I think all the angst that we see concerning how to attract generation x and y, and other non-gardeners to the garden is best left with the larger concerns. The larger nurseries and chain stores need the growth that was around a few years ago. Many are public traded companies, who's stock holders demand a certain amount of growth. These type of companies are worried about the (seeming) decline in gardening. Where is the growth to come from? I think there are plenty of people out there to sustain the businesses of most smaller garden centers. We don't need the constant growth that a place like Lowe's or Hines nurseries require. We are in a much better position to reach out to those people who might enjoy gardening, but maybe don't know it.
This is the key to the proper use of the internet by smaller concerns. The internet allows us to reach out to, andÂ connect with, a smaller group of people who would really enjoy what we have to offer. This smaller group's numbers would not be enough to sustain a Home Depot, but would be enough to sustain and grow a smaller nursery. We don't need quite the numbers that larger concerns need.
So my thinking is, if your a big concern then you certainly have a lot to think about. You are going to have a harder and harder time sustaining the growth you need. You do need to worry about where all those gardening customers are coming from. If you a smaller concern that uses the internet to connect to a smaller, more loyal group of people you really don't need to worry about the big picture. Instead focus on your own corner of the picture. There are people out there just waiting to hear our message of hope and a brighter future.
Unlike Black Friday, where so much of what is bought will be useless in a couple of years, our offering of plants and flowers actually become more valuable with time. Adding oxygen to the environment, and providing the peace of mind we all desire, a small garden center could be the most environmentally hip place around. With all the talk of green this and that, we actually walk the walk.
So lets quit obsessing about how to appeal to generation x or y and instead appeal to the people who are receptive to our message already, despite their age. I know the weather in many parts of the country is just not conductive to winter sales at the garden center. Never the less, shopping at the local, smaller garden center during the holidays should be one of the most enviromentally aware things people can do. It's a statement of hope, and a soild, positive thing that people can do to improve their quality of life. What a wonderful message to our children when we plant a tree. Yes, we may not be around long enough to hang our hammock in it, but someone will.