What are you planning to WOW your customers with this spring?

That question comes from a member of our Independent Garden Center Group. Many garden centers and nurseries close down for the winter, only to re-emerge come spring. One member in Virginia say's, "since I work 7 days a week from March to December...I need a vacation which is what I am on right now. But I am also working on 'stuff' for spring and what our plans are." Did you hear that? Seven days a week from March to December! Talk about a well deserved break. Yet spring is right around the corner and now is the time to get those ducks in some semblance of a row. So we wonder, what is the one thing we can do WOW our customers on opening day?This year something is different in the horticultural world. That something is smaller garden centers connecting with other garden centers and nurseries around the world. In the past that function was taken by regional trade shows, nursery association meetings, and trade publications. Now we are able to have a direct conversation with other nurserymen and women in real time. Wonder what winter hours your peers keep? Ask and by the end of the day you have answers from all over the country and world.  What's your policy on Invasive plants? 35 answers to your questions, all within a day.This is hugely beneficial to the smaller garden center business who at times may feel they are the only ones dealing with theses issues.So how do we intend to WOW the customer this year? Rather than with a new plant, new fertilizer, or new line of bird baths, I think this year I'll WOW the customer with a whole new attitude. A more positive, upbeat attitude that comes from the knowledge that many in the garden center businesses also get it. Social media is really made for smaller business that can truly connect with it's customers. Really, just how connected can you be with an orange box? This year we will work more efficiently on connecting with our customers using the social media tools at our disposal. Not because it has to be done, but because we want to do it. That's really why we got in this business, to connect with and help people garst_johns_ch1.jpgden, and make enough money to do it again next year.I love the diversity that is the smaller garden center's and nurseries. The really fun and crazy ideas are always coming from the edges. When you start to put the most forward thinking nursery men and women in contact with one another it is bound to have repercussions.I liken it to the coffee houses of Europe in the 17th century. Then people gathered to drink and share in the wild and crazy ideas that changed the world. It's only natural when your surrounded by this kind of energy to feel more positive and excited by the future. That's the WOW I intend to supply this year. My customers are going to love it.