Some food for thought

Great comment by Sid Raisch concerning my post on "The Romance of the Small, Independent Business." Here is part of what he said, "The real problem here is that the vast majority of independent shops are very poorly run. The opportunity is that these big companies can solve a lot of those problems and provide a retail experience that comes close." Exactly! Nostalgia is like driving by looking in the rear view mirror. It's o.k. to check it out now and then but you need to keep your eyes on the road ahead. I often write about supporting small, independent business. Few people are going to support a poorly run business of any size. Most small business are poorly run. The few that are well run soon have validation in their business practices through rising profits.  The opportunity for small business is to profit from the nostalgia by providing something the customer can not get elsewhere. Better service, products, price, or a combination of the three. People do want to support local business, but those businesses really need to earn that loyalty.

My post on "The Slow Decline of the CANGC" also has some great comments.  I too remember the good days, and camaraderie that was at the local chapter level. I worked for the only man to be the President of the state organization twice, Jack Christensen. We at Christensen's Nursery in Belmont we're required to attend the local meetings. Most of the other nurseries in the Peninsula Chapter also attended. They we're great meetings.

I agree with the comment that growers and retail operations have different agendas. It was nice in the past to get together and foster a sense of common purpose. Now that the nursery industry is splitting into different factions, small vs. box stores. The growers have also split into two groups thus making it more difficult to foster that common purpose. What's a small garden center going to talk about with a supplier like Hines, or Bonnie?

My feeling is much of what was accomplished at the meetings is now accomplished online. Yes, there is not the personal interaction that was at the meetings. There is great value to sitting with fellow business people and discussing things. Never the less I believe the nucleus for a new organization lies in the internet. As different people with different agendas find each other online they will naturally form groups that have common interest. Yes, an organization of smaller retail garden centers is quite possible. The growers who wish to support those business will naturally migrate to that organization. Other allied organizations, i.e. florist, fertilizer companies, professional gardeners, small farmers, etc. may also migrate to these organizations. Take a look at what is happening in the blogosphere. Garden writers, garden bloggers, small garden centers, lawn services, small farmers, etc., are connecting and even meeting up at different locations. The connection starts online and often extends into functions where people meet in flesh. We will see.