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March 20, 2013
While most of my business advice pertains to what you do or think about during the workday, sometimes a better question to ask is: “What is keeping you up at night?” Or, more accurately, what wakes you up at night and makes it tough to go back to...
March 20, 2013
What began as a landscape construction company in 1973 has since bloomed into 80 acres of growing space known as Van Belle Nursery. Founders Bill and Grace Van Belle have since passed the business down to their son, Dave Van Belle, although they are...
January 14, 2013
As we approached the end of 2012, it seemed that every article, newsletter and magazine was filled with either trends or resolutions that we need to be aware of and will make us all extremely successful in 2013. I must also admit that I really enjoy...
January 14, 2013
I’ve been asked quite frequently over the past several months about how the economy was going to affect the election. But to me, the corollary question is more interesting. How will the economy react to the election?That’s a tough question to answer...
January 14, 2013
As we slowly see the economy turn around, or as you tire of being hunkered down, growing your business should be a priority for you. It has been said that if a business is not growing, it is dying. Over the past five years, growth has not been a...
January 14, 2013
Central Florida is known as the “Tropical Foliage Capital of the World.” Just drive up Highway 441 from Orlando and travel through towns like Apopka, Mt. Dora and Zellwood and you can’t miss seeing greenhouses of all shapes and sizes growing all...
November 13, 2012
Welby Gardens — now in its 64th year of business — has become a venerable one-stop shop for its various customers. But it hasn’t always been that way. What began in 1948 as a small produce farm of 1,500 square feet has grown to be a 23-acre...
November 13, 2012
While I am not a soldier, and have therefore never been in combat, I often use images and metaphors as a tool to make sense out of things, and “battle” and “war” often seem to relate to business. I asked a friend of mine who is in another industry...
November 13, 2012
As a frequent traveler, I am always amazed at the sundry of experiences that air travel offers. I see examples of incredibly poor service and I see examples of outstanding service; the former more so than the latter, unfortunately. I have found that...
November 13, 2012
In a few short weeks 2012 will be in the books and if you are like me you will step back and ask yourself questions like “what happened to this year” or “where did the time go?” You might even make a statement like “I did not get near as much...
September 14, 2012
In business and in life, we plan. We plan based on what we want to accomplish. These plans take into account where we are today and what we think we can do.  For these plans to be meaningful, we must also look at history. This history addresses...
September 14, 2012
This year’s OFA Short Course (July 14 to 17, in Columbus, Ohio) was phenomenal.  As I have said before, it’s one of the few meetings where I learn every bit as much (or even more) as I am hopefully imparting on others. That is the beauty of...
September 14, 2012
By the time you see this article, Fall 2012 will be in full swing — hopefully a little cooler weather, more normal rainfall, football games and strong autumn sales for both growers and retailers.  Fall is also a great time to step back and take...
Ivy Acres
September 14, 2012
Out on Long Island, in the small town of Baiting Hollow, Ivy Acres has been growing plants for nearly half a century. But for the past couple of years, the company has really set its sights on growing itself, too. Big Grower recently sat down with...
September 10, 2012
Did you have a stellar student participate in your internship program this year? Do you know an outstanding student that participated in an internship program at another company?If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, we want to meet...
August 09, 2012
After attending OFA Short Course last month, I am extremely happy to report that the future of the horticulture industry is in good hands. While we were in Columbus, we had the opportunity to introduce our 40 Under 40 honorees in person to the rest...
July 09, 2012
Whether poinsettias are pinched by hand or are mechanically sheared, considerable effort and expense goes into the pinching process. Today’s poinsettia varieties all branch better than older varieties, but none would be described as “free branching...
July 05, 2012
Before you turn the page and ignore this column take a couple of seconds to consider the following questions:  Where would your business be today if you did not have soilless mixes to use for growing purposes? Or better yet, you did not have...
July 05, 2012
One of my favorite meetings each year to attend (and speak at) is the Big Grower Executive Summit (BGES) and this year’s meeting in San Diego was no exception.  Besides the critical information provided by the noted speakers, the information...
July 05, 2012
These are very interesting and challenging times. Interesting in that the rules of the game in business have changed. Interesting in that growers are being forced to look at new opportunities and learn new skills to both survive and thrive. ...