How would you describe the business of your company?
In simple terms, we source plants for our customers. We find the plants they need by tapping into over 300 different suppliers across the U.S. and sometimes abroad. Our key markets are independent garden centers, wholesale greenhouse growers, nursery operators, and landscapers. The primary plant materials that we supply include vegetative annual plugs, perennials, and finished nursery stock. In addition, we can also source and provide unrooted cuttings, seed, greenhouse structures, and plastics. We match the best suppliers with the best quality and availability to the type of stock our customers need. Our mission is to provide an enjoyable and efficient business process that makes our customers profitable.
What are the advantages of using EHR?
Our role is saving time and reducing stress for our customers. We can be a one-stop shop for all of their plant needs. That eliminates researching suppliers, managing different supplier accounts, tracking shipments, and so on. It really streamlines their plant purchasing process – that’s a big advantage for any plant buyer!
What industry trends are shaping your business?
On the greenhouse side, we’re seeing more demand for vegetative cuttings and less demand for seed. That’s because many people who are buying plants, especially those less experienced with gardening, want a finished product right out of the store, whether that’s a planted container or a hanging basket. It’s the convenience of something you don’t have to invest much time in and that looks good right now.
Another trend, which I think is really up and coming, is the rise of foliage/house plants. This trend has been on the upswing and now it’s really going nuts! Things like blooming tropicals are helping people add color, texture, and even health to their homes, something that can be particularly therapeutic during these COVID times. Almost any edible plant has shown very strong sales, too. People are realizing they can grow their own food and embracing it.
How has COVID-19 impacted your work?
As a sales rep, much of my work involves traveling to meet with customers, one on one. Though my travel over the past months has been less, I still meet with customers who are OK with in-person visits. They still value the face-to-face time. For our customers, many have developed or expanded their online sales – not only because of COVID, but to reach younger buyers who favor online buying.
What would you say to encourage someone to join CNGA?
All businesses need advocates that can speak on their behalf, and this year, we saw CNGA play a pivotal role in keeping our industry open for business. That’s a huge reason to join – your support enables CNGA to go to bat for us! Being a member also puts you in a group of like-minded people who are very open to helping each other. It’s a community you can tap to build business relationships, solve problems, and develop some great friendships, too. Plus, there’s always ways to get actively involved. Over the years, I’ve served on numerous CNGA committees and enjoyed being part of helping CNGA develop programs that help my fellow members. And now I’m enjoying my service on the CNGA Board of Directors!