Marshall Grain Co. in Grapevine, Texas, is planning to expand its landscaping division in 2018.
PHOTO: ADOBE STOCK

Last month, we wanted to know what our readers planned to do differently with their businesses in the new year. Whether it’s a new department, a fresh marketing strategy or a new calendar event, we were curious to know what 2018 held for IGCs across the country.

Grand undertakings aren’t always the only option when considering the coming year, however. Every step forward, no matter the size, is a step in the right direction.

At Marshall Grain Co. in Grapevine, Texas, plans for 2018 include a renewed focus on expanding the retailer’s fledgling landscaping division, which it launched in 2015.

“Not too long ago, we launched a landscape division, and we’re putting a lot of effort into growing that,” says Joyce Connelley, who co-owns the business with her husband, Jim. “It takes a while to get it off the ground and get some traction. We’re definitely trying to grow both the store and the landscape [service].”

Connelley says that in 2018, Marshall Grain Co. plans to bolster its landscaping staff and dedicate more marketing resources to boost revenues from the new department.

“At the moment, we have one designer and one landscape team, and we want to grow that. So we’re going to do a lot of marketing, and we’re also going to be looking for key people to fill a couple of positions that we need to fill in order to make it grow,” she says. “We hope to do a lot more revenue in that department than we have in the past.”

Marshall Grain Co. is far from the only garden retailer to branch out into landscaping services in an attempt to diversify its revenue streams.

Seasonality is a major contributing factor, as IGCs contend with slow business in winter — as well as in the summer, in some cases.

“I think you have to [diversify], as a garden center. [The retail business] is so seasonal, you have to have something else to get you through the winter,” Connelley says. “Here, we have two slow seasons, because we have the middle of winter and also, the middle of summer get so hot here in Texas that nobody wants to be outside gardening when it’s 110 [degrees].”

Whatever they plan to pursue in the new year, we wish all of our readers the very best for their coming spring seasons and the rest of 2018.