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May 28, 2009
Use Packaging to Increase Unit and Dollar Sales If you subscribe to the Costco theory of packaging, having a larger unit package size (and larger unit price) should result in greater sales in both units and dollars. But some recent information now...
May 28, 2009
At this time a year ago, we were heading into the summer months with record-high gasoline prices inching toward $4/gallon, electrical costs spiraling upward and the promise of record-high costs for natural gas and fuel oil in the fall and winter....
May 28, 2009
I borrowed the title of this month’s column from Capital One. If you’ve seen their commercials, the tagline conveys to potential customers that Capital One’s credit card services offer greater security and fraud protection than competing products in...
May 28, 2009
In the past several months, I’ve been inundated with calls about my outlook on 2009. There are varying degrees of optimism, pessimism and panic. Without a doubt, the economy’s short-term ups and downs will have a significant impact on consumer...
May 28, 2009
Growers of all sizes face a myriad of challenges in today’s economy, but big growers are facing some really big challenges. That’s why we created the Big Grower Executive Summit: to help big growers overcome those challenges and be more successful....
May 28, 2009
As the largest single-site greenhouse in the United States, the story of Metrolina Greenhouses is often summed up in staggering numbers: $125 million in sales, 500 acres of land, 136 acres of heated greenhouses (14 more acres in construction), 3.5...
May 28, 2009
In late April, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its annual floriculture crops survey. According to the “Floriculture Crops 2008 Summary,” the wholesale value of floriculture crops dropped 2 percent compared to 2007 sales....
March 05, 2009
I’m not sure about you, but I’m ready to get spring 2009 under way. Enough of the bad news; enough of the guessing about what will happen. At the beginning of each spring season, I’m refreshed, rejuvenated and excited to see the racks loaded, carts...
March 05, 2009
Energy-Producing Crop Seed Sales Begin The first seed sales of non-food, low-carbon crops developed specifically as raw material for biofuels and biopower have been launched. Ceres, Inc. recently started taking orders for switchgrass and high-...
March 05, 2009
Grocery chains Stop & Shop and Giant Food, owned by Royal Ahold NV, are launching new product labeling systems designed to help customers identify their stores’ healthiest offerings. The “Healthy Ideas” system will distinguish more than 3,000...
March 05, 2009
Hurricane Ike, the third most damaging hurricane ever to make landfall in the United States, really took its toll on the Southern U.S. in early September 2008. According to an article by Forbes.com’s Mike Schaffner, conversation at holiday parties...
March 05, 2009
As the economy worsens, retailers tap statistical models relying more on targeted ads and promotions than a shotgun approach to the general consumer. It’s an adage of business marketing: Persuading a satisfied consumer to return and purchase is...
March 05, 2009
The big question I’ve been asked in the past couple of months: “Will 2009 bring a U.S. economic recovery?” My answer: Yes, assuming no more unpleasant surprises are lurking. Most economists, myself included, think the recovery will start in the...
March 05, 2009
If you tried to find Wolfgang Engelmann at January’s Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE) in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., you had to be quick. The president and chief operating officer of Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses in Apopka, Fla., was a man in...
March 05, 2009
It’s March, and spring will officially arrive later this month, a cure for those winter blues. Hallelujah! Winter was a bitter pill for a lot of people to swallow this year, with huge amounts of snow and ice blanketing different regions. Many people...
January 21, 2009
Through the past several months of economic strife and as we plan and prepare for Spring 2009 and beyond, we have seen the term “conservative optimism” arise. At first, I thought it was a pretty good attitude to adopt. But the more I thought about...
January 21, 2009
Are fair-trade products really more environmentally friendly? People are always equating the two concepts, but they are not always related. How can you be confident that a fair-trade item is also green? The recent rise of the “ethical” consumer hasn...
January 21, 2009
The 2008 election is now history. The 111th Congress, featuring substantially expanded Democratic majorities in both houses, is now seated. And depending on when you receive this issue, President George W. Bush may already have stepped aside for...
January 21, 2009
Although long employed by many manufacturing and customer-service businesses, outsourcing is just now arriving on the scene in the horticultural industry. So what is it, how does it work and what are the potential benefits? Simply put, outsourcing...
January 21, 2009
During economic booms, consumers’ definitions sometimes become clouded. “I want” is quickly replaced by “I need.” Rolex replaces Timex, and Cadillac trumps Chevy, according to Peak Newsroom, a business news blog. A sinking economy, shrinking...