View All: Articles

January 19, 2010
In my November 2009 column, I wrote that housing is a critical component of the economic recovery now in progress. So far, the housing side of the recovery can be described as three steps forward, two steps back. The latest housing-starts figures...
January 19, 2010
The time to start long-term planning for your family business is as soon as you believe that your family business will be around for the long term. Maybe you haven’t even let yourself think about it: “I’m too young to think about succession!” or “I’...
January 19, 2010
If you asked a grower whether they’d added more than 1,000 customers to their books in the past three years in this struggling economy, it’s doubtful you’d find many that could say they had. Jim and Jonathan Berry can. J. Berry Nursery in Grand...
January 19, 2010
In the November 2009 issue of Big Grower, regular contributor Dr. Charlie Hall at Texas A&M University wrote about how critical the housing market is to the overall recovery of the economy. Boy, is it ever. As 2009 came to a close, USA Today was...
January 07, 2010
“Leadership in the Recovery: What’s Next?” is the theme for the 2010 Big Grower Executive Summit scheduled to meet Feb. 21 to 23, 2010, at the Embassy Suites – Tampa/Brandon, Fla. The Executive Summit is produced by GPN/Big Grower and the Visions...
October 23, 2009
Innovation: Ask 20 people what it means, and you will get 20 different answers. But it usually comes down to viewing a need or problem a little bit differently than everyone else — and having the guts to act on a solution. Many times, that solution...
October 23, 2009
Wal-Mart recently announced it would develop a sustainable product index for consumer goods worldwide. It’s an ambitious and bold effort to reduce energy consumption, cut waste and introduce sustainable products with a rating that can be easily...
October 23, 2009
At present, we all realize that products that qualify as “green” are usually priced at a premium compared to “non-green” products. Logic would suggest that these higher-priced, eco-friendly products are most appealing to higher income consumers, but...
October 23, 2009
For some time now, the housing market has been showing signs of stabilization. Not a robust recovery but an end to the “cliff diving” we saw in 2007 and 2008. This phase will be marked by ongoing price declines in many locales, albeit more gradual...
October 23, 2009
To be an innovator in this industry does not mean constantly “reinventing the wheel.” Rather, today’s innovators are forward thinkers who set the established wheels in motion and change the vehicle’s trajectory — they know what needs to be done to...
October 23, 2009
Last month I read an interview with The Home Depot’s chief financial officer, Carol Tome, on Fortune magazine’s website. Tome has been with the company for 14 years and has been CFO since 2001. She is the only senior manager who has worked for all...
August 28, 2009
As the recession really took hold, I thought retail sales in spring 2009 would be much more negative. But based on numerous discussions, industry articles and blogs, these categories seemed to enjoy a healthy spring. We could end the story there and...
August 28, 2009
New GMA Corn Not for the Food Chain Since their inception, genetically modified crops were targeted toward farmers producing the world’s food supply. Soybeans that can be sprayed with herbicides, corn that resists insects and fungi, and grains that...
August 28, 2009
Targeting Consumers at the Point of Purchase Everyone agrees that, in a tough economy, getting potential customers to step into a store is half the battle. Once they’re in the door, nudging them to complete a purchase, particularly of the products...
August 28, 2009
This might seem preposterous, but some economists say it’s highly possible that the recession  — which began in December 2007 — ended months ago. The “end” of a recession typically refers to the month when declines in economic growth...
August 28, 2009
Experience continues to confirm the energy-saving benefits of cold growing. Syngenta Flowers’ research reveals more specific results and how this technique could be viable for your operation. In recent years, growing poinsettias at cooler...
August 28, 2009
We are now a year into the credit crisis. Many lending institutions that were good partners in the past are now more focused on preserving and building their capital. Maintaining and building capital is what banks are all about. They loan liquidity...
August 28, 2009
In today’s economy, growers of all shapes and sizes are constantly looking for ways to improve all of their operational efficiencies and get the most out of their business. For big growers, that can be quite a challenge. But at Sawyer Nursery in...
August 28, 2009
Last year, as the economy began to head south, the industry buzz about sustainability quieted down considerably. Many growers turned their attention to nothing but dollars and cents and kind of back-burnered their sustainability initiatives. It’s...
May 28, 2009
There is a saying that “all politics is local”: in essence, that national affairs may be interesting, somewhat influential and worthy of being monitored, but ultimately, success for elected officials is about what gets done close to home. As spring...