View All: Articles

March 25, 2010
It is no secret that big box retailers have been consolidating their supplier base in the lawn and garden category. Efficiency (cost reduction) and higher profitability are the goals, with much of the work and costs shifted to suppliers (growers)....
March 25, 2010
Gone are the days of growing your favorite crops and expecting them to sell themselves. This applies to both wholesale and retail markets. After all, large wholesale companies such as Coca-Cola do not sell directly to consumers, but they’re very...
March 25, 2010
Relative to the magnitude of historic economic downturns, the so-called Great Recession was not much more severe than the recessions of 1973-1975 and 1981-1982. However, economic recovery from this latest recession has started out much more slowly....
January 19, 2010
Consumers look at food’s packaging to find its calorie, protein, fiber and cholesterol content. Then they weigh that information with the price and decide which products to purchase. Walmart envisions consumers looking at a product’s sustainability...
January 19, 2010
It’s January, and though many people have made resolutions, few will keep them. It takes little effort to make them, but people fail when they lack the focus and drive to carry them through. While they’re bigger and more elaborate than simple...
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...