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First Stops for 2015 GCA Summer Tour Announced, Registration Open!

This year's tour-goers will enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at the top IGC retailers in Milwaukee, a central hub of some of the highest quality in retail gardening.


Many of the Tour Stops are still being confirmed, however, we are excited to introduce the first of the 2015 stops. More stops will be announced in the coming weeks.

Ebert’s Greenhouse Village, Ixonia, WI
What started as a small vegetable farm in 1976 grew into a retail business 14 years later. Now, Ebert’s Greenhouse Village, the pride of second-generation owners and brothers Ron and Mark Ebert, is a thriving destination garden center, serving a loyal customer base in its local market and drawing visitors from Madison and Milwaukee. This fast-track business, registering $3 million in single-store sales annually, continues to expand to meet demand, as the average sale trends upward 6 percent.


Caan Floral & Greenhouses, Sheboygan, WI Voted “Best Garden Center” and “Best Florist” by The Sheboygan Press reader poll for eight straight years, Caan Floral & Greenhouses continues to win new customers with its extensive product offerings and top-notch service. Kris Shepard, former co-owner and president of Alsip Home & Nursery in Indiana and GCA Leadership Council Member, bought the business two years ago. Under his leadership, the store is registering increases - the average sale is up 12 percent, and customer counts are up 5 percent. The store registered $3.4 million in sales over the past year.


K&W Greenery, Janesville, WI
Never ones to sit back and coast on their successes, Bill and Phyliss Williams, Owners of K&W Greenery, have a constant eye on growing their 43-years-strong garden center business.  Customer counts are up 6 percent at the store, which sees sales of $3.8 million annually. And their eye is on even more customer traffic this spring, thanks to the digital sign flashing color images of glorious gardens at the side of the highway as people drive by. When it comes time for their weekend projects, those images - and K&W’s name - will come to mind.
 
K&W is also making some changes to attract younger shoppers and add a fresh look to the store. In the gift shop, there is less clutter and more open space - moving away from a traditional knick-knack assortment to more of a clean-line Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn look. New loft-style flooring in the gift shop incorporates variations of red and textures for a contemporary look. The store’s updated foyer sign is a sleek design of wood and brushed aluminum lettering.

Tour-goers will also be able to take advantage of the area’s many dining and entertainment opportunities, including the Milwaukee RiverWalk, a 2-mile excursion that winds along the river with access to some of the city's best restaurants, brewpubs, shops and waterfront nightlife.

Registration is now open!


IGC East Announces Baltimore Convention Center As Its 2015 Location, August 4-6


IGC East has just secured space at the Baltimore Convention Center and will convene at the widely popular venue August 4-6, 2015, as IGC Chicago returns to Navy Pier August 18-20, 2015. Both shows will offer all the features and benefits the industry has come to expect, including many thousands of new products, free inspiring keynotes and headliner concerts, plus scores of spot-on conference sessions and networking opportunities.

“Baltimore Convention Center is a venue that is comfortably familiar and prized by our industry - it’s home to the popular MANTS show in January, and the former home of the once-mighty, now-defunct Commerce Show,” says IGC Show Founder Jeff Morey. “While IGC East is certainly not a distributor show, our intention is to fill the void that’s existed since the Commerce Show left the scene in the East. Now, we’re excited to serve garden center buyers in the region, bringing the IGC Show’s signature all-category trade show, fully rounded educational conference, networking and one-of-a-kind fun and entertainment.”

IGC East’s location in Baltimore next summer offers world-class dining, shopping and entertainment along Inner Harbor, the city’s seaport destination rich in history and redeveloped into a premier tourist attraction. “Not only is the Baltimore Convention Center one of the most strikingly unique architectural centers in the United States, Inner Harbor in summertime is absolutely incredible,” Morey says. “During after-show hours, we’re looking forward to seeing IGC show-goers along the waterfront, enjoying the many attractions Inner Harbor has to offer.”

More details about IGC East and IGC Chicago, including next summer’s spotlight keynotes and concerts at both events, will be announced soon. For more information about the IGC Show, visit www.IGCshow.com.

UPCOMING EVENTS

June 21, 2015 • Milwaukee, WI
August 04, 2015 • Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, MD
August 18, 2015 • Navy Pier, Chicago, IL


GCA MEMBER PROFILE:

Christie Gescheider, Co-owner Moana Nursery, Reno, NV
'Grow Your Own' Outreach Gets Millennial Families Excited About Gardening

With more than 280 acres of growing operations in Oregon, three retail stores and a unique partnership with Dr. Earth products, Moana Nursery provides everything needed to make the residents of Northern Nevada successful gardeners, especially in the area of organic fruits and veggies.

"Edibles are really huge for us, and we've been on the forefront in organics for years," says Christie Gescheider, who owns the garden center with her husband, Bruce. Now, they are using the demand for organic edibles to spread the word about gardening to young families.
       
They've found a meaningful way to promote "grow your own" organics to children through donations to community gardens and schools. We've partnered with Dr. Earth, which has a great line of organic products. We're one of the few retailers to carry every product the company has," Christie says. "We promote their products, and they help us out with donations of soil to these projects. We donate the seeds and garden plants.

"We've also been working with the Northern Nevada Food Bank, which shows other like-minded non-profit organizations how they can help their people build raised bed gardens out of repurposed pallets. We sent them all of the product to do two raised beds - Dr. Earth soil, vegetable seeds and plant starts."


To get young families of the Millennial generation into the craze, Moana also shares information about edible gardening on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. "While we were on the GCA Summer Tour in San Francisco, we spoke with another GCA member about their social media strategies," Christie says. "Then, when we returned, we spoke to our ad agency about coming up with new ideas for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram." Customers post pictures of their thriving edible gardens on Moana's Facebook page. "We've gotten photos of their harvests with a tagline that says, 'Thank you, Dr. Earth!'"

Moana also educates customers about organic edible gardening by hosting seminars and featuring information in its monthly newsletter. "We have some very passionate teammates who are involved in organic edible gardening at their own homes," Christie says. "When you can speak from firsthand experience, it makes a huge difference."

Keeping It Interesting

Since Moana grows its own, customers are assured the retailer's trees and shrubs will survive the local Nevada climate and growing conditions.

"We've got some great tree and shrub merchandising ideas from the GCA Summer Tour," Christie says. "In particular, we saw them made into a focal point - more of a specialty item. One of the best examples was at High Hand Nursery, in its Japanese maple section. Making them look special changes the perceived value."

Moana's retail stores, two in Reno and one in Sparks, sell a variety of hardgoods, green goods and garden supplies, and feature a Wild Birds Unlimited store-within-a-store. Multiple departments help ensure every need is satisfied: landscape and design, lawn maintenance, delivery and installation, holiday lighting, florist and retail.

"We're a pretty complicated business," jokes Christie at the extensiveness of Moana's offerings. "We've got a lot going on here. And that makes it interesting."

Click here to read more Member Profiles.



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