News flash…The gardening season was a blur. The holiday season was over before we could exhale. With the store emptied and cleaned, it’s now time to change over to the next selling season. This year, without the benefit of a “live” trade show, many retailers worked by moonlight to place their orders for spring 2021 by computer or tablet. It some ways, it might have been a blessing in disguise. Vendor offerings were shown through presentations, literature, and by chat and zoom. You had to go through each vendor line up and spend a bit more time making decisions. Thankfully, the result was many new products were ordered. These new choices are arriving weekly to distributor suppliers. The big question remains…Should I wait until its closer to March to receive these products or should I bring them in now? Read on.
To Stock or Not to Stock
We are creatures of habit when it came to retail store trips for ourselves or our family, especially during the pandemic. We traveled where we felt safe. We traveled where we had a good shopping experience. Consumers will plan to re-visit stores where they “actually” found what they needed. As an independent garden center owner, you will continue to greet the majority of these new gardening customers throughout the winter and into early spring for these reasons. You made your customer feel safe and gave them products they couldn’t find elsewhere. Today, if your store is in stock, you might just sell it even before that traditional spring season arrives. Because of the pandemic, hoarding is a commonly used verb. It happened with many bird seed products, too! Manufacturers are still scrambling to fill supply orders and eventually catch up. With the promise of recovery, doesn’t it make sense to maybe bring products in a bit earlier and not wait? With the future still uncertain, it might be advantageous to begin that store makeover earlier than ever before. Filled shelves and strengthened department looks are encouraging to the consumer no matter what season we are in. The timing couldn’t be better for bringing in new products and new categories.
New Griffin Vendors
If you have seen the recent trade magazines and their surveys, the growth trends of houseplants, cacti, and succulents have never looked back. It might be time for you to bolster this area with new plant selections from Pope Farms or Holtkamp Greenhouses. These two vendors ship while weather permits and can be ordered weekly through Griffin. Look at new small pot vessels, bowls, and glass from Syndicate, Classic Home & Garden, Braun, and even Southern Patio. These are necessary for carrying the plant interest into spring. The activity level at home includes plant care products like misting bottles, watering cans, saucers, and small liquid plant foods. Espoma, Sun Bulb, Jack’s Classic, and Schultz should be stocked and likely sought after by the consumer. Before you know it, the plant deliveries of orchids and African Violet will be at your door. I’m inviting you to look at the 2021 Griffin catalog that will soon be arriving to your store. It’s filled with new products and accessories to meet the new demand.
Another activity that will surely go up as winter progresses is wild bird feeding. No question, families are beginning to find ways to entertain their children while staying indoors. Home office workers and retirees are also looking at this category to enjoy. If you have a window view, might as well enjoy the birds! D& D commodities (Wild Delight) is a new stocking vendor for Griffin. They feature fantastic bird foods of high quality in a great look through package design. Coles Wild Bird food is another high-quality bird food line. If your inventory is low or out, you may want to bring in these lines right now and let the entertainment begin! Supply and demand in the commodity world will be tested by Covid-19 and possibly rising freight costs and potential freight delays. The buzz words for retailing birding products right now are food, water, and protection. Order these products now.
January is here. This past year produced unexpected gains in seed starting products sold in stores. Many retailers totally sold through their seed packets! There’s no better time to replenish not only the seed packs, but everything needed for the homeowner to make your store the “one stop” shop for seed starting. Include misting bottles, peat pots, trays, seed starting soils, pH test kits, labels, gro domes, vinyl saucers, complete start up kits, lighting, work tools, and waterproof gloves. Many of these products were long gone at the beginning of the spring season without replenishment. One more tip…if it’s new, make sure you announce it to your clientele. The consumer “eye” wants the newest and the best you’ve got! Price has not been as much a factor as availability to the consumer. What’s new for winter? Maybe higher retails while the time is right! Best wishes for a safe and Happy New Year!