The Garden Center Group exchanges ideas at Fall Event
Danny Summers addresses the attendees of The Garden Center Group's Fall Event.
Matt McClellan

The Garden Center Group exchanges ideas at Fall Event

The 2019 Fall Event took place Sept. 23-27 in Nashville, Tennessee.

September 28, 2019

Nearly 200 members of the independent garden center industry convened on Nashville, Tennessee Sept. 23-26 for The Garden Center Group’s Fall Event. The 19th annual event boasted its highest-ever attendance, and roughly half were first-time attendees.

The schedule was filled with inspiring speakers and open-forum networking, along with a bus tour of two area garden centers and a few other Nashville area attractions.

Editor’s note: Watch for a tour recap from Garden Center next week.

Danny Summers, managing director of The Garden Center Group, said the group’s importance stems from the resources it makes available to its membership. Service providers with specific skills are available to answer any questions members have.

 “We’re doing work that a nonprofit can’t,” Summers said.

Some of the work he refers to is the Annual P&L Study Review, which took place on Day 1 of the event. This study, compiled by RetailKPI Consulting, is exclusive to members. It includes sales and expenses of participating retailers and compares percent of sales for the garden center to both the best practices/high achiever group and to the group as a whole. Steve Bailey and Tim Quebedeaux presented the study and explained the results. The study also includes inventory turns, margin targets by category and the resulting Gross Margin Return on Inventory Investment (GMROII).

Sid Raisch, president of Horticultural Advantage, joined Bailey for a deep dive on this particular category in a lively session. Attendees discussed their own results and how to fix or remove under-performing categories or items, and ways to capitalize on the highest performers.

“If turns are slow, GMROII will be low,” Raisch said.

Raisch continued on this topic in his Day 2 talk, “It’s Time to become Exceptionally Exceptional.”

During the presentation, he detailed the three-step process to achieving the Profile of the Ideal:

  1. Develop exceptional people exceptionally
  2. Develop exceptionally exceptional processes
  3. Promote exceptional products exceptionally

Raisch tied step one to the event's overall theme of "It's Time." Time can’t be managed. People need to manage themselves differently so they can take advantage of the time that’s available to them.

For the second step, it’s important to develop great processes because your habits define you. Utilizing a better process will help your business be better than its current level.

Promoting the correct products is the third, vital, step. Garden Center Group members can use the results of their P&L Study to help them determine which products on which they should focus their efforts. Raisch said if you don’t believe in the product, buy a different product.

“Get rid of mediocrity,” he said. “Create more space for products you believe in.”