June 2020 - 30

MERCHANDISING
Selling More
Pots & Planters
By John Hanesworth
Differentiate your store by offering quality, out-of-the-ordinary products.
T
he U.S. Chamber of Commerce has reported a growth
surge in the garden center industry since early
March, likely due to travel restrictions throughout
the country. Garden centers are often exempted from local
closure orders, and interest among customers new to
gardening and plant parenting is likely to grow as people
stay closer to home in the future.
Concurrently, thanks to Instagram and other online photo
sharing platforms, a huge new population of customers,
both millennials and Gen Xers, is embracing house plant
growing as a hobby and for home décor. A recent Google
search for " indoor jungle " produced over 67 million results -
underscoring that this trend is the real thing.
Together, these developments present new market
opportunities for independent garden centers (IGCs)
and retailers. Translating them into revenue requires an
understanding of the drivers behind customer purchasing
decisions and marshalling business expertise to meet the
market potential.
Millennials and Gen Xers Are Discovering
Small Plants
IGCs don't have to view as competition the recent
proliferation of online sites selling mostly small house plants
and planters. In fact, this online activity is inspiring a new
generation of plant lovers - who also embrace expertise and
experience and want to support brick-and-mortar stores that
support their communities.
30 | LAWN & GARDEN RETAILER | JUNE 2020
We have seen this phenomenon up close. Developed
organically over 13 years, our business model is built around
the unusual combination of a retail home and garden décor
store and a wholesale company. Small planters and garden
décor are bestsellers in our San Antonio, Texas, retail store,
and they are represented in our carefully curated wholesale
line available across the U.S.
Our Terra Fina small planter collection comprises
handcrafted hanging and table-top homes for popular
succulents, small tropicals, and orchids. Because of the
popularity of this product line, we have added new styles
since its launch in 2018. At the Tropical Plant International
Expo in January, garden center buyers who dropped by our
booth said these terra cotta planters exemplify what they are
looking for to keep up with the demand for small planters.
While today's younger customers may focus on small
plants and planters, we have found that these customers also
will grow their newfound passion to encompass larger plants
and feature pots. As they purchase homes, their interest may
well evolve into a need for landscape plants. For IGCs, that
means stepping into the hot market for small planters today
and leveraging it as a springboard to cultivate the long-term
customer of tomorrow.
Differentiation Through Out-of-the-Ordinary
Products
No company can be all things to all customers. We have
developed a niche in San Antonio and South Texas that

June 2020

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