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September 13, 2010
GPN magazine recently invited me to be a panelist at a presentation about the state of the industry during this year’s OFA Short Course. Prior to the show, GPN and OFA — and Association of Horticulture Professionals — sent a survey out to growers...
September 13, 2010
A fairly widespread national economic recovery has been under way for almost a year. The pace of growth was strongest in the fourth quarter of 2009, which helped achieve a growth rate of almost 4 percent in the second half of last year. However, the...
September 13, 2010
The wholesale value of U.S. floriculture products decreased 4 percent from 2006 to 2009. While the decrease is not good, some may feel surprised the loss hasn’t been more dramatic. Most are probably now convinced that we are not a recession-proof...
September 13, 2010
Susie Raker-Zimmerman is not Gerry Raker’s daughter. She is his niece. Her father, Dave (who recently retired from C. Raker & Sons), is Gerry’s brother. But one of these days, Raker-Zimmerman jokes, she is going to get herself a T-shirt that...
June 14, 2010
We have worked and sacrificed to get to the top of the mountain. Let’s not forget that getting down often claims more victims. I recently read Into Thin Air, which is about an ill-fated expedition to climb Mount Everest. I was fascinated by the...
June 14, 2010
When spring started, the air was filled with anticipation of the pent-up consumer demand that was about to be unleashed. Two-thirds of growers responding to industry surveys indicated that business was “OK” or better (16 percent said it was good or...
June 14, 2010
In spite of the economic downturn, Wisconsin-based Plant Marketing continues to grow in more ways than one. As you drive through the rolling hills of west central Wisconsin, one of the last sights you might expect to see is 33 shiny new greenhouses...
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...
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