The Art of Running a Small Garden Center

I wanted to discuss the reasons why my old nursery “The Happy Frog” was up for sale. When we left it “The Happy Frog” was a happening place. Within four years it’s down and out and for sale.

While I still want to discuss this another thought entered my mind. What if the present owners had a place they could go to get information on running a small garden center? I doubt this would have been the saving grace, for reasons we will discuss. Never-the-less there is no one place a person can go to find out about “The Art of Running a Small Garden Center”.

Tony Avent wrote a book called “So You Want to Start a Nursery” a few years ago. While it is a good read, it discusses mail order nurseries, growing nurseries, and other types of nursery business. Tony is in mail order and only opens the nursery to the public on special days. I want to focus on small and medium sized garden centers that depend on the walk-in customer, with a focus on marketing and customer service. To that end I built a lens here. I have also included a link on my sidebar. This will be a place that anyone interested in small garden centers can go to find and add information.

That’s where you can help. I have already started to populate “The Art of Running a Small Garden Center” with links to posts where we have talked about garden centers in the past. Genie’s the “Plant Traffiker” is one such link. The discussion we had about Lyndale’s Garden Center is another

Can you send me links to any nurseries or garden centers that you frequent or find interesting? Send me links to garden centers that don’t do it right. In other words any thing that you think would interest a potential or current owner of a small garden center. As I receive this info I will transfer it to “The Art of Running a Small Garden Center” lens. Don’t worry about doing this all at once. Just keep your eye’s open and if you see something of interest send it my way.

I choose small garden centers as my focus because that where I have my expertise. In the trade we are always hearing about second and third generation owners and their ideas, yet they all seem to have large multi-million dollar operations. What about garden centers whose sales are less than 3 million dollars a year? In case that sounds like a lot we will in the future look at where the money goes, and boy does it go.

My motivation is to help others, who are interested in opening and/or running a small garden center. It is also to keep me sharp and current. By discussing these things and putting them in one place it keeps me excited about my profession, which at times can be quite trying. I will keep this blog going as it, and the interaction of my readers is what got this idea going in the first place.

My profession is notoriously slow to respond to new ideas and trends. “The Art of Running a Small Garden Center” and this blog are my way of pushing my-self, and anyone else in the trade who wants to go along into the 21st century.