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Re: Mail Order Nurseries/ plants


Marge, Gene, Kitty, Noreen, all.

Very enjoyable and enlightening discussion. One point I did not see [or maybe overlooked], however, is the impact that competition has on pricing. Recently, the local Wal-Mart put many of the standards [ixoras, dwarf indian hawthorn, hibiscus, et cetera, et cetera] on sale at $5.00 per 3-gallon pot for one of their semi-annual weekend parking lot extravaganzas. Within hours, Home Depot had dropped the price of the same plants to $5.00, a "Manager's Special for This Weekend Only," it said.

At the nursery where I work, we don't monitor competitors' prices, and our plants are often twice the price of the discounters'. But we're not in the business of selling plants. We sell landscapes and plants are part of it but by no means most of it. [Many clients spend more on their cobblestone driveway than on their backyard.]

It would seem to me that if you are a mail-order nursery, you have a double squeeze. First, your advertised price can't be too different from what the other guys in your cohort are asking for the same thing [or nearly the same thing--but if you're growing on from liners, someone else is growing on from the same liners], and second, when shipping costs are piled on plant costs, the resulting price still has to be competitive with a local up-scale nursery.

I'd also like to say something in favor of the discounters. They all seem to get the bulk of their plants from Monrovia or Hines or both. These are good growers of acceptable quality plants. Standard stuff, but nice plants. Many of the locals also get their standard stuff from Monrovia or Hines or both. What you get at the discounters is "fresh" stock--no matter how inattentive staff is, the plants don't usually sit on the bench long enough to be adversely impacted by ignorance or neglect. Volume marketing means what it says, selling a lot of stuff.


Island Jim
Southwest Florida
Zone 10

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