Debra Prinzing

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Inspiring garden centers and outdoor living retailers

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

This was my first visit to the IGC Show in Chicago - the 4th Annual Show was impressive

I had a great gathering of "indie" retailers for this presentation.

After presenting to a welcoming audience at last week’s Independent Garden Center Show in Chicago, I’m more convinced than ever that there is a huge passion and vitality among the “indies” of horticulture. 

These are the women and men who adore plants, love to share their knowledge about growing things, don’t mind getting dirt under their nails, and who understand that connecting with other gardeners is what it’s all about. 

If you can run a business like that, well, then you are blessed. I’m not saying it’s easy. These are hard-working plantswomen and men; some of them are from longtime nursery families who grew up growing and selling plants. Others come to garden center life through different paths. But people find their way. And in the face of competition from big box retailers, the “indies” are almost as threatened as small-town booksellers (Although I just read an article in New York magazine about the return of independent book stores.) From what I saw last week, with the aisles of Chicago’s Navy Pier teeming with thousands of trade showgoers, I’m convinced the “indie” garden center and outdoor living retailer is a force to be reckoned with. 

My talk highlighted some of the successful participants in this movement. I promised to post an excerpt of this talk and some highlights here for my audience members to read. I”m also interested in comments and suggestions for other “indies” who are doing things right in their own community. Please let me know where you gain inspiration and make a “connection” with the local garden center in your community. I really do want to know!