Archive for May, 2014
I have heard people say that the rain has kept folks from planting. I know that locally we have several landscapers that still have orders that they have not picked up yet due to being behind because of the rain. I talked to a garden center owner yesterday and he said that business had dropped a lot over the past week or two and that it was very slow.
How are things going for you? Every week Chris Beytes’ Acres Online Newsletter rates the weekend sales by state. You can see last weekend’s ratings in the image. As you can see, some parts of the south are starting to slow down some but solid 7-10 ratings all around Arkansas is good news. I hope that everyone is doing as well as these ratings indicate. Although I am not sure why there are no reports from Arkansas. You can subscribe to the Acres Online Newsletter here – http://www.ballpublishing.com/BPSubscriptions/newslettersignup.aspx.
I think that the garden centers are playing it safe and are either selling down and calling it over or are getting some small shipments to just keep a little bit on their shelves.
We had a good year here with the least amount of waste than we have had in a long time. Reducing shrink was one of our goals for this spring and we exceeded our goal with that. Sales were great for the most part for spring. We had extra product when we didn’t need it at times and didn’t have product that was in demand at times but we will never be able to be 100 percent accurate with our forecasting.
Again, I want to thank all of you who helped us have a great spring and we hope that you had an outstanding spring as well. I also want to apologize again for the trucking/shipping issues we encountered and want to assure you that we are working diligently now to try to make sure that we don’t have that happen again.
One other thing, what is the deal with the hanging baskets? No matter what we do, we sell out nearly every planting within a day or two of adding them to the availability. Don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining about them selling so well. I am curious as to why they are selling so well. If you have any insight as to why that is, I sure would like to know. So far my thoughts are simply that consumers are buying more baskets.
Enough of that. Here are this week’s pictures. Hope you all have a great weekend!
Not much to say today, but here is a link on why you should consider raising your prices – https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/why-its-time-to-raise-your-prices/?linknav=us-openforum-exp-carousel-1-1. The article has some very good points.
I hope all of you have an enjoyable and safe Memorial Day Weekend. We will be back in the office Tuesday morning and hopefully rested and ready to take some orders.
We have some #4.5 premium annuals and #6 annuals available in heat loving varieties like pentas, vinca and coleus.
Basket availability is getting low but we still have some. We have quite a few Cora Cascade Vinca baskets which are probably the best plant for a hanging basket in the south.
We have a deco pots in Sunpatiens, Dragon Wing Begonias, Potunias and Petunias.
Availability of basic annuals in 1204’s, J6’s and 1801’s is spotty. We are out of a lot of items, have a few of some items and a lots of a few items.
We have Caladiums, Colocasia and Polemonium to go with all those impatiens and begonias we still have available.
We have more perennials available than just artemesia and 2 flats of sedum and all of them are good summer perennials. Take a look at the availability. We added some new colors of delosperma. I particularly like the Fire Spinner and am going to try some at the house.
To all Growers adn IGC’s:
We are running low on plants and are out of a lot of items. I know that this affects the IGC’s with the lost potential profits due to consumer demand and a long mild spring. However, for the last 20+ years the spring plant markets have suffered from over production which resulted in a very favorable buyer’ market for IGC’s and a desperate seller’s market for growers.
This year due to bankruptcies, consolidations and closures due to retirements, there were fewer growers growing. Those that were left did not speculate on a lot of extra plantings. The end result is that the growers have finally been able to sell most everything that they grew. Garden centers may complain about lost sales due to a plant shortage and that is understandable. The growers are counting lost sales as well. However, if the grower sold most of what he grew and the garden centers sold most of what they bought in, what’s the problem? As long as both are operating on a sound, profitable business model, then both should turn a profit which is a win-win.
Two decades of uncertainty, losses, over-production, lessened margins and the growers shouldering all the risk needs to end. I hope that growers don’t jump back into the quicksand and increase production exponentially (7 growers increase production because 1 IGC tried to order from them because their main supplier ran out of plants). What we sold this year plus about 5% is most likely the maximum demand for our products for next year.
We don’t need to go back growing as much as we can and hope for the best. We need to grow what we know we can sell. So what if you didn’t use all your greenhouses, if you are operating efficiently as long as you sold what you grew, you made a profit which is better than using all your greenhouses, throwing away 5% of your crop and breaking even.
My advice to IGC’s is to start booking what you need with your grower if you are not already. I think that growers are through taking all the risk and hopefully the days of picking up the phone and finding what you need with 1 call when your main grower runs out are over. You need to start working closer with your grower regarding your spring plant needs.
OK, I am off the soap box. My thanks to all our customers who stuck with us through a hard spring. We really appreciate you. The rant above is not directed at you or any one garden center. It is directed at the industry as a whole that has dug a hole that it may have started crawling out of as long as growers don’t revert to their old ways which can partially be prevented with working closer with their customers (you). I just don’t understand why anyone would go back when we can all be more profitable with less product availability.
Sorry, stepped back up on the soap box. I will shut up now and show you some pictures. We have product. Not a lot of product, but it’s there. Hope we can get some to you next week.
The week after Mother’s Day always feels a little post-apocalyptic with the aftermath and cleanup. Our loading house always ends up looking like a war zone. Greenhouses are empty except for a few scattered trays or pots that were not up to spec. Whole sections look like a ghost town. Today, the Friday before Mother’s Day weekend, the office staff and greenhouse crews are stumbling around like zombies.
However, we are still here and we still have plenty of plants for you. I am feeling a little zombie-like myself so you aren’t getting as many pics this week. I will see about adding more or doing another post next week with more pics.
OK. Your mom probably already loves you, but she gave birth to you, put up with all your teenage antics and drama and probably babysits for you more than she ought to so she definitely deserves at least as hanging basket. Actually she deserves a complete yard make over like you see on HGTV. Why am I telling you this? Well, all of us sons and daughters will be swarming your garden center for plants this week for mom, and we have a lot of great looking plants for you to sell. Just take a look at the pictures below. You need some of all of this for garden center. Before we proceed, I need to say this:
I, Jason Parks, on behalf of all of the Parks family and the staff here at Parks Brothers want to offer you our apology for all the problems we have had with deliveries this season. I want to assure you that we are working diligently to improve the situation. For all of you who did not get your deliveries before the weekend, we appreciate your flexibility and thank you for accepting the late deliveries. I hope that we will be able to do a better job for everyone next week. It has only been by the grace of God that we have been able to get some loads out at all. We loaded several trucks this week that we did not have drivers for and thankfully God blessed us with drivers at the last minute. We hope to do better next week and as I have said, we are working to get the resources we need to get the loads delivered. Once again we do apologize for these problems, and thanks again for your understanding and patience. We do know how important it is for you to have product to sell, and we understand your frustrations if we are late. The shortage of drivers has been getting progressively worse each year, but we were completely caught off guard by the extent of this year’s shortage. Please contact me if you have any questions, concerns or complaints. I will be happy to talk to you about it.
We are starting to get low on quite a bit of product and are out of some items. We currently have baskets, deco pots, color bowls and succulent bowls available which have always been popular Mother’s Day items. Additionally, we have good availability on our standard IGC items like packs, 1801’s, #4.5’s and #6’s. We are starting to run out of a lot of the premium gallon items. I will be doing a lot of counting this weekend and updating availability numbers so don’t be surprised if you see some changes or if some items you order that have low availability numbers are not there. I will do my best to make it as accurate as possible. It’s Picture Time! David took a lot of these pictures and if the shoe fits, he can’t deny it. Here’s the proof with his size Yeti shoe.