Midwest-CBK and Colonial Candle announce Passport to Success sweepstakes winners
Two independent retailers will be packing their suitcases and traveling to Paris on Midwest-CBK and Colonial Candle as winners in the companies’ first “Passport to Success” sweepstakes. Randomly selected from thousands of entries, winners include Koula Louras, owner of Rand & Euclid Shell/Express Gifts in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, and Jessie Latt, owner of Parkview Nursery and The Boston Fern in Aberdeen, South Dakota. As prize winners, Louras and Latt were presented with the opportunity to choose from a trip for two to Paris or the Bahamas. Both Louras and Latt selected Paris, and each will be traveling in September 2012 with their husbands.
Pike Nurseries Continues to Grow,
Opens New Store in Greensboro, Georgia
Pike Nurseries, Atlanta’s most established garden center company, held a grand opening celebration on Saturday, April 14, in honor of its newest store in Greensboro, Ga. To commemorate the new location, all Pike Nurseries locations offered free cake, store-wide discounts and more.
Latt has owned and operated Parkview Nursery, a garden center and nursery, for 15 years, which has been family owned since 1965. Parkview Nursery has been carrying Midwest-CBK and Colonial Candle lines for 20 years and Latt said she returns every year thanks to the “unique product selection and great customer service.”
“It’s been a dream of mine to go to Paris since I was a child – I’m thrilled to go,” Latt said. “We’re planning to see the Eiffel Tower, visit the Louvre and several other museums. Monet is my favorite artist so I’m looking forward to seeing many of his paintings in person. I plan to enjoy some really great French cuisine. My husband and I look forward to a fabulous dinner at famous Le Grand Colbert restaurant! Thank you to everyone at Midwest-CBK for the trip of a lifetime!”
Each prize includes round-trip air transportation for the winner and one guest to Paris, four nights double occupancy hotel accommodation and transfers for an approximate retail value of $5,000 for each prize package. Winners were selected in a random drawing from among all eligible entries received during the winter 2012 markets.
Consumer confidence climbs as U.S. job market improves
Consumer confidence has climbed to the highest level in four years and unemployment claims fell, pointing to a brighter job market that may invigorate the U.S. economy.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index (COMFCOMF) rose to minus 31.4 in the period ended April 1, the best reading since March 2008, from minus 34.7 the prior week. Filings for jobless benefits dropped by 6,000 to 357,000 in the week ended March 31, the fewest since April 2008, the Labor Department said.
Employers probably took on more than 700,000 workers in the first three months of this year, the best quarter for job growth since 2006, a report tomorrow may show, while equities rallied the most since 1998. The improvements may support consumer spending in the face of rising gasoline prices.
Gardener’s Supply introduces GardenMinder app
Gardener’s Supply and Green Mountain Digital has released their new GardenMinder App for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The app includes built-in reminders and how-to’s to help your customers keep a fruitful garden. It might even inspire them to try something new.
The GardenMinder App helps both new and experienced gardeners plan, maintain and record the progress of their kitchen vegetable gardens with multiple features including a visual garden planner tool, weekly alerts and ‘Gardening Success Reminders,’ easy-access to ‘How-To’s’ and a Personal Garden Journal.
The GardenMinder App is available for $9.99 from the App Store. For more information, visit www.gardeners.com.
Costa Farms makes acquisition
Costa Farms is entering the perennial marketplace with the acquisition of Layman Wholesale Nurseries Inc., a leading supplier to garden centers in the southeast.
Layman Wholesale Nurseries grows perennials and woody ornamentals at three production facilities in Trenton, South Carolina.
“Perennials show a promising future as demand for low-maintenance plants continues to increase,” said Jose Smith, president and CEO of Costa Farms. “This acquisition opens the door for us to offer our customers a wider range of products.”
The Costa Farms family of companies will continue to operate as a perennial grower in Trenton and will work with breeders and producers worldwide to expand this category.
“We’re proud our business is recognized as a leading supplier of quality perennials for garden centers,” said Barry Layman, president and CEO of Layman Wholesale Nurseries. “Most importantly, we’re grateful to our loyal customers and dedicated team who have helped us achieve this level of success.”
Layman emphasized that his company and Costa Farms share core beliefs of respect for their customers and excellent service. “We’re pleased to be on board with such an impressive organization that shares similar values as the Layman team,” he said.
For more information, visit www.costafarms.com
Matterhorn Nursery closes, auctions off stock
SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. — After more than 30 years in business, Matterhorn Nursery has closed its doors.
The 34-acre nursery has been the winner of many industry awards, and was well-loved in the gardening community. It closed abruptly in mid-April.
In 2003, Matterhorn was featured in Garden Center as an Innovator Award winner.
The nursery held an auction April 28 through May 1, selling everything from windows and bike racks to paintings and fountains.
Matterhorn owners Matt and Ronnie Horn filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2010 after the Town of Ramapo pulled out of a deal to purchase 15 acres of Matterhorn's land.
The nursery plans to continue offering landscape consulting and maintenance services.
A message on the nursery's website read, "Words cannot express our thanks. Our customers have sustained us, especially these last years. We are so grateful for your patronage, support, and kind words."
For more information, visit www.matterhornnursery.com.
2012 Farwest Show announces lineup
The 2012 Farwest Show, one of the nation’s largest horticulture trade shows, has announced the lineup for this year’s event, including a featured celebration of the genus Acer, according to Farwest Show director Allan Niemi.
“Everything that Farwest attendees love about the show will be back this year,” Niemi said. “We’ll have an excellent selection of nursery tours, a full docket of seminars, our showcase featuring close to 50 new plant varieties, a new Retail Marketplace, and for 2012 our genus focus will be on the Acer.”
From petite Acer palmatums to stately shade trees, many different species and cultivars will be installed in special displays at this year’s Farwest, whose host, the Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN), plans to showcase the breadth of Acer plants grown in the region for use in residential, municipal and commercial landscapes. “We want to inspire and educate attendees and persuade our industry to see the design value the Acer family brings to the landscape,” OAN director of marketing Ann Murphy said.
Various Acer attributes, including different forms (shrubs, specimen shade trees, single- and multi-stem, low and high grafts), shapes (vase, broad, columnar, weeping, etc.), bark color and texture, different leaf size and shape, and a mix of leaf color will be featured. “We intend to showcase Acer species, crosses and cultivars from small to large growers, encouraging as many Farwest Show exhibitors to participate as possible,” Murphy said.
This year’s show will also include two days of nursery tours, networking events, 30 hours of seminars, a New Varieties Showcase with nearly 50 new plants, a New Products Showcase, a Demo Stage and a Retail Marketplace offering gift items geared to garden centers.
The 2012 Farwest Show, now in its 40th year, will take place August 23-25 at the Oregon Convention Center, in Portland, Ore.
The Farwest Show is produced by the Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN), a trade organization that represents and serves the interests of the ornamental horticulture industry. Any revenue realized by the OAN is reinvested into the industry through education, research, marketing support and government relations. For registration and more information about the 2012 Farwest Show seminars, nursery tours, show hours and other features, visit www.farwestshow.com, or call (503) 682-5089.
Joe Lamp’l will be keynote speaker at OFA Short Course
Television personality Joe Lamp’l will be the keynote speaker at this year’s OFA Short Course. Lamp’l will headline a seminar that will focus on how to find and influence today’s consumer.
Lampl’s presentation will be titled “Can You Hear Me Now? Voices from Beyond the Greenhouse,” and will take place at 8 a.m. on Sunday, July 15.
Lamp’l, a.k.a. Joe Gardener, will share strategies to reach today’s consumers and what to say when you do. Joe will take a look at the products and services we sell, and offer a valuable consumer perspective that challenges product relevance, marketing messages, and if we are even using the right vehicles.
With his eyes and ears on today’s home gardener, Lamp’l helps homeowners succeed with a wide variety of home garden projects. You can see and hear Joe on “Fresh from the Garden” on DIY Network, GardenSMART on PBS, and his latest series, Growing a Greener World, also on national public television. Joe also shares his know-how on NBC’s TODAY SHOW, ABC’s Good Morning America, and more.
Ball Horticultural Company is sponsoring Lamp’l’s participation.
L.A. Reynolds Garden Showcase opens farmers market
L.A. Reynolds Garden Showcase added another green feature — a farmers market, according to a report in the Winston Salem Journal.
The L.A. Reynolds Farmers Market opened April 14, just outside the Perennials Pavilion area at the garden center on Styers Ferry Road, the same week that L.A. Reynolds will hold its spring open house.
The farmers market hours are from 9 a.m. to about noon on Wednesdays and Saturdays through late fall.
Growers Supply holds customer photo contest
Growers Supply, a division of FarmTek, is holding a photo contest for customers to submit photos of the company’s building products from now until June 30, 2012. The best submission will receive a $500 gift certificate to the company, and 10 runners up will each receive a $100 gift certificate.
Participants may enter the contest by submitting at least three photos of their Growers Supply structure with a 100-word minimum explanation of what they like about it. Growers Supply is looking for striking images that show how the structure is being used. Testimonials can explain what the customer likes about the structure, how installation went, how they benefit from using the building, how it impacts the business or home, their experience with ordering from Growers Supply or modifications that have been done.
Photos should be submitted in the highest resolution possible (300 dpi) and in the camera’s original format (.jpg, .tiff, etc.). Submit entries electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them to the Growers Supply Facebook page.
Submissions must be received by June 30. To read the complete contest rules, visit www.growerssupply.com/photo.
Ittie Bittie Mix // Batson’s Foliage Group
Batson’s Foliage Group introduces the 2-inch Ittie Bittie Fern terrarium mix. Each case ships packed with 88 plants—eight to eleven varieties-growers choice. The mix is ideal for terrariums, fairy gardens and other small plantings.
Sickles Market wins ‘Best of’ in four categories in New Jersey Monthly’s online readers poll
Sickles Market in Little Silver, N.J., set a record for repeat wins in four categories in New Jersey Monthly’s readers’ online poll “2012 Jersey Choice: Best Of New Jersey.” Winners in 80 categories were announced in the magazine’s April issue.
According to New Jersey Monthly, over 8,000 readers participated, and only one vote per e-mail or IP address was allowed. The ballots were tabulated by J.H. Cohn LLP, a Roseland-based accounting and consulting firm.
Sickles Market took home the blue ribbon in the following categories: Florist, Garden Center, Gift Shop, and Gourmet Shop, as well as runner-up for Bread and Butcher!
The kudos are right on the tail of last year’s awards finale when Sickles Market won 2011 New Jersey Family Business Award by Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurship at Fairleigh Dickinson University. The popular, century-old market has come a long way since it morphed from a seasonal farm stand to a national award-winning year-round gourmet food market and garden center in 1999.
Below are quotes from New Jersey Monthly about the category winners:
GARDEN CENTER: When Bob Sickles’s parents operated a seasonal, open-air market, they realized that customers wanted to grow their own fruits and vegetables, so they started selling edible plants. That idea has grown along with Sickles Market in Little Silver. It is now a large outdoor garden center and greenhouse offering decorative and edible plants, as well as accessories like fountains and wind chimes.
GIFT SHOP: Not your typical gift shop, Sickles Market in Little Silver, in the words of Lisa Karasic, marketing manager for the 20,000-square-foot emporium, is “sort of an eclectic wonderland.” Products range from home decor accents like pillows and chandeliers to pampering treats like exfoliating products and body creams.
GOURMET SHOP: The gourmet grocery department of Sickles Market in Little Silver is special to owner Bob Sickles because it dates to when the business was seasonal and open-air, before the family built its 20,000-square-foot store. “It’s still a big part of the business,” he says. “I like to say we specialize in quality, freshness and range of product.”
To see the entire online article, here is the link. www.njmonthly.com Sickles Market mentions appear in the Shopping category and the Food category.
ACHLA Designs establishes scholarship fund
ACHLA Designs—a supplier of home and garden accents—has established a scholarship fund for individuals pursuing careers in horticulture, nursery management and landscape services. Two scholarships will be awarded for 2013.
The ACHLA Designs Scholarship is for high school seniors or high school graduates interested in pursuing a college education in landscape design or horticulture-related professions at any accredited two- or four-year college (excluding for-profit colleges).
Awards will be $2,500 per year for up to four years. Recipients are required to submit proof of enrollment in a post-secondary education program and maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher throughout the academic year in order for annual scholarship funds to be released. The scholarship is open to anyone living in and planning to study in the United States.
Visit www.achla.com to download application forms and information on submission deadlines/requirements. You can also e-mail Achla Madan, email@example.com, for additional details.
What’s in your hose water?
A recent study of nearly 180 hoses, gloves, kneeling pads and tools shows that there’s more in gardening equipment than your customers might think.
Researchers at the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center have found lead, cadmium, bromine, chlorine and other chemicals that have been linked to health problems in 30 percent of all products tested. And two-thirds of those contained chemical levels of “high concern.”
The results were released on HealthyStuff.org.
All 90 garden hoses tested contained four types of plasticizers banned in children’s products, and two contained hazardous flame retardants.
And with more and more gardeners growing their own vegetables, it’s a rising concern.
To help your customers avoid harmful chemicals, consider carrying hoses labeled “drinking water safe” or “lead-free.”
There are plenty of polyurethane or natural rubber hoses on the market from GoodYear, Swan, ACE, REnew Room Essentials, Flexon and more, meaning no PVC contamination for your customers and their families.
Registration is open for GCA’s 2012 Summer Tour
Detroit will host Garden Centers of America’s 2012 Summer Tour, June 25-28. Stops include Bordine’s, English Gardens, Ray Wiegand’s Nursery and more.
Retailers can register for the tour online. GCA members who register before June 15 qualify for the early-bird rate of $550 per person.
Charles and Linda Shackelford didn’t set out to become media darlings. When the owners of TLC Florist & Greenhouses in Oklahoma City launched their “Let’s Talk Gardening” television program in 2002, all they wanted to do was … well, talk gardening.
But in the nine years since the program debuted, it has blossomed, as it were, into THE weekly resource for area gardeners looking for the latest, greatest plants and planting tips – as well as one remarkable way to market both the store and the pastime.
Not that the garden center needed help. Since opening in 1980, TLC has grown from a literal “mom and pop shop” to a business that employs a year-round staff of 85-plus. In the process, the Shackelfords have earned many accolades, from being voted president (each at various times) of the Oklahoma Greenhouse Growers Association to being named the state’s “Best Lawn & Garden Store” in a poll of newspaper readers. This year, TLC Florist & Greenhouses was named a “Top 100 Garden Center” by Garden Center magazine.
“Each year we carefully plan our expansion or improvements to fill a need of customer convenience and company efficiency,” Charles said. “This has allowed us to grow at a controlled rate and keep the banker friendly – most of the time.”
Survey shows top outdoor living trends for 2012
Washington, D.C. – The American love affair with the back yard shows no signs of slowing, according to the 2012 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Landscape architects with a specialization in residential design across the country were asked to rate the expected popularity of a variety of residential outdoor design elements. The category of gardens and landscape spaces, with 94.9 percent rating somewhat or very popular, was followed closely by outdoor livings spaces at 91.5 percent, which were defined as kitchen and entertainment spaces.
Across all categories, 97.4 percent of respondents rated grills as somewhat or very in-demand for 2012, followed by low-maintenance landscapes (96.6 percent), fireplaces/fire pits (95.8 percent), and dining areas (95.7 percent). Lighting features remained a popular choice from 2011 at 93.1 percent, as Americans plan to take more of their lives outside once the sun sets – to an extent.
“The economic recovery continues to struggle, but residential design has remained stronger than other categories throughout the recession,” said ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA.
Americans also love their pools (79.2 percent), but not quite as much as their spas (80.4 percent) and other decorative water elements (89.9 percent), such as waterfalls or bubblers.
Seating and dining areas remain high on people’s lists (95.7 percent), as do installed seating at 86.9 percent and weatherized outdoor furniture at 81.2 percent.
When thinking of gardening, Americans tend toward the practical and sustainable with native plants (86.3 percent) and food/vegetable gardens (81.2 percent), with over half of them preferred to be organic (61.2 percent).
Besides planting locally and organically, other sustainable elements continue their popularity with homeowners. Native or drought-tolerant plants (85.4 percent), drip irrigation (81.7 percent), and permeable paving (71.6 percent) are making their way into outdoor living spaces across the country.