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www.griffins.com Sum mer 2009 Issue
GGSPro brings technical support to growers,
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New Toll Free Numbers Griffin announces new toll free numbers, and improvements to the way we handle your call. Our goal is to provide you immediate attention by answering your call as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Often the limited staff at some of our smaller Branch locations hinders our ability to accomplish this goal, especially during peak times of the year. To remedy this problem we created a core customer service group to answer your calls and questions. Our Customer Service Representatives are here to provide you the highest level of service. Our computer system has access to all locations so they see everything that an employee at your local Branch sees. The Customer Service Rep who answers your call can assist you when placing an order, inquiring about product availability or pricing, or answer questions about your delivery. They can also contact all Griffin employees to forward a message to a specific employee per your request.
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SUMMER 2009 ISSUE
GROWER to GROWER A Revolutionary Concept A new concept is being unveiled at Griffin called the “Revolution”. Most of you are familiar with one or more of the cornerstones of the campaign; however, describing them in detail and explaining how they are being integrated into a comprehensive package to help customers from Maine to Georgia is today’s topic. In a nutshell, the Revolution campaign ties all of the departments and customer services at Griffin together to create a one-stop-shopping, everything-under-one-roof marketplace. Hard goods, greenhouse structures, equipment, and supplies form the core of the company’s offerings which growers have purchased for decades. A highly qualified construction department has supported grower needs for most of this time. I have used the construction department on several occasions to help push my range toward the future and chances are many reading this column have as well. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the plant department. It was from this department, many years ago, that the technical service department got its start. Rick Yates has been a champion of both departments and today anchors our world class tech services effort. With an eye on the future, technical services continues to evolve with its revolutionary GGSPro presence where education and a complete range of expertise are available to help growers manage their operations successfully.
By Peter Konjoian As the new Revolution campaign emerges, here are some of its cornerstone services. Starting with production supplies and greenhouse infrastructure, Griffin’s offerings have been dutifully researched in order to assemble a complete line of industry grade materials to help growers do what they love to do…grow. Many product categories contain redundancy between manufacturers. Griffin’s objective is to choose from those available to build a unique and dependable stable of products for growers to choose from. When it comes to our tech department making recommendations for pest control, we are in a perfect position to recommend what we see working and are not obligated to clutter the landscape with products that may be labeled but which produce less than our standard of results. While publicly funded university extension programs are bound by law to recommend everything that is labeled to control a particular pest, Griffin is a distributor operating in the private sector and not bound by the same requirement. As a distributor of many manufacturers’ products, we are also free from ONLY having a certain vendor’s line of products at our disposal. So, our tech team stays in touch with researchers, manufacturers’ reps, and growers from coast to coast and has the freedom to recommend those products that are working best while not wasting time on those that are not. As a result, your time is not wasted as we’re able to cut directly to the core and bring you a short list of preventive and corrective recommendations that is continually under review.
Leveraging service Natural progressions occur all around us, sometimes happening noticeably and other times happening subtly. One subtle progression has been underway for twenty years and involves the world wide web and our access to information. During the 1990s the growth of the web created what became known as the information age. Search engines like Google and others have evolved into instant finders of information that can create overloads of endless availability. It used to be said that one could connect with anyone, anywhere, within three telephone calls. With the web and internet at our fingertips, this has been compressed into a single click or two of a mouse. During the past decade our world has progressed beyond the information age and toward a new age of knowledge. Recognizing that information for information’s sake can become nothing more than clutter, our world today demands that the information be processed, interpreted, and turned into usable knowledge in order to have value. That’s a key building block to Griffin’s Revolution campaign. We believe that there’s way too much information being thrown your way regarding greenhouse production and management. Our revolutionary commitment is to process this information and turn it into useful knowledge that you can use to operate more efficiently and profitably.
No time to waste A major impetus in all of this is the fact that, gradually and steadily, everyone’s time has become more valuable. The reasons we are time starved and outcomes resulting from it are wide open for debate. That said, few of us claim to have excess time on our hands today.
This revolution has a broad base As the plant department has expanded over the years, one of the newest offerings is a retail ready line of products. Aimed at retailers, no growing is required for these unusual, specialty plants. And what’s great for smaller retailers is that most of these products are available in small quantities to allow for profitable handling without unwanted inventory. Every Griffin plant salesperson has access to a full line of growing program recommendations through his direct pipeline to the tech service team. These services include water testing accompanied by interpretation of results and recommendations for treatment. The sales force relies on the tech team for this assistance and, reciprocally, the tech team relies on the sales team to be eyes and ears capable of detecting problems and forwarding them to the tech department for diagnosis and treatment recommendations. The direct route of customer education will continue to be offered under the GGSPro banner. Continuing education through written publications, quick reference posters, on site consultations, in person seminars, and web based presentations are being expanded continuously. The goal of Griffin’s Revolution campaign is to integrate the multi-layered marketplace described above with the ultimate purpose of providing you with a level of crop and facility assurance that is unmatched in our industry. Consider this revolutionary concept your blanket of protection when it comes to operating a profitable business. In other words, Griffin has you covered. WWW
Plant Corner Highlights for 2010 By Nanette Marks There were many exciting introductions shown off at the California Pack Trials this spring including both seed and vegetative varieties. Take this opportunity to catch up on a few of them and book early! Even if you’re not ready to plan out all your crops until later, it’s never too early to reserve a few of these attention grabbers for 2010. You saw it here first! Griffin’s was chosen to test market the 12 year breeding of the Tomaccio® Tomato from Hishtil in Israel. The seed was in limited supply and the plants were grown for us by Raker’s. The growers that we’ve heard back from already said these were a huge success. This is a gourmet cherry tomato exclusive for sales to independent retailers for home gardeners. No commercial harvesting is allowed, which will keep your customers coming back for more every year. The early bearing plants yield an unprecedented 13-18 pounds per season on robust vines growing 12-14 feet. The tomatoes can also be dried, greatly intensifying the sweet flavor for a healthy snack. They also come with a nice P.O.P. kit including large colorful tags and shelf jumpers. Don’t miss this one! And there’s more exceptional vegetables coming your way. Vegetable plant and seed sales into the home garden market show significant growth which is set to continue as consumers see the benefits of producing home grown food. Vegetalis® is a creative vegetable breeder marketing new varieties specifically for this market; varieties that meet the same standards of the professional market yet offer consumers the great aesthetics and taste often lacking in varieties bred for industrial production. Introducing the Patio Edibles:
• Exceptional seed quality and plant habit for the grower • Visual impact and good fruit retention for the retailer • The consumer gets high yields of tasty produce from a plant as ornamental as it is functional Help consumers to capture the joy of freshly picked, home grown produce!
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GRIFFIN GAZETTE SUMMER 2009 ISSUE
Plant Corner article continued from previous page. In the annuals category, Proven Winners® showed off some exceptional plants including a heat tolerant vegetative Alyssum named ‘Snow Princess’. A strong compact grower with a trailing habit, this plant grows 4-6 inches high and spreads 12-24 inches. Beautiful in baskets, but this will do well in any combinations for full to part sun. Bacopa Snowstorm® is expanded upon with a new ‘Pink Improved’ and a ‘Blue’. These plants form a compact trailing mat 4-6 inches in height and 10-12 inches in spread. The large flowers are bright and clear in color. Add these varieties to Snowstorm® ‘White’ for a wide range of color combinations in containers and baskets.
Petunias were showing off some unusual colors including both vegetative and seed varieties. PW’s ‘Pretty Much Picasso’ is an interesting lime-ringed violet flower. And PanAmerican introduced their designer Sophistica CollectionTM which also includes ‘Lime Bicolor’, as well as ‘Antique Shades’ and ‘Blue Morn’.
Along with that they have some great new Easy Wave® colors which include Plum Vein, Burgundy Star and Violet. These new colors helped bring together 2 new mixes also, including Easy Wave® Starfish Mix and Easy Wave® Plum Pudding Mix. Color coordinated combination baskets can be grown using these striking mixes. On the subject of easy combination makers, Syngenta Flowers and Proven Winners® have both developed a mixed rooted liner that contains 3 different varieties in the same cell. Pick the mixes you want by looking at the finished baskets. And since each liner contains three cuttings, less liners are needed to fill a basket saving you money on the cuttings plus the freight by fitting more into a shipping box. 7 Another introduction that will save growers money are Ecke’s New Guinea Impatiens SunPatiens®. These extremely vigorous plants are different from any New Guinea you have ever grown. Bred by Sakata, these cuttings root in 2 weeks verses 4. Direct stick in up to a 5 inch container. They also finish cool. So you are saving on energy and bench time. They are excellent in the landscape and perform spring through a hard frost. There are 5 Vigorous colors, 7 Compact and 2 Spreading. Don’t let the ‘Compact’ varieties fool you – these are all more vigorous than any other New Guinea that they offer. These had been an Exclusive in the past, but are now available to all growers.
For more information on all the new introductions from dozens of breeders, please view our 2010 Plant Catalog. Current plant customers will receive these automatically in the mail. If you haven’t purchased plants through Griffin’s you may request a copy from your sales rep or by calling the Plant Department at (800) 732-3509.
Flowers shown in this article: 1. Tomato Sweet & Neat Cherry Red 2. Tomato Tumbling Junior Yellow 3. Tomaccio 4. Alyssum Snow Princess 5. Bacopa Snowstorm Pink 6. Bacopa Snowstorm Blue 7. Pretty Much Picasso 8. Petunia Sophistica Antique Shades 9. Petunia Sophistica Lime Rose Bicolor 10. Petunia Easy Wave Plum Pudding Mix 11. Petunia Easy Wave Burgundy Star 12. NG Impatiens SunPatiens Compact Magenta
Cover Photo: Tiarella Silverado
Griffin Plant Department 800.732.3509
Frequently Asked Questions By Virginia Brubaker, Technical Support Specialist
What are some growing tips for a successful perennial crop? Commercial horticulture has seen a tremendous amount of change in the past decade and the perennial market has not been left behind. Consumers have increased demand for perennials by educating themselves and looking for new and improved varieties.
Scabiosa Butterfly Blue
The definition of perennial by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary is, “plants persisting for several years; usually with new herbaceous growth.” The key words here are “several years”. A challenging economy combined with busy lifestyles has encouraged many consumers to take a long look at plants that do not have to be re-planted each year. Perennials fulfill that niche by providing value, beauty and color to the landscape. Successful perennial growers begin with understanding this market as well as implementing sound perennial culture.
soil. Match the release pattern of the CRF to your crop requirements. A wide range of longevities are available.
4. Planting Time: Transplanting time depends on labor, greenhouse space and availability of plant material. Overwintering perennials can become an important profit center. Fall planting makes better use of available labor for many growers. Start planting perennials from a 50 or 70 cell as early as August, smaller plugs should be planted as early as July. Finish planting no later than early to mid-October to allow the plants to establish a good root system. The further north that you are the earlier this needs to be accomplished. The onset of cold weather causes top growth to die back. Cleaning up and pruning is important at this time to prevent diseases such as Botrytis from occurring. A preventative broad spectrum fungicide drench can be applied at this time to add extra protection for the roots.
Keys to successful containerized perennial crops: 1. Grow perennials that are reliably hardy in your area: The United States Department of Agriculture has established a Hardiness Zone map based on data collected over the past 10 years. Hardiness means that a plant can grow and survive in a specific area based on that zone’s lowest average temperature. Select varieties that are hardy to your zone to insure the customer’s success.
Gothic Profit Hoop House
Perennials can be over-wintered in an unheated house with a poly film cover or covered outside by December with an over-winter protection blanket. Avoiding heat build-up on sunny winter days is important. Greenhouses with roll-up sides are ideal to maintain cool temperatures if outside temperatures rise above freezing during the winter months. White poly and/or positive ventilation can also be used to keep day temps cool.
5. Temperature: 2. Soil: Perennials do best in a well-drained soil mix. More over-wintered perennials are lost to waterlogged soil than winter’s cold. Since perennials are often kept in the same container longer than annual crops, selecting a media that will not compress and lose air space over time is needed. For perennials finished outside, media with a higher bulk density will be less prone to blow over.
3. Fertilizer: Most perennials are not heavy feeders. A liquid feed program should be based on a recent water test to insure that soil pH can be maintained in the proper range. If possible, group perennials with similar pH requirements together for easier management. Controlled release fertilizers are also an option in feeding perennials. CRF’s are designed to release nutrients over a period of time based on soil temperature. It can be by top dressing or incorporating it into the
GRIFFIN GAZETTE SUMMER 2009 ISSUE
Inside production should begin by heating the greenhouse to 50ºF if needed until all of the perennials are established. Slowly lower the temperature to 35ºF and maintain that temperature throughout the winter. Keep the perennials cool even when they start growing in the spring. This is to avoid unwanted stretch and premature blooming that would cause lost sales opportunities. Outdoor production is subject to the natural elements. Once cold weather arrives cover the perennials with an overwintering protection fabric or place then in a hoop house covered with white plastic. Rodent baits are imperative no matter which method you choose. Once the outside temperatures begin to rise and new growth appears, ventilate the hoop house or uncover the beds to promote air circulation so that new growth does stretch of become soft.
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Timely Tips article continued from previous page. 6. Insect and Disease control: Proper identification of the pest problem is key in its eradication. Good greenhouse sanitation and preventative actions also play important roles in eradicating insects and disease from the greenhouse. A preventative fungicide drench is crucial to protect the perennials from root, stem and crown diseases such as Pythium and Rhizoctonia. Foliar diseases that can be problematic are Botrytis, Powdery Mildew, Rust, and Downy Mildew. Developments of many diseases are favored during cool and wet conditions. High humidity accompanied by wet leaf surface provides ideal growing conditions for these diseases. Crop debris can also harbor diseases. Removal and disposing of diseased plant material into sealed plastic bags as soon as they are found is critical. Avoid re-using pots unless they can be treated by a two step process of cleaning and then disinfecting. Combinations of both cultural and chemical controls are required for disease control. The spread of diseases is often caused by splashing water, so proper hand watering practices are essential if drip irrigation is not available. When possible, keep the foliage dry and maintain humidity levels less than 80-85% using good air movement supplemented by HAF fans.
Technical Tips: Virtual Grower - Your Tax Dollars at Work By Rick Yates, Technical Services Manager The Virtual Grower software program was developed by USDA in part to help greenhouse operators make energy efficient crop production decisions. Whether it is used to help make decisions about capital expenditures such as heaters, coverings, energy curtains, etc. or evaluating crop production temperatures; this free program comes through with flying colors. Virtual Grower is flexible, easy to use and did I mention it is free! This is an expenditure of tax dollars you can feel good about. It has and will continue to lead to reduced energy use by our industry. Since the greenhouse industry is so energy intensive, it can have a significant impact on our country’s energy consumption while decreasing the individual greenhouse operator’s energy expenditures. What can Virtual Grower do for you? Compare the relative heating costs between different types of greenhouse heating systems, fuel sources and glazing for starters. The impact that installing an energy curtain would have on energy usage can quickly be seen. Virtual Grower has a lot to offer whether considering large capital investments or merely contemplating in house maintenance. The program can show the impact that tightening up the structure and reducing outside air infiltration can have on energy bills for example. Already optimized for efficient energy use? Virtual Grower has more tools to discover. Utilize Virtual Grower to evaluate the amount of heat used while employing different growing strategies for various crops. Does turning down the thermostat always save energy? The answers vary by crop, geographic location and time of year but the good news is that Virtual Grower does all of the heavy lifting when it comes to the number crunching. In the upcoming issue of GGSPro magazine Virtual Grower will be used to challenge some long held assumptions about temperature strategies for some major (and minor) crops. There is some serious money on the table! Download this program by selecting your favorite search engine and typing “USDA Virtual Grower Download”. Follow the step by step instructions on the site to download and install the program. Many new computers are now shipping with a 64 bit version of Windows Vista. Unfortunately at this time Virtual Grower is not compatible with 64 bit operating systems. Mac and Linux operating systems are out in the cold for now as well. Now the fun part! Once installed it only takes a few minutes to begin putting this valuable tool to use. Getting started with Virtual Grower: • Enter your geographical information. By selecting the closest city to your location your energy information is tailored by historical climate data. • Create a greenhouse profile for every unique growing area. Easy to use pop down menu options allow for the rapid creation of a custom profile that includes: structure type, glazing, heating system, fuel, air infiltration and other variables. This allows the program to accurately predict energy usage for each unique set up.
Echinacea Magnus Detailed inspection of incoming plant material helps to prevent the invasion of unwanted pests. Occasional insect pests on perennials can be aphids, fungus gnats, whitefly, western flower thrips, slugs and spider mites. To the group of perennials grown outside, we can add caterpillars, leafhoppers, leafminers, tarnished plant bugs and weevils. Managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical practices can all be implemented into a preventative program in the perennial crops.
Saving these profiles eliminates the need to re-enter the information each time the program is used. Of course the profiles can be modified at any time to account for any changes that are made. Now the horsepower behind Virtual Grower is ready to be unleashed. Easily calculate the payback time for replacing your current heating system with a more efficient one. By entering crop time and the temperature regime determine the amount of heat that crop is really using, broken down by month or square foot. This brief introduction just scratches the surface of the possibilities this program holds. Griffin has produced a printed tutorial on getting started with Virtual Grower that is available to Griffin customers from the Technical Services department at WWW.GRIFFINS.COM 7 no cost.
Disease Management Biological Control of Crop Diseases and Effective Use of Products
By Jim Willmott, Technical Services Specialist
Increasing interest in sustainable or “green” production has prompted the adoption of integrated management strategies that include alternative tactics to manage diseases of ornamental and edible crops. Biological control is an option that pits living biological control agents against bacterial and fungal pathogens. These beneficial organisms are available as products that offer several appealing features:
3. 4. 5. 6.
1. Reduced risks to applicators and the environment 2. Short re-entry intervals (REIs) following application Many are approved for use on edible crops including vegetables, herbs and fruits Most are certified for organic production General compatibility with beneficial pest predators and parasites Rotational options with traditional products to reduce the risk of pathogen resistance
Within the last century our understanding of infectious diseases has progressed. In 1928, Alexander Fleming observed that the fungus Penicillium inhibited the growth of bacteria and penicillin was recognized as the first antibiotic. Not long after, Streptomyces, a type of bacteria was found to produce streptomycin. Initially these microbes were used to treat infectious diseases of humans, but more recently, several have been discovered and commercialized to manage plant diseases (table 1). Biological control involves multiple interacting mechanisms to reduce the disease potential of pathogens. While antibiotics are involved, research has revealed additional modes of action including infection of pathogens (hyperparasitism), competition for resources, formation of a physical barrier to infection and enhancing the immunity of plants. Acquired plant immunity is not completely understood, but biocontrol agents have been shown to improve overall health - presumably by improving the availability of iron and other micronutrients. Biological products have often performed poorly compared to chemical disease control products in university research trials. However it is fair to question whether standard experimental procedures represent typical pathogen–crop relationships found in commercial greenhouses and whether tests are designed to account for the unique disease control features of biological control agents. For example, most trials challenge host crops with high pathogen numbers under conditions that favor disease. This doesn’t represent lower pathogen populations, within typical crop production systems, and it doesn’t allow enough time for biologicals to promote immunity responses in crops. In other words, testing procedures represent the worst case scenario and overwhelm biologicals before they have a fair chance of preventing infections and disease. However, don’t expect miracles! Success with biological control products requires preventative applications along with a solid foundation built on alternative tactics that suppress disease. It is essential to start “clean”! Begin with liberal sanitation of all production surfaces and equipment. Use a cleaning product like Strip-IT and follow it with a disinfestant such as Kleengrow. Next, keep clean by excluding infected plugs and liners from your operation. Finally, promote crop health by optimizing cultural inputs and environmental conditions including: fertilization, irrigation, light, temperatures, air movement and pest control – especially fungus gnats. It is within this context that you will find success with biological control products. Research has narrowed the number of beneficial microorganisms to a few that have demonstrated their ability to persist on plant surfaces and in growing media and to control or suppress important diseases. Currently there are three
Roger McGaughey, Head Grower, Michael’s Greenhouse,Cheshire, CT is passionate about roots. Here he displays snow white pansy roots, grown without chemical fungicides, but treated with Rootshield WP. commonly used beneficial microorganisms: a fungus, Trichoderma harzianum, and two bacteria Bacillus subtilis and Streptomyces lydicus. Trichoderma harzianum has been studied for over 20 years. These efforts have resulted in strain T22 which was initially commercialized as PlantShield HC. Recently, PlantShield HC has been replaced by RootShield WP (RSWP) which has a finer, water soluble formulation that is easier to mix and apply. Rootshield is also available as a granular formulation for incorporating into media. Both are labeled for the control of media borne pathogens including Pythium, Rhizoctonia, Fusarium and Thielaviopsis. Only RootShield G is currently certified by OMRI for organic production. Following application, T. harzianum spores germinate, grow on plant roots and influence both pathogens and plants to reduce disease. Colonization of roots results in a barrier to infection while T. harzianum infects (hyperparasitism) pathogens and produces chemicals that dissolve their cell walls. Improved crop health has been well documented and it appears to enhance immunity to diseases. For maximum crop protection, drench applications must be made as early as possible – preferably at seeding or rooting. Treat plugs and liners on arrival and treat media prior at transplanting. Even though it contains a fungus, RootShield is compatible with commonly drenched fungicides. Finally, it is critical to use “fresh” RootShield since its shelf life is only about 6 months. Bacillus subtilis is a common bacterial species available in the products Companion and Cease. Environmentally resistant spores prolong shelf life for about 2 years and allow for its incorporation in commercial potting media. Several B. subtilis strains have been commercialized with strain GB03 in Companion, QST713 in Cease and MB1600 in Pro-Mix BX and HP with Biofungicide. All of these products are labeled to suppress or control root diseases. Cease and Companion can also be applied above ground for Botrytis and powdery mildew and they are the only biological products effective for preventing certain bacterial leaf spots. After application B. subtilis colonizes roots, adjacent media or foliage. Disease control is achieved through production of antibiotics, pathogen displacement and enhanced crop immunity. As with RootShield, it is important that treatment begin early. Drench applications should be repeated at 3 - 4 week intervals and sprays at 7 days or less. Cease and Companion are compatible with most pesticides and fertilizers, but should not be mixed with copper based, acidic or oxidizing products.
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GRIFFIN GAZETTE SUMMER 2009 ISSUE
Disease Management article continued from previous page. Streptomyces lydicus strain WYEC108 is a naturally occurring bacterium that is commonly found in soil environments. It is the most recently discovered biocontrol agent and contained in Actinovate SP and Actino-Iron. S. lydicus works by similar modes of action as T. harzianum and B. subtilis. Both control root pathogens, but Actinovate SP is also labeled for foliar applications. Actino-Iron must either be mixed into media or topdressed. Shelf life for both products is approximately 18 months. Beneficial microbes represent one of three media properties. The others are physical and chemical. Understanding each of these and their interaction is critical for production of healthy crops and profitability. In the next edition of GGSPro Magazine we will consider these properties, identifying problems and practical steps to resolve them.
Griﬃn starts their Expo Season oﬀ with a new show in Georgia. A huge thank you is in order for everyone involved in Griffin’s first Expo at its newest branch facility in Ball Ground, Georgia. It was a beautiful Georgia day on June 10th when 155 growers enjoyed a day full of…well, just about everything imaginable. The branch warehouse played host to 18 vendors with table top product displays supported by individualized technical discussions. Customers in attendance hailed from Georgia and the neighboring states of Tennessee, South Carolina, and Alabama. Two Griffin buses were needed to bring people from the Knoxville, Tennessee area. Once on site, attendees had access to educational seminars, the trade show, food and refreshment, and some off-the-hook raffle prizes. The educational program included presentations on “Plants for 2010, Fresh from the California Pack Trials” and two more topics for Pesticide Credits; “Exciting New Chemistry from OHP” and “Insect and Mite Control for Greenhouses”. All three sessions were very popular and required additional chairs to accommodate customer interest. A fabulous Georgia luncheon barbecue was served, right down to the final detail of peach cobbler for desert. Raffle prizes included a 42 inch flat screen TV won by Paul Long of Red Bud Lane. The grand prize, a set of NASCAR tickets to the Pep Boys Auto 500 outing at the Atlanta Motor Speedway was won by Shannon Lynn of Open arms Care.
Save the date for the 2009 Griﬃn Grower Expo in your area Griffin Northern Grower Expo August 26, 2009 Eastern States Exposition Center The Better Living Center Building - West Springfield, MA Griffin Southern Grower Expo September 23, 2009 Lancaster Host Resort - Lancaster, PA
Call to Pre-Register at: 866.307.8142
All who attended appreciated the hospitality of the Griffin and vendor participants and commented on how informative and rewarding the day was. All of us at Griffin want to take this opportunity to thank all of those who attended the Griffin Georgia Expo and welcome everyone in the southeast region to the family. Plans are in the works for a bigger expo in 2010. We will keep you posted.
Is Branding For You? One of the most compelling sales promotions that you can present to your customers is the “Branding” of specific product lines. In our case this involves the branding of containers for the quality plants we grow and sell. Branding has been around for a very long time and the actual word always makes me think of “Coke”. Not sure why this one item is the one I think of at first because there are so many “old” brands that we remember as kids that are still going very strong today. Why is it that Coca-Cola has been so successful and so many other cola vendors have come and gone by the wayside over the years? The reason that Coca-Cola has been successful is that they had a good product to begin with, they had great creative marketing and they constantly grew the sale of their core product while adding and experimenting with other “Coke” options to gain more shelve space which in turn gained more of the market share. The goals of branding your product: product identification; to gain repeat sales and to add additional sales with “new” product offerings under that brand. You need to consider these elements and determine how best to accomplish what you will gain by branding. So, are you ready for a branding program or are you looking to expand on your current branding offerings? Do you want to go with a “National” brand or do you want to create your own “Private” brand? Many of our customers have found a unique niche offering both a national brand and their own private brand. This allows for taking advantage of the national marketing promotions as well as promoting the value of your very own personalized brand. The list of advantages and disadvantages to each need to be considered before you make your decision. Once you make this decision it is important that everyone on your staff buys into the program or programs to assure complete success.
National Branding Programs Advantages • Strong advertising campaigns using publication and media outlets. • Creates interest and helps to develop strong consumer loyalties. • A good solid program will attract new customers and give you instant credibility. • Are usually assisted with quality support material like posters, banners, and signage. • If product is of poor quality, then customer will pick another plant but still remain loyal to you. • Burden of costly development of brand is handled by them. Minimums for ordering are generally lower because of mass production. Disadvantages • Identical product can be found at your competitors. • Generally means that margins are less and the worry is that there is pressure to mark down to compete with above situation.
By Scott Baker, Regional Sales Manager
• Worry that the national brand might someday go direct to your customer or to a discount store. • Lack of national consumer support might lead to elimination or support of the brand.
Private Branding Programs Advantages • You can generally earn higher profits on your own brand because it is exclusive to your business; there is less need to discount because of competition. • No need to worry about the National brand disappearing or selling direct. • The private brand can only be found at your locations. • When the consumer responds to your private brand, they become tied to your business for the future because of the benefits gained. • Every private branded product that leaves your store becomes a silent sales tool for all who see the branded item, this additional advertising value is immeasurable. Disadvantages • The private brand is a bit more costly initially, as minimum quantities are required and initial art work and plate developments need to be addressed. • Generally takes a little bit of time to develop a private brand and gain credibility momentum with your customers. • The quality of a private brand should always be equal or superior to a similar national brand at your facility. If you think you are ready for a private brand, than you need to determine exactly what you want your brand to accomplish. You need to develop your brand identity. • What will the main feature be, will it be an existing logo or will you want to create another whole new logo? • Do you want it simple with a short marketing message or do you want artistic or intricate design work? • Do you want to include your address, phone number or your web site? • How many colors do you want to incorporate? • You need to be sure that the artwork can be backed up with good marketing for your advertising requirements. We at Griffin’s have been working with a couple of great vendors who do a terrific job at branding containers. They offer in-house graphic design work, inkjet printing and offset printing with up to 6 vibrant colors. It is important to remember that the best quality branding is done only on round containers. Either injection or thermoform pots work well. The branding of a square pot is best done with an adhesive label. Generally the best color combinations work best on a white or very light colored container. It can be challenging to use multiple colors on a dark pot because of the color “bleed” through. We look forward to assist you in a custom labeling or printing of your very own “Brand”. Please be sure to ask your outside sales or customer service representative on how to get started. Ask to see some samples of branded containers that we have done for other customers.
GRIFFIN GAZETTE SUMMER 2009 ISSUE
New Lower Prices on products from Advancing Alternatives!
Windjammer Series 5000
High Tunnel Performance • Structures include a straight 4’, or optional 6’, tall side wall
Advancing Alternatives announces that they lowered their prices on the Greenhouse and Dairy Ventilation Curtain packages, extrusions, zig zag wire and s-hooks.
• A 30’ wide structure, with 6’ side walls, provides 16’ at the peak • Additional height improves growing environments • Taller structures increase ventilation efficiency • Comes in 5 widths: 16', 20', 24', 30', 35'
They have also added 4 new products which they believe will be a great addition to their product line!!! Please contact your Griffin Sales Person for an Advancing Alternatives catalog addendum with updated grower pricing.
• Call for pricing
GriffinGazette P.O. Box 36, Tewksbury, MA 01876-0036 www.griffins.com
Flat Fillers 5% of purchase price will be applied toward freight charges through October 1, 2009.
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