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Re: new hosta at Walmart

  • Subject: Re: new hosta at Walmart
  • From: "Andrew Lietzow" <andrewl@hostahaven.com>
  • Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2001 07:41:35 -0500

Hi Ran,
I believe that part of the problem is the huge influx of product from overseas.  With cheap labor available in China, Walmart can source product from US TC propagators that actually orginated in China.  Purchasing 500 or 1000 Stage III plants at a time, or 10,000, leads to the need to grow these explants on to Stage IV and then to unload them.  The biggest growers and TC propagators can do this.  Then, when the place is overrunning with inventory, an outfit like Walmart can get the upperhand because the propagator knows they can't sit on stock forever--it needs to be turned out into the channel.   They'll settle for making just a few cents on hundreds or thousands of plants because of the incremental sales that would otherwise be lost. 
So we see what should be good, saleable stock being dumped on the market at dirt cheap prices--kind of like the sale of computer memory chips.  Specialty growers get forced out of business by the Chinese and big US business concerns.  The consumer sees it as a good deal but the dedicated specialty growers lose sales which they needed in order to provide the quality, service and value that customers have come to expect from a specialized nursery.   And when they run into difficulty with their plants, who do they come see? 
The ones that really amaze me are the ones that come to spend an hour at your place, wanting to get your help in identifying their plants which they have no clue as to origin, asking you a zillion questions about growing, light, soil, etc. and then after an hour or so, walk away buying nothing.  I've only fell into that trap a couple of times but I'm getting quicker at recognizing the type.    I'd like to send them back to Walmart, where they bought the plants and have them get their answer from them.  But, instead, I try to win them over and get them seriously interested in the genus, encouraging them to join the local Hosta society, etc.  Fortunately, 99% of my customers understand and I have to forgive them when they snarf up the sensational loss leader at Walmart.  Shoot, if they're nice plants, I might just go down and buy a few myself--while they're still alive... 
Hosta la Vista!
Andrew Lietzow
#1 Plantsman at http://HostaHaven.com
1250 41st Street
Des Moines, IA 50311-2516

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