Plant Inventories Are Important But So Is Diversifying
In prior years, the greatest threat to a garden center’s seasonal business was often the weather, which could devastate plant inventories in a single night.
But today’s challenges go beyond Mother Nature and include increased competition from big-box stores, challenges influencing and reaching the younger digital generation, and most recently, struggles to acquire and maintain plant inventories.
Plant inventories are never guaranteed at garden centers as unpredictable weather, insects, and even diseases can be catastrophic to the crops greenhouses and nurseries cultivate and ship across the country. But the increased interest in at-home gardening during the pandemic, which created 18.3 million new gardeners, has translated to grower limitations which are being outpaced by consumer demand.
While some COVID-inspired trends such as Zoom happy hours and baking your own bread at home have started to die down, at-home gardening shows no signs of slowing. A 2022 Gardening Insights Survey found that 62% of overall respondents will be gardening more in the coming year – with 76% of millennials planning to expand their gardening efforts.
For garden centers today, it’s no longer enough to stock popular plant inventories, garden tools, and other garden-related accessories. Alternative products are necessary to help diversify your offerings for today’s more sophisticated and demanding consumers. Here are a few ideas.
Protecting the pollinators, which are necessary for flourishing world agriculture, has gained a great deal of attention over the last decade. As a result, many homeowners are turning to planting pollinator-friendly plants and beekeeping to support the cause. Having a small area devoted to beekeeping supplies not only shows your environmental commitment but provides convenience to those exploring and maintaining this new trend.
Create a Kid’s Section
Creating a kid’s section in your garden center is a two-fold idea. First, children can often get bored as their parents spend what seems like hours wandering around searching for the right plants. Designate an area for kids inside or out where they can play with dirt and flower pots, create an arts and crafts project, or read some fun books geared towards gardening. Second, stock an area of your garden center with gloves, tools, and hats created explicitly for kids in the perfect sizes and colors. Equipment sized for kids helps connect them to gardening at an early age.
With gardening still very popular with millennials, providing continuing education to a demographic known for craving hands-on information is essential. Plant clinics are a great way to help gardeners struggling to keep plants healthy, while custom potting classes can help show the perfect combination of plants and other elements to create an ideal container garden.
Many local growers are always looking to reach customers with their products. Partnering with local farmers and beekeepers allows customers to purchase farm-to-table products while supporting local producers in the process. This also inspires new gardeners as to what’s possible and is the perfect tie-in for garden centers.
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