New heights

Departments - Editor’s Note

September 3, 2021

Kate Spirgen

The numbers are in and they’re impressive. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that 2020 retail revenues skyrocketed past 2019, but looking at the 100 top-grossing independent garden centers all together paints an optimistic picture for the industry.

This year’s list brought in $342 million more than they did in 2019, and $485 million more than 2018 and 2017. While we expected to see a big bump in 2020 revenue over past years, these numbers are amazing. While not every garden center on the list saw a huge increase in revenue, fewer than 10 saw a decrease. And many saw an increase of $1 million or more.

I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to share their 2020 retail revenue with us for this year’s list. While revenue is certainly not the only important benchmark in the industry, we’re incredibly grateful to everyone who took the time to send their information.

Inside this issue, you’ll find stories of IGCs that found ways to invest, innovate and overcome in the midst of a crazy year. From unique ways to appreciate staff on page 42, an IGC that built a brand-new store in the middle of the pandemic on page 36 and financial insights on page 22, we’re amazed at what the industry accomplished in 2020.

That’s not to say 2020 was an easy year for garden centers. It was far from it. Through shutdowns, capacity limitations, mask mandates, staff shortages and all kinds of other stress, independent garden centers managed to dig deep and come out on top last year. And it seems like revenues are looking good for 2021 as well thanks to efforts to retain all of those new customers who helped boost 2020 retail numbers higher than they’ve been in years.

Of course, the Top 100 Independent Garden Centers List is just a snippet of how a certain segment of the industry is doing. In our November issue, we’ll be digging more into the market with our annual State of the Industry report. I hope you’ll share your thoughts and insights with us to help make the report as accurate as possible.

Congratulations to all of the businesses that made this year’s list! I hope you and your team celebrate this well-deserved recognition.

Kate Spirgen