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Re: Hosta Ramblings---and milking the AHS membership

Well, Bob Axmear will be glad to know that I finally did it--Dan Nelson got
me going on this one, so I spent the whole afternoon writing a reply only to
find out, after I'd sent it, that I had exceeded Carolyn's limit on number
of lines in a message.  So...I've blown the mask so to speak.  Gotta watch
that verbosity. LOL!!!

So, let me summarize.   Dan, I don't agree.  Price "skimming" is a well
recognized marketing technique as a pricing strategy and is highly
preferable to price penetration, IMO.  With skimming, you make money while
others ramp up to try and provide product and take advantage of what are, by
definition, above average profits.  With penetration, you price products so
low that the competition can't justify even trying to sell into the market.
Mass merchandisers penetrate and annihilate, adding little value to the
distribution channel.  Price skimmers, tend to add lots of value; extensive
education for the consumer, attention to detail in stock mix, above average
quality and service, and generally offer good cause for the consumer to want
to pay at a higher pricing point--they get something they cannot readily
obtain somewhere else.

While it is true that someday, today's $100 Hostas may become $5 Hostas, for
the AHS to encourage mass distribution in any manner seems not only
ludicruous, but contrary to any good marketing strategy that is designed to
support the channel of distribution.  As the product moves out to the
consumer, there must be adequate profit potential for the channel members to
survive.  To do otherwise would force the consumer to drive to the
hybridizer's house or nursery, make their purchase, then go on to the next
hybridizer's pad for another, and on to another, etc.  Not bad if you live
down the street from a few hybridizers, but quite a different problem if you
live across the country.  Somebody has got to collect, grown-on and
distribute the product.  And while we may not want to collect all 2,000
varieties, 50 varieties does not a Hosta nursery make.

There needs to be legitimate profits available to the channel or we could
all be buying $2.97 Hostas at the local discount center or grocery and be
limited to 50 varieties.  They would be unmarked or mislabeled and there
wouldn't be a soul on the premises that could tell you if it was a Hosta,
let alone what KIND of Hosta.  The mass merchandiser is not in the business
of enhancing the enjoyment of the gardening experience for the
consumer--they are in the business to move product quickly, period.

The higher the price of the product, the better it is for everyone.  Who
wants to pay $100 for an unnamed Hosta that you don't know what it is
(unless you can have a chance to register it--that might be different).
Maybe there are some folks, but I know I'm a lot more comfortable "buying
names" than I am buying "no-name" plants.

Andrew Lietzow
The Emerging Hostaholic

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