Thursday, July 31, 2008

It’s All Happening At The Zoo

TGC’s summer intern, Pete Mihalek, who also happens to work at Gali’s Garden Center in Beachwood, Ohio, told me about an interesting concept that’s generating a bit of buzz among gardeners: Zoo Doo.

Some zoos were finding themselves up to their waists in waste and decided to do something about it. They began recycling the animals’ excrement and selling it as composted manure, which not only enhances soil but can also deter deer.

Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is just one organization with a Zoo Doo program. Its zebras, elephants, hippos, giraffes, gazelles and other animals produce one million pounds of compost each year, and the zoo saves about $60,000 a year in disposal costs. The Zoo Doo is sold in its ZooStore year round in 2-gallon or 1-pint containers.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What Women Want

A couple of months back, we ran a story in TGC called “Are You Relevant To Women?” and it got a great response from our readers. Apparently we hit on a hot-button issue.

It definitely seems like businesses these days are looking for ways to cater to the female demographic, which is smart, especially when you consider that 8 percent of all women are recession-proof shoppers, according to a recent survey by Elle magazine. Who knew?

Apparently Trademark Property Company of Fort Worth, Texas, did. I came across an article in the New York Times yesterday about the property development company, which is going to pretty extreme measures to make sure a new mixed-use retail shopping center it’s working on is exactly what women want. Instead of simply assembling a team of architects and building consultants to work on the project, Trademark Property Company tapped into a whole new group of consultants: women.

First on board were two female retail consultants. Then the company enlisted the help of 24 other women from the area to “pick apart its plans for the center.” Among them were Kristen Fair, a stay-at-home mother of two and Debbie Stout, a City Council member who also runs a small business. The women shared their thoughts on everything from the shopping center’s layout and landscaping to parking options and outdoor art.

According to Stout, the developers “asked us about every detail, and then they listened.”

Now if only the automobile manufacturers would ask for women’s input when designing cars. Are they ever going to add a compartment for my purse? I think my husband would appreciate that, too -- maybe my purse wouldn’t always end up on his lap when he’s in the passenger seat.