Monday, June 15, 2009

My Eventful Uneventful Sunday

It was an interesting Sunday at Gali's Garden Center this past weekend. I've worked there since 2001, and I always forget when the bottom drops out for sales. This Sunday, the bottom did in fact drop out for a few 15-minute spans in the afternoon. There were times when the empty parking lot called for a roaming tumbleweed.

It has always amazed me at how fast a garden center parking lot can fill up...and in the same breath, how fast it can empty out as the season begins to wane. Luckily for us, an empty parking lot coincided with a not-so-busy Chagrin Blvd. at around 5:40 p.m. We, the staff, were wrapping up things inside the property lines - sweeping, watering, closing vents, etc.

On the other side of the curb, well that's another story. We received a phone call from a couple drivers/customers of Gali's. "One of your carts is in Chagrin." This doesn't happen too often, but it has happened, where one of our annual carts positioned in our parking lot snuck out and rolled its way into a usually busy street. No one was hurt, no cars damaged, no plants lost. Phew! Just looking at the photo above, you can see we're big risk-takers.

Other than our end of the day excitement, a couple new things to hit Gali's are worth a mention. How about these Serenity White Bliss African Daisies. I remember seeing these in one of our Variety Central sections, but this is the first time I've seen them up close. Kinda cool.
Also, the new cardboard dumpster. Chris Murray, one of my pals (and a manager) at Gali's, has been pushing for this dumpster for a while now. He's done plenty of research on the benefits of it and I'm happy to see they've made the leap.

Speaking of Chris, he showed me this email he received from one of the big nurseries he orders from. I love the Lemon Daddy. My parents stopped into Gali's a couple weekends ago and I peer pressured them into buying one for their yard. They said, "We don't have the space." To which I replied, "It doesn't matter, the yellow leaves are really cool." Spoken like a true generation Y-er. I digress.
Look at this ad! And look at the Lemon Daddy...the one in the suit, not the hydrangea. This is just one of those ads that doesn't answer any questions and doesn't get you excited to buy, it simply succeeds in making you laugh...and also wonder, what were they thinking.

Lastly, I know there's Cockadoodle-doo, and Moo-Nure and even Zoo-Doo, but I learned of one more this weekend. We had a female customer come up to the counter asking us if we had any "sheep poo." I'm not too familiar with it, but I guess it was call BahBahDoo. Hilarious. Her husband chimed in, "It was really bahhhhhd."

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cautious Optimism

The recession didn’t entirely slam the retail garden industry the way it did the rest of retail. But there are some signs that retail in general is looking up - or at least looking better than it did before.

Retail Forward is reporting that despite deterioration of same-store sales in May (except for Wal-Mart, of course), it appears shoppers are showing signs of letting up from the current "belt-tightening behavior." Shoppers reported in Retail Forward’s May ShopperScape survey that they are less inclined than last year to limit their spending, seek deals or trade down to lower-priced brands and retailers in response to the economic downturn.

Did you see customers "trading down" this spring? We were hearing reports of foot traffic increasing but average ticket decreasing. Did this hold true for you? And if it did, do you think customers will stick with this type of spending for a while?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

GroGood Campaign

Check out these veggies!

I visited the Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. headquarters in Marysville last week with Rick Welder, our sales account representative on Today's Garden Center. While we were there, we took a quick look at the raised bed gardens the company created as an internal contest and as part of the GroGood campaign to donate fresh produce to local food banks.

It's a great cause, and it looks like lots of Scotts employees have gotten into the spirit by planting rows of veggies to care for throughout the summer. The one bed that really caught our eye, though, was the one planted by the research and development team (the picture above). The rest looked pretty meager compared to the giant, leafy veggies being cared for by these guys.
I think I might have an idea who's going to be winning that company-wide contest!
Want to know more about the GroGood Campaign? Here's the link: