Friday, April 13, 2012

Letting my hair down…

It clearly seems to me that everyone is just a little too uptight these days. Although we take business very seriously, and we do our very best to make it better, we often take time here at Harris Seeds to have a laugh or two. I have had my share over the years I have spent with Harris Seeds. I remember nailing Bonnie’s blinds to the windowsill. Oh, how she struggled that morning. Then there was the time I ground up some fiery hot peppers in the coffee grinder and it drove the marketing department out the door for hours. There are many more that I cannot share, but my point is this: do not go through life without a laugh or two. It is good for the soul and good for those that work for you.

Our company is owned by a kind and generous man, and he expects savvy business practices from the team here at Harris Seeds, and we do not let him down. I am very proud with the things that we have accomplished, but I can guarantee that we have had fun along the way. Laughter can bring one out of a sullen mood, and all of a sudden, the world around you seems to brighten.

Today, we were in the greenhouse taking cut flower supply photos. Michael Wells, our in-house sales specialist for New York and Pennsylvania, and I had the opportunity to don some new head gear. Photos included. It is good to have a sense of humor and make fun of yourself once in a while... it builds character, I think. Some may call me an old fool, but I am a happy old fool. Michael is a young fool then, I guess.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

California Dreamin’…

Our Ornamentals Manager, Vicky Rupley, and I recently returned from the California Pack Trials. You may have been reading Vicky’s Ornamentals blog about this yearly event that brings breeders and propagators together, up and down the West Coast of California. Breeders show off their plant wares, while growers and suppliers take a first look at the season’s soon-to-be trends.

Much like in the vegetable seed business, there has been quite a bit of consolidation in the ornamental marketplace. Big companies purchase smaller companies, so the pool of smaller independent breeding companies shrinks each year. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as big companies have bigger budgets and more financial resources, and it takes this kind of revenue to bring quality products to growers and consumers.

What is so special about this trip is that we get to see just about every new ornamental seed and cutting variety the world’s breeders have to offer. The plant material is grown by the best propagators in America, and it is all in full bloom at the time of our arrival. It is hard to imagine that anyone would not be awestruck by these exciting, colorful displays of plant material.

Ornamental growers today have access to just about all of this material via our Ornamental Seed Catalog and our Plug & Liner Catalog. For customers who would appreciate guidance in selecting the new material that fits their needs, we have ornamental seed and plug and liner specialists in-house to field questions year round.

We have been hearing that garden center activity in the South is shaping up nicely, and we think that trend will carry through into the North. Although growers seem to have been somewhat conservative with their purchases this season, I foresee many garden centers selling out of product this spring, and that would be a good thing.

As the stock market continues on the upswing, consumers will have money to spend. Let us hear from you about how your business is doing.

Best regards,
Dick Chamberlin - President