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,"
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.
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