Friday, March 8, 2013

An old piece of cloth...

It is time for me to apologize again, as I have not written a blog post in quite some time. It is not because I despise the effort, it really comes down to my inability to remember to do so. Therefore, I apologize again.

When I refer to the fact that I am cut from an old piece of cloth, my heart lies with the corner grocery store, the many retail shops that used to populate Main Street where I grew up, and retail the way it used to be. It seems to me that big corporations do everything possible to push the smaller retailer out of business. I am not naive, as I truly know nothing is forever.

This subject brings me to the smaller independent garden center retailer. These are the folks in the horticulture trade who are our target customer. We do not do business with big box retailers, but choose to provide products and services to the smaller businesses in the ornamental trade. Part of the dilemma we face every year is finding means and ways to deliver these various products and services at an improved level.

It has been voiced many, many times by industry professionals and consultants that if the independent garden centers want to survive long term, they need to stay in touch with the needs of the new consumer who will populate garden centers... Generation X and Y. It seems to me that one could more easily communicate this group of buyers in society by calling them the 25 to 50 year old consumer. Now I know who he, or she, most likely is.

They will want to garden and will do it differently than mom or dad. They have little to no understanding of the demands of gardening, and it is up to the garden center to teach them. This is where I believe the independents have a leg up over the big boxes. Independents have the product knowledge and horticultural understanding to be much more competitive.

I truly want the smaller independent garden centers to survive, and I do believe they can compete. Therefore, this is where our readers can help. If you are a consumer or a garden center manager or owner, let us hear from you. As I had mentioned before, everything changes, so how does a company like Harris Seeds provide improved products and services to these independent garden centers to ensure long term profitability and staying power in the industry?

It is vital for a company like ours to understand the needs of our customer, the garden center, much like the garden center needs to understand the needs of its own customers. If you would like to share your thoughts and recommendations with me, responses are most welcome.


  1. Fantastic letter. Thank you.
    Monty Sarvo
    Las Cruces, New Mexico

  2. I love this article. I am in one of those x or y generations. I am 34 and have enjoyed gardening for as long as I can remember. I am fairly new to vegetable gardening, which I began five years ago. I only buy from one nursury. It is local, the service is second to none, and when I have a question, everyone is nearby and patiently helps me. I never shop at the big box stores anymore. No knows what they're doing (or seems to care), if you could even find someone. I wasn't around in "the good old days" but I wish they would return.