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"Future of many independent retail garden centers is an economic improbability"

The Association of Horticulture Professionals hosted the first-ever New Vision Forum, which included garden center owners from the U.S. and Canada. Retail consultants John Stanley and Sid Raisch facilitated the event. “The future of many independent retail garden centers is an economic improbability,” stated Raisch. “This is a challenge and an opportunity. We can do better as an industry, and New Vision Forum provided in-depth exploration of our business model, which in reality is not one business model but a mixture of many,” said Raisch.

Attendee sentiments confirmed that the event struck a nerve and turned on a light to the future of IGCs, as noted by Francine Landa of Boulevard Flower Gardens in Colonial Heights, Virginia. “New Vision was truly that. It included speakers with knowledge and experience to lay out the past facts, the present situation, and the crystal ball into the future. I left with a confidence of how to move our company forward.”

Through OFA, Raisch and Stanley provided this unique opportunity for North American retailers to further develop their business and set a new direction for the industry. Delegates were challenged to not only understand the consumer, but also the developing hyper-competitive “bricks to clicks” nature of worldwide retail in which a company integrates both an offline and online presence. Participants were provided the opportunity to apply the challenges to their individual business models to focus plans on not just survival as the last man standing in the garden center business, but on mastering the possibilities presented in a new economy.

“Fairly quickly into the session I started finding key points and ‘ah-hah’ takeaways,” said Art Vanden Enden from Sheridan Nurseries in Georgetown, Ontario. Another delegate, Steve Mostardi from Mostardi Nursery in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, said, “The presentation provided unique information in a concise format, along with developing practical strategies for implementing changes to improve our success.”

Stanley and Raisch, two leading industry consultants, joined forces for the first time at the two-day New Vision Forum to share global ideas and national developments to help independent retailers respond to the future. The event was hosted by OFA in Nashville, Tennessee just prior to the ANLA and OFA Next Level conference.

According to Stanley, the New Vision Forum was, “not a series of lectures by two consultants. Instead, the aim was to bring forward ideas, then allow the group to debate them and come up with new strategies for their business and the industry.” Attendees left with renewed focus and sense of urgency to not just prepare for the future, but to create the one of their own definition.

OFA intends to offer to retailers a New Vision Forum experience later this year. Retailers that want to participate in the future should visit the event website at For questions about the conference and to receive an invitation to future offerings, contact Sid Raisch at Sid@AdvantageDevelopmentSystem or call at 888-339-7456.


Publication date: 3/8/2013



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