The Retail and Greenhouse chapters of the Oregon Association of Nurseries held a joint meeting last night to talk about current retail trends, and the relationship between growers and garden centers. And as seen in the above photo, the turnout was huge. People filled a large greenhouse at Little Prince of Oregon Nursery just south of Wilsonville to enjoy a barbecue dinner and hear from a distinguished panel of retailers.
Those on the panel included (left to right) Crystal Cady of Garland Nursery, Dan Estacio of Terra Gardens Nursery & Bark, Laura Altvater of Portland Nursery, Shirley Osuna of Gray’s Garden Centers and Lynn Snodgrass of Drake’s 7 Dees Nursery. The moderator (standing) was John Aguirre, executive director of the Oregon Association of Nurseries. Also on the panel (below) was Brian Tsugawa of Tsugawa Nursery.
The panel’s consensus was that the nursery business can be successful in 2009, but it will take strong relationships between partners in the industry, and a rigorous level of plant quality, which is king. Those out to make a quick buck and sell “something” to a retailer will fail; those who are honest and work to build a long-term relationship will be successful. One retailer said she has plenty of suppliers who do a great job already, so if she is going to add a new one, they had better be doing something different or distinctive. Perspectives on branding programs were mixed, with some retailers saying they see value in them, and others saying they’ve seen brands that independent garden centers helped build being sold, despite earlier promises of exclusivity, to the big box stores.