August 2023 - 20

Country Garden
Hyannis, Massachusetts
Year founded:
The family business started in 1965 and is now in the
hands of the third generation. Resident Plant Geek C.L.
Fornari, although not family, has worked in the business for
nearly three decades and spearheads Hyannis' education.
When you went into lockdown in March 2020,
how did you quickly begin virtual programming?
As those in this business know well, most of our profit is
made in the spring. When the pandemic hit, we didn't know
if we'd be allowed to stay open or if people would continue
to want plants. I decided to do a weekly Horticultural Happy
Hour on Fridays at 5 p.m. as a way to focus on the lifeaffirming
topics of plants and gardens, and to keep people
interested in horticulture. After the first happy hour, I had
to increase the size of my Zoom plan because nearly 300
people wanted to be on the call! I typically had over 200
every Friday, and to this day, people come up to me and say,
" Your happy hours got me through COVID. "
As the pandemic began to fade, I realized that there were
many advantages to continuing virtual programming. We
don't have to clear an area for an audience, keep extra staff
on after-hours, or worry about where 150-plus people are
going to park. Additionally, in the garden center, we have
no large space that can be made dark enough to show
slides, but with a virtual class that isn't a problem. My
Zoom classes are appealing to those who don't want to
drive after dark or in winter weather, and for parents who
don't have to find a babysitter.
We now offer virtual Sunday Seminars, which cost
$10 to attend, and a once-a-month Horticultural Happy
" Although we have gone back
to doing some in-person events,
virtual is here to stay, especially for
educational topics. "
Hour, which is free. The Sunday Seminars are you-haveto-be-there
events and are not recorded because this
creates a sense of community that I-can-watch-it-anytime
presentations don't cultivate.
How do you promote these events?
I drum up excitement about these classes by making
it about our customers. The fun part is critical. We
promote upcoming programs on our website, in our
newsletter, on social networks and local media (local
newspaper and radio).
One thing that makes a Horticultural Happy Hour fun
is that I start out by asking them what's in their glass. I
always say that it doesn't matter what you're drinking, but
that we've gotten a beverage and are sitting down together
to relax and enjoy a topical presentation about plants.
Some people chime in that they are drinking herbal tea,
coffee or sparkling water, while others are enjoying wine
or a cocktail. Sometimes I begin with a recipe for a gardenbased
cocktail/mocktail, and people often get back to me
about enjoying those beverages.
Although we have gone back to doing some inperson
events, it's my opinion that virtual is here to
stay, especially for educational topics. Make-and-take
workshops will always be popular in-store events, but for
educational programs and customer excitement-builders
(the happy hours), virtual has many advantages.
20 |
Photo courtesy of Hyannis Country Garden.

August 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of August 2023

Editors' Letter
Table of Contents
Editors' Picks
Innovator of the Year: Meet the Lawn & Garden Retailer Innovators of the Year!
Special Advertising Section
Technology: Open-to-Buy Inventory Management Key for Retailers
Green Goods: Trial-Proven Produce
Product Focus: Garden Pharmacy
Ad Index
5 Minutes With ...: Ken Lain
August 2023 - 1
August 2023 - 2
August 2023 - 3
August 2023 - Editors' Letter
August 2023 - 5
August 2023 - Table of Contents
August 2023 - 7
August 2023 - Headlines
August 2023 - 9
August 2023 - 10
August 2023 - Calendar
August 2023 - Editors' Picks
August 2023 - 13
August 2023 - Innovator of the Year: Meet the Lawn & Garden Retailer Innovators of the Year!
August 2023 - 15
August 2023 - 16
August 2023 - 17
August 2023 - 18
August 2023 - 19
August 2023 - 20
August 2023 - 21
August 2023 - 22
August 2023 - 23
August 2023 - 24
August 2023 - 25
August 2023 - 26
August 2023 - 27
August 2023 - 28
August 2023 - 29
August 2023 - Special Advertising Section
August 2023 - 31
August 2023 - Technology: Open-to-Buy Inventory Management Key for Retailers
August 2023 - 33
August 2023 - Green Goods: Trial-Proven Produce
August 2023 - 35
August 2023 - 36
August 2023 - 37
August 2023 - 38
August 2023 - 39
August 2023 - 40
August 2023 - 41
August 2023 - Product Focus: Garden Pharmacy
August 2023 - 43
August 2023 - Marketplace
August 2023 - 45
August 2023 - 46
August 2023 - 47
August 2023 - Ad Index
August 2023 - 49
August 2023 - 5 Minutes With ...: Ken Lain
August 2023 - 51
August 2023 - 52