Where do you fit in?

8528596206_78ed4135c7 Does that customer buy all their gardening goods from you? Some customers do, but I think the majority buy some of their gardening supplies from you, but also spread their gardening dollar around to other businesses.

When a customer shops at Whole Foods in Folsom they walk right past the “garden center” to enter the door. The garden center is some racks with vegetable and flower starts on them. These are not sad looking little starts, but organically grown starts produced by a small local grower. That small grower use to just sell to independent garden centers. Reality set in and they got the gig with Whole Foods. The soils are organic and produced by a small operation putting quality at the forefront. So easy to buy a few vegetable starts, pick up some potting soil, and head home with the groceries. There is no, “can I get these plants healthier or cheaper anywhere else?” You can’t.

That same person heads home and sees that tomatoes need fertilizer on a regular basis. They didn't call your garden shop, but looked it up online. Guess what? The place they looked it up online also sells the appropriate organic fertilizer. Why wonder all the way to the garden shop to buy fertilizer when all the information and products are a click away, and two days from delivery? Click, and now the fertilizing needs of the tomatoes will be met.

Something is eating the tomato plants. Let’s search “tomato plants chewed” and see what comes up. Ah, ah! Tomato horn worms can be picked off by hand, or you can spray organic BT on the plants. Low and behold the BT can be shipped overnight express from the very place that provided the information and advice. How cool and convenient.

About that garden center the customer never visits. No, they really don’t want to have to go there. It’s always crowded, smells like pesticides, and the people working there seem too busy to help you. Besides, you don’t want to feel stupid by asking stupid questions. Your intelligent and know how to use The Internet to find out just about anything. Frankly, if you never have to visit that Home Depot garden center again, that would be fine by you.

Where do you and your small independent garden center fit into this picture?