Customers are cutting back on purchases, suppliers are hitting us with fuel surcharges, and the latest news for retailers is, don't get too excited about this Holiday season. We have never had a big Holiday season. We're in the mountains and people tend to head for the covered, warm malls. We do a fair gift card business which is nice. So what to do? Somehow we have to get people interested in coming in the store.Â We don't want to just put everything on sale, since it cut's into profits, but we are strategically putting on sale plants which we would rather not over winter here at the nursery.
We have increased the frequency of our e-news from twice a month to once a week. We do run the risk of over inundating some people with more e-mail, but it's imporatnt that we remind them about us. It seems to work and the cost is almost zero.
We are having the Red Hat Ladies come in for a private class with Monica. They will make hyper-tufa pots. $15 each. 16 ladies in the nursery.Â That's what counts. I think we will start promoting private classes for groups. We are building up our Fall Pleasure Faire this October. We have 15 vendors signed up so far. We are tying it in with our 4th annual scarecrow contest. It's fun and it get's people in the nursery.
See the theme here. We are competing with everything else that a person can spend money on. Do they eat out tonight, or come to the garden center? Do they take that trip or landscape the back yard. Choices that are going to mean survival for a lot of businesses. We had better give them a great reason to come to the nursery. We are working at becoming a community resource. The more people feel a connection the more likely they will be to shop with us. We have to become so valuable to the community they support us with their time, money, and word of mouth.
I believe thatÂ great things come from tough times. It's during times of economic stress that businesses will come up with the ideas that will take us to the next level. There are two choices, innovate and survive, or stagnate. This is the time to dig down and bring to the surface ideas that may have been kept dormant because they seemed to risky. Well now is the time to rethink those ideas and maybe take a chance on some of them. Hate public speaking? Get over it or get someone on staff to do it. Sales are not your department? It's everyone's department, all the time. Offer on site consultations. We have for years but we just started to really promote it. It almost always results in sales at the store.
Speaking of innovating we now haveÂ 59 members of our Linkedin group, "Garden Centers, Nurseries, and New Media."
This group is made up of people who will be leading the way as we head into the future of gardening.Â If you would like to be a part of something innovative you should join. Go here to find out more.