The garden center biz is at a crossroads

My fellow nursery people, hows business this year? Are you up, even , or down from last year? My guess is the majority of you will say down, some might say even, and a very few are up.  Many people in the trade know weather is a huge factor, and let me tell you the weather has not helped out this year. Not just here in sunny California (finally), but around the country nurseries are feeling the pinch from tornado's, flood's, fires (Texas), and unusual cold. My sources indicate a big drop in sales this year for your local independent garden centers. At the box stores it's not much better.  Wholesale growers barley hanging on are dumping material into the box stores in an effort to just get it out of the nursery. Meanwhile the box stores are lowering prices thinking that will stimulate an over spent consumer into buying. Guess what? They are not! So just like the Fed printing more money makes the dollar less valuable, the wholesale nurseries dumping more plants into the boxes just contributes to the downward spiral of price and quality. The chickens are starting to come home to roost when it comes to plant dumping at the boxes.

This year is a turning point for our trade. Those of you in the trade can feel it. No amount of cheer leading is going to change the unmistakable fact that many indie retail and wholesale operations are not going to be around next year. I wonder about the wholesale operations that sell to the boxes. How much longer can they give their plants away? The customer might think the low prices are great but you know what, even with low prices and mounds of  plants sitting on the asphalt at the local box store people are not buying.

The future is now. If you don't change with the times the times will change you. What do you do as a nursery person when the sun is shinning, plants looking good, and fewer people come to your store this year than last? You might wonder, are others in my trade feeling the pinch like me? What are they doing to make a go of it? What are they doing to change their world and stay in business? If your in the business as an owner or employee you might want to join us at our Facebook page, Independent Garden Centers or Nurseries here. You will find out your not alone, and surrounded by people willing to take a chance and change this trade for the better.

If your a garden blogger, writer, wholesale nursery, broker, customer, or just like the idea of a locally owned garden center go here to show your support. LOGON, Locally Owned Garden Centers or Nurseries is the outreach part of our indie nursery group. Anyone can "like" us and  be part of the solution. In the coming months and years we hope to revitalize the idea of independent, locally owned garden centers or nurseries. We have big plans and would love to have your support and input.  Do you have a favorite garden center in your neck of the woods. Let them know about us. Spread the word.

I believe the future bodes well for the well run, indie garden center. I also believe there will be a lot less of them going forward. Sorry, but that is just the way it is. I remember when gardening was America's number one hobby, and Saturday's were always busy at the garden center. Going forward it is not going to be. Just too many other things to do with ones time. We are going to have to offer something different than the box stores, because they do what they do so well it's not worth competing. We have to find our niche and build on that.

Wondering where all the cool nurseries and nursery people have gone? They are gathering with other like minds right here. If your wondering where the places that have, "We don't just grow plants....they are our passion" as their motto, they are here. If your a fan of the local garden center business and want to help spread the word go here. Together we can raise awareness that an alternative to the corporate mind set that has driven gardening into mediocrity is available.