It was just last week, March 8th that we talked about re-thinking your garden center. That post included this, "What if you had to tear down your present garden center and start over? What would you do different? Don’t use the assumption that things will be like they we’re before the recession. They won’t. Fundamental shifts are taking place that will change the way we do things from now on." Just a couple of day's later an earthquake and tsunami has sent a modern, industrialized country into a tail spin. Food shortages, radiation, mass destruction, loss of life, it goes on, and on. If that can happen in Japan then any industrialized, modern economy is at risk. Certainly the scale of the disaster precludes any notion of "grow your own", etc. Everything was washed away, including the garden. What happens when the infrastructure we have come to depend on fails? What do we do when the government say's, "sorry, the scope of the problems to large, we can't help."
We have come a long way since 2006 when Susie Coelho told us that outdoor rooms were the "in" thing and "if you want to live that stylish life, it takes a little effort. When it rains, we just dash out and take the decorative pillows off so they don’t get drenched. Most are outdoor-rated anyway, but why not keep them nicer? It’s the same as people who put their cars in the garage if it’s raining or snowing.” Yes, there are still people who care about this, and can afford the lifestyle. If your garden center is in one of these areas then you might be able to make a living off this kind of stuff. Otherwise it would be best to eschew the "lifestyle" market, and focus on your neighborhood, and it's needs.
For most it won't involve "throw pillows". As food prices rise and safety issues come to a forefront it will fall to the local garden center to become the go to place for advice and supplies. No more "what color pillow will go with that outdoor TV". Instead it's, "earwigs are eating my crop and I need it to stop." The questions and answers just got a whole lot more serious. As more people turn towards their own gardens for their livelihood they will want advice that pertains to their particular situation, and who better to provide that? Yup, your locally owned garden center. Are we ready?