The Q&A Archives: Preparing to Open a Garden Store

Question: My wife and I have been talking about this long enough and have decided to make the leap and open a garden store. Our plans are to open in a couple of months and so we are digging for as much information as possible. Our goal is to carry unique items,we don't want to compete with hardware stores or nursuries. Part of our store will be a gallery for sculptors, potters, and other artisans that concentrate on garden art. We will also carry some other items to help gardeners in the way of books and some hand tools. Any suggestions you have to help us find information to get started would be appreciated (ie. marketing information, products, artists, and/or companies). Thank you in advance. Jeff McInnis

Answer: Consider attending some trade shows and flower shows, to get an idea of what's out there. The National Hardware Show in Chicago in August has a large section devoted to "Home and Garden". It is sponsored by the American Hardware Manufacturers Association; their number is 708/605-1025. The New England Flower Show will be held March 8-16; the contact number is 617/536-9280. Other organizations to contact include: The American Horticultural Society at 703/768-5700, Garden Supply Retailer -- a monthly magazine -- Miller Publishing Co., 12400 Whitewater Dr. Ste 160, Minnetonka, MN 55343, Garden Centers of America (a trade association) 202/789-2900. Also, consider visiting the gift shops at local parks and botanical gardens.

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