Social Media Recap from GCA Summer Tour 2015
This Month's GCA Member Profile
Recap from IGC East 2015
Recap from IGC Chicago 2015
Destination for 2016 GCA Summer Tour Announced - Portland, Here We Come!
Next year's GCA Summer Tour is headed to Portland, OR, for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the garden centers that make this Northwestern market a hub of retail innovation. Portland has been called a treasure trove of merchandising and retail inspiration, so be sure to pack your notebook and camera!
In addition to touring Portland garden centers, plans are being made now to take attendees to a major grower and principal plant supplier to IGC retailers across the nation.
Do you have suggestions for some really awesome stops? Email your suggestions to email@example.com and tell us why you think they would make the 2016 Summer Tour spectacular!
Watch for the late-June dates and destinations of next year's tour to be announced in the coming months.
2015 GCA Summer Tour Milwaukee Social Media Recap
In case you missed all of the coverage of this year's GCA Summer Tour in Milwaukee, WI, here are some of the highlights from social media:
"At one of yesterday's stops on the 2015 GCA Summer Tour in the Milwaukee area, K&W Greenery provided an interesting use of what would otherwise be throw-away wood shipping pallets. Co-owner Phyliss Williams reports she just throws a quick paint wash on them and turns them into useful store display items. She feels Millennials especially appreciate the re-purposing, which is so trendy these days."
"First stop this morning on the 2015 GCA Summer Tour was the conodial domes - the three that comprise the Milwaukee Domes of the Mitchell Park Conservatory. Attendees toured the three distinct domes - tropical, desert and show garden. All were very impressed with these horticultural gems here in the Midwest."
"Yesterday on the GCA Summer Tour in the Milwaukee area, we saw these products at two stores. Really cool, faux antique rusted shovels that are laser cut with cool designs. Designed to stand upright, stuck in the ground as garden art, they hold rain gauges in the shovel art design. Johnson's Gardens in Cedarburg, WI, asks customers to pick up the rain gauge vessels upon check out."
"This morning, the 2015 GCA Summer Tour made its way through southeastern Wisconsin to stop at Oconomowoc Landscape Supply & Garden Center, where we found this incredible and impressive bulk mulch and stone display. Retailers on the tour were wowed by this unique and high-end presentation, which according to Owner Terry Van Lare, helps create his impressive sales in these categories."
"2015 GCA Summer Tour attendees gathered after a delicious lunch at Ebert's Greenhouse Village, Ixonia, WI, the entire entourage traveling by doubledecker bus this week, touring all of southeastern Wisconsin. The tour has been a hit and only experienced a few showers among the mostly bright, sunny skies."
IGC East Continues to Build on Quality Buyers, Broad Range of Industry Exhibitors
IGC East's second annual show last week at the Baltimore Convention Center drew more than 1,500 verified independent retail buyers, who shopped the latest product offerings from nearly 300 exhibiting vendors across the floor.
"We appreciate the positive response from buyers who attended IGC East this year. Now, we're looking to them to spread that enthusiasm to their industry friends and colleagues for an even stronger IGC East next summer," says Jeff Morey, IGC Show Co-founder and Co-producer. "Our sights are on establishing IGC East as the go-to source for new products and industry education in the region as our event continues to grow. It is a building process, and we'll get there with the support of this wonderful industry moving it forward."
Response from many exhibitors is positive. Master Nursery Garden Centers, which moved its Eastern Regional Member Meeting to IGC East this year, says the relocation was a good one for them. "We are extremely happy, and had the highest turnout in years - way up from the other venues of past years," says Jeff Lafferty, CEO of Master Nursery Garden Centers. "Our booth was jammed, and we wrote a bunch of orders from members. We will definitely be back for IGC East 2016."
IGC East's exhibitors, covering a broad range of categories, intrigued visitors to the show floor - including Tuesday's spotlight speaker, Martha Stewart. In what can only be described as incredible exposure for the independent garden center industry to consumers worldwide, Stewart blogged about her experience at IGC East (www.themarthablog.com
), sharing more than 25 photos and descriptions of some of her favorite finds on the show floor, as well as from her Q&A keynote, which concluded with questions from the audience and a meet-and-greet at the front of the ballroom stage. Stewart went on to greet exhibitors and examine even more product hands-on during a personal walk-through tour of the show with Jeff and Cheryl Morey.
IGC Chicago Impresses First-Timers, Experienced Show-Goers with New Products, Retail Inspirations, Networking & Fun
IGC Chicago's ninth annual show extended the excitement across Navy Pier, from the expanse of new and proven products for independent garden centers in the exhibit hall to the retail inspirations found in the IGC Retail Conference upstairs and keynotes in the IGC Grand Ballroom.
"The buzz across the show was big," says Jeff Morey, IGC Show Co-founder and Co-producer. "We were especially happy to talk with so many first-time show-goers on the floor, who said IGC Chicago is firmly on their calendar for next year. Of course, we also extend our deep thanks to the many retailers who have made IGC Chicago their place for product buying all through the years."
Retailers were not only looking to bring back new product for their stores, many said they were sizing up vendor booth displays to incorporate the product presentations into their own merchandising. "The wide range of beautiful booth displays put together by IGC Chicago's vendors are such a visual treat, says Cheryl Morey, IGC Show Co-founder and Co-producer. "Whether you're walking the aisle or taking a broad view of the hall from the third floor, it really makes an impression."
IGC Chicago's keynote program drew favorable reviews from the audience, including a standing ovation as Ernest Wertheim walked onto the IGC Grand Ballroom stage and at the conclusion of his talk. Marcus Lemonis, star of CNBC's The Profit, also brought the audience to their feet - as he spoke in length to answer retail business questions from the crowd, and offered his personal e-mail for those whose questions couldn't be answered due to time constraints. (See the IGC Show's Facebook and Twitter pages for Lemonis' e-mail address.) During his keynote, "So What's Your Story," Robert Hendrickson shared his own story as a musician with stars in his eyes turned garden center marketing guru to demonstrate just how engaging stories can be.
More ideas and inspirations were discovered upstairs from the show floor, in the IGC Retail Conference's five focused tracks. In the classrooms, attendees made notes of the track leaders' strategies for making their businesses even stronger, and exchanged ideas with fellow classmates on what works - and what doesn't - for them.
IGC buyers and vendors turned their focus on networking and fun at Tuesday evening's IGC Show Party & Concert with the Gin Blossoms. The hum of biz talk and conversation filled the IGC Grand Ballroom, followed by the band's high-energy performance of their chart-topping hits.
IGC Chicago returns to Navy Pier next year for its 10-year anniversary, August 16-18, 2016. IGC East returns to the Baltimore Convention Center, July 26-28, 2016. Watch for details on next year's IGC Shows in the months ahead, and check out photos from this year's excitement at the IGC Show's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/igcshow