hardgoods categories can often be almost identical from IGC to IGC. Of course, you’ll always have regional differences when it comes to plant selection, but even that seems relatively homogenous these days.
I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, rather just offer some authentic perspective as both an IGC customer and a green industry analyst. If I’m seeing too much replication of products from store to store, so are your customers. With brand differentiation at the core of IGC success, not standing out when it comes to your inventory is a big missed opportunity. Yet, as with any downside, it comes with lots of low-hanging fruit of opportunity.
Crunch the numbers
Much like recruiting and training new staff is a labor-intensive and costly process, so is bringing on new categories of plants or products. New categories take an investment of money and time, and they don’t always work out. However, if you never try new things, you risk your business becoming stale and outdated.
Let me start by saying that when it comes to analyzing if a new category is a good fit for your business, you first have to be able to deeply analyze the categories you already have. If you aren’t working with a robust POS, have a full grasp of buying-related metrics such as turns and GMROI, and how to employ an Open-to-Buy system, then you’re going to be casting darts in the wind no matter what.
Reducing or eliminating bad categories that are negatively impacting your bottom line is often the easiest and quickest way to positively impact your category profits. You don’t always need to replace a category you reduce or eliminate; sometimes you can make more money by simply buying deeper in your successful categories and turning that inventory faster. Again, adding new products or categories for the sake of it is not the way to go.
Drop the deadweight
That said, once you’ve dropped the deadweight, you may now have the floor or bench space to shake things up with new categories or lines of product. The trick, as it always is, is to know your audience. Choosing new products or plants just because you or your buyers like them and think they are cool is a bad strategy. Your target customer profile is always the decider when it comes to a new category being a good fit, or not. Will your new category resonate with your ideal customer, in that it solves their problems or fulfills their needs? Will it delight them? Of course, you may be trying to attract a totally new type of target customer. If that’s the case, then going completely out of bounds with new items can be effective.
I’ve seen more than my share of out-of-the-box categories being touted as the next savior for IGCs...from dog food to bras. Yes, bras, one of my all-time “favorites.” I mean hey, you do you, and if a totally random category like that is a perfect fit for your ideal customer, then absolutely go for it! It just has to make sense for your customer, company mission and brand identity. Just don’t invest a lot of money on new space or fixtures unless you’ve done your research and feel confident your new category is the way to go.
Conversely, don’t expect to lightly dabble in a new product or category and see big returns. There’s certainly something to be said for scarcity or limited stock driving demand and price. But, if you’re bringing on a new category, then committing to enough items with a deep enough selection is important to its success. Certainly, testing out a limited product selection can be a prudent approach, but you also want to inspire customer confidence in your new category. Just a sprinkling of items may either not do enough to capture their fancy, or frustrate them that you haven’t committed to enough inventory.
Talk before you buy
So, how do you dip your toes into a new product category without over-committing time and resources? The great thing about the world of retail today is that your online community and social media afford you the opportunity to have live, meaningful conversations with your customers about new items or categories that might excite them. If you are considering adding a new category to your mix, reach out online and have one-on-one conversations with the people who will be buying it … or not!
Leslie (CPH) owns Halleck Horticultural, LLC, through which she provides horticultural consulting, business and marketing strategy, product development and branding, and content creation for green industry companies. lesliehalleck.com