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IGC Chicago Is Just Around
The Corner, August 19-21

IGC Chicago, held August 19-21, 2014, at Navy Pier, Chicago, IL, is now in its eighth year, and you still have time to preregister! There are so many reasons to attend IGC Chicago. Take a look at all there is to experience!

IGC Dedicated To You

IGC Chicago are unlike any show you've been to. Why? Because everything at IGC is soley dedicated to you, the independent garden center. Every single product or service offered on the show floor is something for your shelves or store. Every vendor sells to garden centers, not growers or landscapers.

The IGC Retail Conference has 5 tracks and 30 sessions dedicated entirely to IGC retailing, making it the most comprehensive educational conference for garden centers.

With fabulous keynotes, Martha Stewart, Lifestyle Mogul in an interview with IGC co-founder Jeff Morey on Independents Bring So Many Good Things To Gardening, the ever-popular Corey Bordine speaking on Here's How Your Customers Really See Your Business and Henry Hutcheson, Family Business Expert speaking on Family Business Silver Bullets: Secret Weapons In The Fight For Your Garden Center's Success, all free.

There are also a few seats still available on the Monday IGC Chicago Bus Tour. These bus tours are always well-attended, educational and fun for all!

Let's not forget IGC's famous Concert and Party! This year, IGC Chicago brings you Eddie Money, Classic Rock Hitmaker. Eddie will perform songs from his lineup of memorable hits that put him at the top of the charts in the late ’70s and ’80s with songs like “Two Tickets to Paradise,” “Baby Hold On,” “Think I’m in Love,” “Shakin,” “Take Me Home Tonight,” “I Wanna Go Back” and more. Grab a beer and a snack, have a seat, and get ready to enjoy!


2014 GCA Best Bathroom Award Winners to Be Announced @ GCA Networking Lunch During
IGC Chicago

Winners of the fourth annual GCA Best Bathroom Awards are set to be announced in Chicago during the GCA Member Networking Lunch, Thursday, August 21, 2014 at IGC Chicago.

Cleanliness of restrooms is one of the major factors in a woman's decision of which store she shops. We all know our industry has quite a range in customer bathrooms, from port-a-potties to ultra chic. Thus, four years ago GCA's Board of Directors thought it apropos to launch an annual awards program to encourage IGCs to step it up when it comes to their bathrooms.

This year eight IGCs will be presented with GCA Best Bathroom Awards:

1 gold winner
4 silver winners
3 merit winners

Stay tuned for the official announcement.


Jay Meadows, President Meadows Farms Nurseries, Chantilly, VA
Meadows Farms Builds a Name on
‘Best Plants, Best Price’

Since the company’s start more than 50 years ago, Meadows Farms Nurseries’ No. 1 focus has been to stand out. President Jay Meadows points to one key that helps them in this mission: “We’re different from other garden centers in that we’re price-conscious,” he says. Customers consistently find “the best plants and the best price” at the retailer’s 22 locations in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland, he says. In fact, the stores’ low-price guarantee assures it.

“The bulk of our advertising dollars are spent on direct-mail flyers, where we list products with percentages off. It’s about shouting ‘percent off,’” Jay says. “We’ve got confidence in the prices we’re putting out there.”

To help further distinguish the Meadows Farms brand, Jay, son of founder Bill Meadows, keeps a close eye on what other garden centers are doing during the GCA Summer Tours. “It’s a great opportunity to really talk to other garden center owners - to see what they’re doing and benchmark it against what we’re doing,” Jay says.

Another way Meadows Farms makes its name is in the efficiency of the shopping experience at its stores. “We provide good informational signage, where the customer can read about the product without having to track down a salesperson,” says Jay. Quick checkouts are also essential: “Customers must be able to get in and out fast.”

Through the years, Meadows Farms has built its reputation on friendly, polite employees and a great delivery service. “It’s important that customers feel appreciated for spending their money with us,” Jay says. “We want them to know we appreciate them. We thank them at least four times when they’re in our stores.”

Upward Trend In Landscape Design

Starting from Bill’s idea five decades ago to sell produce door-to-door, Meadows Farms has grown beyond its garden center roots. Today, the company’s landscaping division accounts for one-third of its business; the garden center and nursery generate the remaining two-thirds. “More and more people want us to do the landscaping for them,” says Jay, who predicts an upward trend for landscape services. The landscaping division is expected to show even more growth than the retail division this season, he says.

The garden center and nursery may be growing in number of retail and landscaping service sales, but Jay’s mind is far from expanding with more stores. It’s been four years since Meadows Farms opened a new location. Jay says, “I think focusing for the next five years on growth at the 22 locations we have now, with a little less aggressiveness on opening up new locations, will be the company’s direction.”

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Garden Centers of America
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