[Market-farming] Re: Consumer Spending

Wed Jan 8 13:39:56 EST 2003

 Thanks for the input everyone.  
  Potted plants are a whole different game than providing food staple to the 
people. While edibles can bridge the gap  somewhat- of providing 'grow your 
own' possibilities.  Ornamentals feed the soul.   Which, we do need, but may 
not always be able to justify the cost of.
   My small business has only survived & grown because I do cater to a niche 
market.  Plus I do over 95% of my own propagating.  Which is high.  My  
consumer jumpiness may be in part to seeing 2 well established, larger 
greenhouse/nurseries go out of business in the area.  Sure, there are lots of 
factors that could have been involved with them.   We are now looking at 
placing a bid with the foreclosure bank, for a substantial amount of nursery 
stock from the latest one.  Even really good deals can add up the dollar 
amounts.   Also, most of us probably have relatives or friends that have been 
laid off,  and know others who lost major chunks of savings in the stock 
market.   I'm sure across the country, it also has a lot to do with regional 

   I usually do a mix of pot sizes- 2 1/2" rose pots, 3 1/2", 4", 5",  1 & 2 
gallons.   Simple rule:  The smaller the pot, the more I make per flat.  The 
more flats, the more I make.   Once the warm weather breaks, then the pot 
sizes all just add up sales.   General prices start at-
   2 1/2" @ $1.99 each x 36 per flat =$71.64     3 1/2" @ $2.49 each x 18 per 
flat = $44.82
Specialty plants can be double both of the above.   Then the catch is-  the 
smaller the pot, the much more labor intensive it is.   The larger pots are 
really appreciated in the heat of summer.  They on the most part, can just 
sit & grow until they find a new home.  Also perennial selling is much easier 
in bloom.
    So no one is planning now on changing much for 2003?  
  My planned changes so far-  to do local wholesale again,  offer 
contractor's discounts, double my advertising budget, and improve my signage 
everywhere on everything.   
   I'm pleased to hear from other plant & herb growers.  I hope we can keep 
these discussions on going.   What have you found to be the most successful  
tool/promo on your mailing lists or web sites?    What are your pot prices?

Patricia Mattson
The Herb Garden
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