Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Product Review: The PotLifter

This Labor Day weekend rounded out a seven-day workweek for me, which finally gave me a reason to put the PotLifter to work.

I saw the PotLifter for sale at Cornell Farm back in July. It’s one of those products that makes me wonder why you don’t see more of them around…maybe not for sale, but for use by garden center employees.

When I got home from Portland, I sent the folks at PotLifter an email saying the same thing I said in the previous sentence. I wanted to test it out and they were totally up for it. A week later a Potlifter, via our mail-guy Tim, found its way to my desk.

During a pretty steady Saturday at Gali’s (Garden Center), Chris Murray and I took advantage of some lulls and decided to give the PotLifter a standard road test.

The PotLifter is a pretty straightforward gadget. It requires two people and a good grip. You fit it around a heavy pot. Pull back to cinch it up. Then you lift. Pretty easy and pretty foolproof.

We tried it out on a whiskey barrel outside of the shop. We fit the PotLifter around the barrel and moved it easily. We only moved the barrel for the sake of moving it, and Chris said, we really wouldn’t move a planted up whiskey barrel anyway. That being said, anytime that we’ve ever had to move a (unplanted, full of soil) whiskey barrel, we had to pull out the towmotor and slide the bulky container onto the forks. The PotLifter made it a whole heck of a lot quicker.

It even works with oddly shaped pieces. This bench leg actually weighs an awkward 150lbs. I turn 27 on Thursday and I'm finally realizing the importance of having a fully functioning back and I think the PotLifter shares the same sentiment. I'm not sure it would find its way into the everyday work routine at your garden center, but it definitely has its place when it comes time to move the big (heavy) stuff.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Consumers Dig Private Label

It wasn't that long ago that private label translated into generic and a lesser product. But that perception has been changing.

A June survey from GfK Custom Research North America showed 57 percent of shoppers frequently purchased store-brand products. Only 2 percent said they never purchase store-brand products.

That's heartening to hear, especially in light of many garden retailer's efforts to use their own brand on products such as plants, soils, amendments, pest controls and even gifts.