The way for a small garden center to attract new customers is through word of mouth. Satisfied customers spreading the word is worth it's weight in gold. You can amplify that word of mouth through various mediums such a nursery Facebook page, like ours. Go ahead and fan us. You'll receive updates, and help the nursery spread the word. I think the most important thing we can do right now is help people grow their own food. Growing some, or all of your own food makes you a more self-reliant person. Just the knowledge that you can grow food that is tastier and healthier than store bought opens up a whole world of possibilities.
Growing your own food is not always easy. It's work. If you have invested the time and money to do this you want a friend who can steer you right, without glossing over the difficulties.Â One of the reasons people start gardening and then abandon it is the realization that it can be hard work. That's o.k. It's not for everyone.
Many of us in the nursery industry obsess over attracting new people to gardening. Sustaining and growing a large horticultural concern requires a constant stream of new gardeners. To attract those gardeners we need to make gardening look cool and easy. So we come up with terms like, "Proven Winners", or "Hort Couture". Fail safe and chic!
We work hard to keep our current customers. New customers seem to show up often because a friend told them about us. Our customers work hard to grow their gardens and want the tools and advice to do it right. We had a workshop over the weekend on planting the fall and winter vegetable garden. We talked about the importance of knowing your soils pH.Â The role of fertilizers in our Sierra soils. We talked about mycorrhizae. Yes, mycorrhizae. How to tell if your over or under watering. The kind of stuff people need to know when growing your food.
As the economic situation seems to worsen, more and more people will be looking for the feeling of self-reliance that comes with growing your own. The local, independent garden center is the place that should be at the forefront of educating the community on how to go about this. We should offer honesty about what gardening entails, along with an enthusiasm for the positive changes we will be helping create.
P.S. Just this morning Seth Godin published his blog post titled, "Little Lies and small promises.Â It's premise is the same as mine. Honesty is in short supply. Business and individuals that are honest in their dealings will have the advantage going into the future.