Being located outside of metropolitan regions makes our choice of growers who will call on us a bit more limited. While there are a number of bedding plant growers who do call on us only one really has the quality that is necessary to set us apart from the Color Spot fare offed at the chains. So when that one grower we have come to rely on decides not to grow the early spring annuals, that effects our bottom line.
A couple of years ago we had a very cold a rainy spring. Our grower found themselves with lots of pansies, violas, snapdragons, etc. that we're not selling. Eventually the weather changed but by then the summer annuals were happening so they had to get rid of all those flats. That must have hurt. So naturally they are a bit weary about these early season flowers. In addition they realize that perennials command a higher price so they have focused on those plants. Their perennials in 4â€ pots are the best! But so where their annuals. Their flats of pansies were to die for.
This year they decided not to grow the spring annuals, which meant that we had to scramble to find another source, which we did but the quality is not as great. The only other quality source of flowers said they were not taking on any other business right now, and in addition we were to far out of their way. So we got stuck.
It's got me to thinking how tied into a few growers and suppliers we are. When you shop quality the choices of suppliers is greatly diminished. Remember we do not buy from anyone who supplies the chain stores, so those suppliers like Color Spot are out. In addition if one of those suppliers makes a strategic, or not so strategic move it becomes our unwanted not so strategic move. We could have been selling tons of the best quality pansies and violas yet because of our suppliers decisions we found ourselves lacking.
What happens if that vegetable grower with the really nice vegetable starts goes out of business, or the water plant supplier changes focus, or the major plant grower decides to move operations. We end up paying the price. If we are going to offer something better than they box stores we have to rely on those key growers and suppliers.
I think that its time for the growers who supply the small and medium sized independents to start filling us in on what there plans for the future are. We independents need to speak up and tell the growers and suppliers that we need to be let in on their (our) future plans. What are your plans for next year and after? It's not just our bedding plant supplier, but a lot of suppliers that make decisions regarding what it is they are going to carry and not carry that affects us. Maybe if these companies had blogs they could fill us in on what the boss or bosses have in mind. The blogs could be private for customers eyes only, but some type of ongoing conversation with the customer would be nice. After all its our shared success that is at stake.