Michelle Simakis
KEN BLAZE

Think back to when you had to go to the grocery store, bank or on other errands with your parents when you were a child. Some memories are still vivid for me, like the special, kid-sized carts at the grocery store, or the huge glass jar of Dum Dums that was waiting for me each time I went to the bank with my mom. I even remember being upset the first time my mom said we were using the drive-thru instead of going into the bank. That was until I saw my mom’s check weave through the pneumatic tubes. I was even more delighted when the teller noticed me in the car and sent me one of the little lollipops with my mom’s receipt.

Banks provide boring, stale customer experiences at best. They are places to get in, get things done and get out. But they still make kids feel special. Retail garden centers, on the other hand, are beautiful escapes many adults want to spend time in. I know you’ve heard it from your customers: many consider your stores a retreat and a sanctuary from the chaos of life and the cold of winter.

But what about kids? Sure, kids are enamored by plants. I’ve watched my nieces and nephews literally stop to smell the flowers and pet their leaves. However, running errands with mom and dad isn’t enticing on the surface, and retailers have to sweeten the deal to keep kids – and thus their busy parents – happy.

This issue features three articles all about catering to youngsters with products, plants and places just for them. You’ll read about a handful of garden centers that put a lot of thought and consideration into the customer experience of its pint-sized shoppers, and go to great lengths to make their stores kid-friendly. We also share ideas about the best plants and products for children that evoke their senses and their imaginations. Finally, we reveal the latest ideas and products from IPM Essen that may stop kids in their tracks.

By providing a space just for kids at your garden center, you make them happy, and you make it convenient for parents to shop. It’s just one more incentive for busy adults to think of you, stop by and see what’s new.

Michelle Simakis
msimakis@gie.net