Indie Traveler - Ohio

From: IGC Retailer, IGC Show Preview, 2013

Indie Traveler - Ohio
Natorp's Nursery Outlet
8601 Snider Road, Mason, OH

Natorp's Nursery Outlet's new retail concept is streamlining operations and creating a standout shopping experience that will bring customers back season after season. The company decided to shed its two retail garden centers and focus on its 150-acre nursery, where customers can shop among a million plants during the fall and spring seasons. Natorp's adopted the model last autumn after seeing its weeklong fall outlet sale make more money than one of its retail locations did in a year. The new approach draws customers by giving them a vast selection of green goods on demand and better quality, since the plants are maintained on-site by growers and therefore do not suffer transport shock.

Customer service at Natorp's is amped up, too. Since the retail staff no longer has to worry about plant maintenance, they can focus exclusively on customers during the six weeks in the fall and 13 weeks in the spring the outlet is open. With so many plants to choose from, Natorp's makes sure to have a greeter who explains the outlet concept and points shoppers in the right direction when they walk in. Horticulturalists are staffed throughout to help, too, and are available year-round by cell phone or e-mail to help ensure customers' success in the garden.

Berns Garden Center & Landscaping
3776 Indian Ripple Road, Beavercreek, OH

Berns Garden Center & Landscaping leases about 800 square feet of space at its Beavercreek location to Busy Bee Cafe, and it is registering more sales from the relationship. With the cafe's Wi-Fi offering and cozy atmosphere, customers linger at lunch and end up shopping the store. The garden center capitalizes on the connection by cross-promoting the cafe on its website and in its advertising. For its part, the family-owned eatery hosts events like garden club meetings after hours, which bring in customers, and it offers catering for special events at the garden center.

Opened in the fall of 2011, Busy Bee Cafe serves coffee and tea, along with sandwiches hot off the grill and homemade baked items from local entrepreneurs. Specialty items like gourmet candy apples are also on the menu. The cafe, open Wednesday through Sunday, is growing and has plans to expand to seven days a week.

Willoway Nurseries
4534 Center Road, Avon, OH

At Willoway Nurseries, four plant transport robots are stabilizing labor costs and working so well, the wholesale grower is looking at buying two more. Willoway bought the robots from Harvest Automation for $30,000 each last September after testing them for about a year. The battery-operated machines can handle moving pots up to 20 pounds, and their precise placement of containers helps maximize space efficiency in Willoway's greenhouses. Other 'bot benefits include their ability to work with the plants after pesticides are sprayed, as well as while the sprinklers are on.

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