IGC East Is Just Around
The Corner, August 5-7, 2014
IGC East, held August 5-7, 2014, at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, MD, is set to launch! You still have time to preregister and win a chance for a $5,000 trip to anywhere. There are so many more reasons to attend IGC East than just a chance to win. Take a look at all there is to experience!
IGC Dedicated To You
IGC East (and IGC Chicago) are unlike any show you've been to. Why? Because everything at IGC is soley dedicated to you, the independent garden center. Every single product or service offered on the show floor is something for your shelves or store. Every vendor sells to garden centers, not growers or landscapers.
The IGC Retail Conference has 5 tracks and 30 sessions dedicated entirely to IGC retailing, making it the most comprehensive educational conference for garden centers.
With fabulous keynotes, Willie Degel from Restaurant Stakeout speaking on Willie's Secrets To Stellar Customer Service, the ever-popular Corey Bordine speaking on Here's How Your Customers Really See Your Business and the ever-entertaining Peter Shankman on The New Rules Of Social Media, all free.
There are also a few seats still available on the Monday IGC East Bus Tour. These bus tours are always well-attended, educational and fun for all!
Let's not forget the famous Concert and Party! IGC East brings you Don Felder of the Eagles. Former Eagles Lead Guitarist & Co-Songwriter Don will perform songs like "Hotel California," "Life In The Fast Lane," "One of These Nights," "New Kid In Town." Grab a beer and a snack, have a seat, and get ready to enjoy!
If you can't make IGC East, or prefer to go to IGC Chicago you can register by clicking here.
Meadows Farms Builds a Name on
‘Best Plants, Best Price’
Since the company’s start more than 50 years ago, Meadows Farms Nurseries’ No. 1 focus has been to stand out. President Jay Meadows points to one key that helps them in this mission: “We’re different from other garden centers in that we’re price-conscious,” he says. Customers consistently find “the best plants and the best price” at the retailer’s 22 locations in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland, he says. In fact, the stores’ low-price guarantee assures it.
“The bulk of our advertising dollars are spent on direct-mail flyers, where we list products with percentages off. It’s about shouting ‘percent off,’” Jay says. “We’ve got confidence in the prices we’re putting out there.”
To help further distinguish the Meadows Farms brand, Jay, son of founder Bill Meadows, keeps a close eye on what other garden centers are doing during the GCA Summer Tours. “It’s a great opportunity to really talk to other garden center owners - to see what they’re doing and benchmark it against what we’re doing,” Jay says.
Another way Meadows Farms makes its name is in the efficiency of the shopping experience at its stores. “We provide good informational signage, where the customer can read about the product without having to track down a salesperson,” says Jay. Quick checkouts are also essential: “Customers must be able to get in and out fast.”
Through the years, Meadows Farms has built its reputation on friendly, polite employees and a great delivery service. “It’s important that customers feel appreciated for spending their money with us,” Jay says. “We want them to know we appreciate them. We thank them at least four times when they’re in our stores.”
Upward Trend In Landscape Design
Starting from Bill’s idea five decades ago to sell produce door-to-door, Meadows Farms has grown beyond its garden center roots. Today, the company’s landscaping division accounts for one-third of its business; the garden center and nursery generate the remaining two-thirds. “More and more people want us to do the landscaping for them,” says Jay, who predicts an upward trend for landscape services. The landscaping division is expected to show even more growth than the retail division this season, he says.
The garden center and nursery may be growing in number of retail and landscaping service sales, but Jay’s mind is far from expanding with more stores. It’s been four years since Meadows Farms opened a new location. Jay says, “I think focusing for the next five years on growth at the 22 locations we have now, with a little less aggressiveness on opening up new locations, will be the company’s direction.”
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