Do smaller garden centers have an edge over upscale centers?

Sarah poses an interesting question at Open Register, "How badly does 'upscale' suffer in a tight economy?" She asks, "I wonder…in this economic environment, does the low-key, mom-and-pop garden center have an edge over more polished, upscale garden centers? Do low-cost perceptions influence where consumers buy plants? What are you seeing in your part of the world?" I think it depends on the operation. A poorly run Mom and Pop operation will suffer despite being a small Mom and Pop. A Mom and Pop operation that responds to the community, and is run properly does have a foot up in this economic climate.  That's why I couldn't for the life of me understand why Smith and Hawken would be pushing outdoor televisions at this time. A huge disconnect.

I have been promoting the small garden center for years. My goal is to stay small, and become indispensable to my customer base.  If you want a great selection of organics fertilizers and pesticides, as well as the knowledge to help you do it right the first time, we are it. Sure you can drive over twenty five minutes away for an equivelent selection, but why when we are right here? Plant prices are competitive, and gas prices are rising. Shop local.

Yes, I believe that a small, well run garden center has a foot up in this new world. The buy local, going organic, grow it ourselves, safe food movement is just what the smaller garden center has been waiting for.