looking for New Ideas to Draw people to green house

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by thefarm, Dec 28, 2003.

  1. thefarm

    thefarm Well-Known Member

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    We are going to add on to our green house and looking for some ideas to draw people in. We are very remote I do use signs but was thinking I needed more.Last year was my first year and we did pretty good but I want to do even better this year ,so I'm trying to plan out things now. I would like to open on Mother's Day. I'm looking for something that's not going to cost alot. If I put it in the paper that cost. I'm haveing a new state sign put up on a well traveled road.Brenda :)
     
  2. Katherine in KY

    Katherine in KY Well-Known Member

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    How about offering a free plant to all visitors on one specific day? Make it something that doesn't cost you much--like mint from cuttings or a flower easily grown from inexpensive seed. If you did an herb you could also offer something to eat or drink--like mint tea or cookies. You can also offer short demos throughout the day--how to start seeds, take cuttings, plant a strawberry pot, etc. You might get newspaper coverage about the planned day.
     

  3. diane

    diane Well-Known Member

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    I would think, depending on what you are growing in your greenhouse, you would want to aim for the Mother's Day market. Any of the greenhouses around here that do well have flowers etc. ready for Mother's Day.
     
  4. thefarm

    thefarm Well-Known Member

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    I will be having annuals-herbs-veggies-perennial. I will be the only greenhouse in the area, the next one would be about 11 miles away.. Brenda
    :)
     
  5. sunflowers are big in this area- grow different varieties in pots and have them for sale and put a bunch of them around your signs to draw attention! They will.
     
  6. vtfarma

    vtfarma Well-Known Member

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    How about a class in live wreath making, or seed starting, or herb gardening. We have several out of the way greenhouses that have developed their businesses and gained a great deal of name recognition by doing this. It works great. The classes cost 25 to 30 or so for the wreath if I remember right and less for the smaller informational classes.

    Good luck
     
  7. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

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    I just heard of one this afternoon a friend has seen these attract attention at a greenhouse stand.

    Take a 12" PVC pipe (any length, but these were tall), cut holes in the sides, fill with medium and plant the holes with colorful annuals. The place didn't even sell them, but the towers of color were so striking from the road that it drew people in. I would imagine they would even sell for quite a bit....
     
  8. Browsercat

    Browsercat Well-Known Member

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    Master Gardener clinic draws folks; previous class ideas are great; how about one on herbal teas, with samples to taste? Or 'plants for a Victorian tussie mussie'? Or making a growing basket of flowers for Mom, especially if you can get kids in that, and open shortly before Mother's Day?
     
  9. thefarm

    thefarm Well-Known Member

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    My problem is I'm very remote all county folk.No big city around I'm getting ready to start My Master Garden Class this week. On the pvc that sounds great I think I will try a few but nobody can see the green house and it's behind my house in the woods also. Let me point out I live on a dirt rd and have a 500 ft driveway and greenhouse sets behind the house. So what will bring people in is signs and I have to put signs 2-3- miles away to put up signs.But I feel I need more than that because there are so many farmers around me people grow there gown we don't have a store we can hop in a car and go to we have to travel. And give away a plant that's a great Idea also. Everything sounds great.. Brenda
     
  10. Jo in PA

    Jo in PA Well-Known Member

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    I work at a greenhouse that is very remote like you are. I have some suggestions for when you can afford to advertise. My boss puts a small ad in the paper right before Mothers Day. It only costs her about $7 or $8 dollars. She also advertises at the local radio station. Now this is a little country radio station that is only AM. She started to advertise there when she first opened. The radio announcer is the owner (that's how small of a station this is). The owner/announcer of the station came to her greenhouse when she started to advertise with him and she gave him all of his plants he wanted and till this day she still does! And in return he gives her ALOT of free advertisement, even though she still pays for her regular spot. Since this is such a small country radio station the owner/annoucer does alot of talking on the station he will mention that he was at the greenhouse and will tell the listeners that he was at the greenhouse and the him and Bonnie (the owner of the greenhouse) had a nice conversion and he will tell all about what he saw at the greenhouse. It's great all the free advertising she gets from this man. And it's all because she gives him all his plants free. Is there a small radio station near you. I would think a short ad wouln't cost a whole lot and maybe you could make friends with the owner like my boss did.

    She also pots up a bunch of free plants in a small single pot and gives one to each customer as a thank you. Just pot up what ever you have a bunch of that you would have thrown out because they over germinated and you don't need anymore of. You wouldn't believe the people who come back each year who look forward to getting the free plant.

    But the most important thing you can do to make you greenhouse a success is to be available to your customers. She has had so many people tell her that they won't go back to so and so's greenhouse because they were rude and wouldn't help them. When people check out she make sure the people know how to care for the plants they are buying. She makes sure they know a plant is to be planted in the sun or shade. She wants the people to be successful growing their plant when they get home or often they blame the place where they got the plant at if it doesn't grow right, even though they didn't care for it right or plant it in the right place. She always ask if someone needs help when they are at the greenhouse looking and she spends as much time needed with each customer too as they need to make them feel special. Also, make sure you know as much as you can about each plant you are selling. People like it when you can tell them about the plant they are buying. She also sells alot of annuals that other greenhouses don't offer. We get alot of people who will drive past several other greenhouses just to come to my boss's because of the unusual plants she offers. She started out 7 years ago with one greenhouse. She had been so successful that she now has 4 greenhouses and over an acre of perannuals! But the thing I want to stress the most that I have seen that has contributed to her success is to take care of you customers not matter if they only buy one thing or alot. If they are happy they will come back and most times will bring a friend. Good luck with your greenhouse.
     
  11. thefarm

    thefarm Well-Known Member

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    Thanks I have printed this off and will use the great advise. We also Have a small radio station near by. I would Like to know what she has for different annuals? that would be a great draw.. thanks again.. Brenda :)
     
  12. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    Here's something that won't cost a penny..tell us where you are!
     
  13. Nancy in Maine

    Nancy in Maine Well-Known Member

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    I'd do whatever I had other talents for. Combine and take advantage of what you already know.

    Like if you made soap, for example, mix up some soaps using your own herbs. Maybe you could print up some cards with various soap recipes using herbs you sell.

    Let's see.....I'm an artist so I might make up some gift tags or garden markers or Mother's Day cards!

    I like the idea of giving out a free potted plant to mothers. I also like to bake, so maybe I'd make up some cinnamon rolls (they freeze well and can be made in advance) and some home grown tea herbal tea. Boy, couldn't you really pamper Mom!

    Do you have animals? Maybe a small animal petting zoo for kids......there's a farm up the road from me. They've planted apple trees but I don't think they are quite mature. It's a beautiful looking farm with horses. This past summer they opened a very successful ice cream parlor (homemade ice cream--delicious!) using the front of the barn. They had small animals like goats in pens where people could visit them off to the side of the parking lot. Whatever these people do I'm sure it'll be successful. They just seem to have a knack for appealing to the public.

    I'm not sure I'm being a bit of help here. Just trying to brainstorm. The thing I'd concentrate on is something I know I could do. And if something caught on it could grow into a side business
     
  14. thefarm

    thefarm Well-Known Member

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  15. Nancy in Maine

    Nancy in Maine Well-Known Member

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    No, sorry, I don't know who might be able to print labels. If I needed a print job done, I'd check with a local print shop and I guess I'd start with the yellow pages. If I made soap, I'd do my own artwork and find a way to print my own. I've seen some nice looking labels done on home computers. There's a lady who lives about 5 miles from me who makes soap and makes her own labels. All she does is make a strip to wrap around the bar, with the name of the soap, an appropriate graphic that can be gotten from Print Shop software or a similar program. She simply tapes the label in place. Then she tucks the soap and label into a small plastic bag that seems to be made specifically for soaps. It's the perfect size.

    That's an example of a label it seems most anyone could do. There's a soap company in Winterport that makes soap. (I bought their peppermint soap at a craft fair and loved it!) They use a local artist and have boxes printed. Here's a link to their page: http://www.winterportsoapworks.com/
    It must be fairly economical to have them printed. They sell their soap for $4.50/bar, I think. I don't know what you would sell yours for, but that's a fairly typical price for hand made specialty soaps. Maybe a bit on the high side.

    Do you suppose if you found a local printer, they would either have information on various packaging, or could find out for you?
     
  16. thefarm

    thefarm Well-Known Member

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    Nancy in Maine] Thanks for the info I did think about making my own labels but didn't know how to go about it. I checked that web site out cute. They sure had a great Idea with that moose.. Thanks.. Brenda :)
     
  17. I have both worked in and owned a greenhouse business. I always offered Mother's Day specials which only children could buy, very cheaply. Of course dad had to bring them and always bought something too. The kids and I always had fun and the paper will pick up the story! I also offered decorative pots, seasonal decorations (scarecrows, etc) and any other goodies I could pick up cheaply and resell. Lots of people beneft from having a reason to stay a few more mins and chat and look a little further. The business I worked in opened for a week before Christmas and sold herbs and ivy, many as topiaries. After 3-4 yrs most of them were sold in advance and only had to be picked up. We didn't do any of the warmth loving holiday plants. Offer to visit the local elementary schools and tell the kids about plants and how they grow. Give the kids a plant with a card attached with business info on it.
    Lots of the cos that do address labels will print anything you want on them that will fit in the space. I used ones with cottages on them since I specialized in perennial flowers. Also gifts to local senior housing and nursing homes help too. Prune back the things you don't sell and take them in off season, otherwise they'd be compost for you, instead they make people happy and advertise your business.

    Those were fun times and they made money too!

    Liz

    Liz
     
  18. Jack in VA

    Jack in VA Well-Known Member

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    Keep these two facts in mind: It's ten times easier to sell to existing customers than to find new ones , and the best way to get new ones is by referrals.
    Become friends with your customers. Get to know them and let them know you. Have a mailing list(including E-mail address).Create a simple newsletter that features "specials" and growing tips , etc. Have a questionaire to see what people want and what they think. Reward them for filling it out. Offer coupons that they can give to friends that reward the giver and reciever.
    Give volume discounts. If you have access to materials , have piles of soil amendments(organic) and maybe include a certain amount with purchase(the more you buy , the more you get). Learn about the local growing conditions and cater to it. Give away all the info and knowledge you can.Maybe a print out for every plant you sell. Be an expert on everything you grow.Sell exotics that no one else sells. Suggest growing things that they may have never tried , and give them all the reasons to try.
    I could go on , but dwell on these ideas .
     
  19. Jo in PA

    Jo in PA Well-Known Member

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    She sells so many annuals I will try to tell you about them. I do all the transplanting, but I work with so many plants I can't always remember them all! She has several different types of petunias in different colors and styles. The yellow ones are a good seller as no one in our area sells them. She sells several different types of snapdragons and Marigolds. I think we have at least 8 to 10 different types of each in different colors and sizes. In both types of plants I have noticed the medium size sells best. The above mentioned plants we start from seed. We also have begonias and impatients in various colors. These we get in as plugs. The large impatients and the fancier ones don't sell well in our area. I think it's because the normal size plants we put in six packs and the larger ones we have to put in a 4 inch pot and sell for more due to the price she pays. She sells spikes in a 4 inch pot and these we always sell out. The spikes we get in as small bare root plants and pot. She gets in geranuims as plugs and I repot. We have found that the red ones sell the best as we always sell out. People will buy the pinks and white ones too, but not as well. The fancy ones do not sell well but she gets them in for the customers who want them. We also have lantaias, million bells, cockscomb, sunflowers (these sold really well last year), firecracker plant, flowering cabbages, flowering kale, flowering maples, bacopes, morning glories, dahilas, annual grasses, ivy, alysumm, zinnas (these are hard to get started in a greenhouse but sell well), ageratum, coleus, painted tongue, cosmos, dianthus,vinca, dusy miller, lobella, nasturtium, nicotiana, supertunias, phlox, moon vine, portulaca, salvia, fuchsia, static, strawflowers, sweetpea, verbena, bacopa, coreopsis, cleome, four o'clocks, castor bean plant and others I just can't remember right now.

    She also tries to have different types of planters each year. Last year she planted the plastic bird baths with a spike in the middle and differnt plants around it. Some were made for shade and some were made for the sun. She also buys different planters like chickens, swans, bears, sheep, etc.... and plants some for shade and some for the sun.
    She also plants all types of planters that you can sit on your patio or anywhere else you would like. She always try to have several different things each year to get her customers to come back. But the most important thing I have seen her do is to bend over backwards to make her customers happy. She started with one greenhouse 7 years ago and now has 4! Each year she has new customers and they bring their friends. They always comment on how nice the place looks. That's one of my jobs. I am always pinching dead flowers off and moving things around to make the place look nice. Sure hope this helps you out.
     
  20. Jack in VA

    Jack in VA Well-Known Member

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