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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...
January 21, 2009
Has the economy put an end to brand loyalty? Prompted by the ever-rising costs of most consumer products, many Americans are changing their purchasing habits and abandoning name-brand products for the more frugal (lower priced) house and generic...
January 21, 2009
Download the PDF in the LearnMore! box for all charts and figures. During the 1980s, geranium growers began reporting problems with sudden pH decline (SPD) associated with micronutrient toxicities. SPD describes a situation where plants growing at...
January 21, 2009
It has never been more important to select the right employees for your key positions. For a large greenhouse, the head grower is like air, as is the top salesperson. The right general manager can be the difference between success and stress. Surely...
January 21, 2009
Many of you may be familiar with Bob’s Market & Greenhouses, one of the industry’s premier grower-retailers, based in Mason, W.Va. You may know that this business is owned and operated by the Barnitz family and is currently in its second...
January 21, 2009
As we enter the New Year, it’s always kind of fun to make predictions and see how they play out. Last January, I don’t think anyone could have predicted many of the things that happened in 2008. So I won’t make any predictions; instead, I have a few...
November 13, 2008
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” This has never been truer than today. By the time you see this edition of Big Grower, we will have elected a new president. No matter how you voted, win or lose, a new leader will be guiding this...
November 13, 2008
Overall, how was business in 2008? What will your main focus be for 2009? “Our service area covers primarily the western 11 states, and in 2008, sales have been less than expected and down from the previous year. The big question, of course, is was...
November 13, 2008
As the crisis in the financial markets spreads early this fall, some retailers panicked and offered greater discounts than they did at the same time a year ago. The promotions, however, did little to convince wary consumers to open their wallets....
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