Gaining ground

Departments - Editor’s Note

July 13, 2022

Portrait by Amber Smith

We’ve all been talking about the dramatic growth of the industry for a while now, but the explosive increase (both in retail locations and revenue) has been truly astounding for the Top 100 garden centers over the past two years.

The impact of the pandemic on sales is apparent when you look at the numbers. In 2021, Top 100 IGCs brought in nearly $369 million more in retail revenue than they did in 2020, and $710 million over what they sold in 2019. The list has never seen that kind of growth since we started publishing it in 2011.

And together, the Top 100 companies operate 60 more individual store locations now than they did on our 2019 list. Considering that number only grew by a single store in 2020, that’s pretty impressive.

But growth, of course, isn’t just about the numbers you’ll find on the pullout poster. It’s about the increasing jobs in the horticulture field, the growing numbers of gardeners discovering the joy of digging in the dirt and the perceived value of what you do every day as growers and retailers.

Let’s face it: plants are cool again, and the market is shifting in favor of retailers that can provide that ‘cool’ factor, whether it’s trendy houseplants, eco-friendly native offerings or even plant-themed merchandise. There’s no right way to capitalize on that demand, but there are certainly some great ideas from the garden centers featured in this month’s issue.

To see so many garden centers seize the opportunity to grow in this changing marketplace is inspiring. You can read more about some of those initiatives throughout this month’s issue from e-commerce platforms on page 18 to Shelmerdine Garden Centre’s customer-conscious initiatives on page 36 to interviews in IGC owners’ own words on page 46.

As always, we’d love to hear about your new initiatives, no matter what size your garden center is. The best ideas can come from the smallest operations, after all. So please reach out and let us know what you’re up to.

Kate Spirgen kspirgen@gie.net