Garden center owners and managers from around the United States came to The Garden Center Group’s 2017 Fall Event to learn new strategies for success, and that’s what they got — through workshops, collaborative sessions and group discussions. They also had a chance to learn first-hand from prominent retailers in the Burlington, Vt., area during a Sept. 20 tour. Each of the three companies (and four facilities) featured on the tour presented a different approach to garden retail and stood out in their own ways.

See more takeaways from the Vermont IGCs tour here.

Claussen’s Florist, Greenhouse & Perennial Farm

The growing operation at Claussen’s is aided by a private solar panel array in the rear of the property, which provides around $2,500 worth of electricity monthly.
CONNER HOWARD
As a prolific grower-retailer, Claussen’s Florist, Greenhouse & Perennial Farm promotes its house-grown perennial crops with special promotions like this buy-one-get-one offer.
CONNER HOWARD
When plant crops grown at Claussen’s are complete, customers are welcome to walk through the production greenhouses to pick potted plants right off the benches. Signage guides shoppers to the right plants to suit their needs.
CONNER HOWARD

Gardener’s Supply Company

As a 100 percent employee-owned business, Gardener’s Supply Company promotes this fact with signage that puts a face (or several faces) to the retailer’s leadership.
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This eclectic plant mannequin welcomed guests to “The Conservatory,” a boutique-style wing of Gardener’s Supply Company’s Williston location. It’s accompanied by the framed Penelope Hobhouse quote: “Gardens are the result of a collaboration between art and nature.”
CONNER HOWARD
Being situated adjacent to a public farm and garden at the retailer’s Intervale location, it’s natural for Gardener’s Supply Company to focus on education and environmental awareness with its signage. This sign in the public garden area near the store includes basic facts about the pollinators in the area.
CONNER HOWARD

Horsford Gardens & Nursery

History is a strong part of the Horsford identity. The 124-year-old grower-retailer shows off its roots by growing plant stock in long-standing greenhouse structures, some of them more than a century old.
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Browsing through Horsford Gardens & Nursery’s plant displays gives shoppers a decidedly relaxed and outdoorsy feeling. This farm-like atmosphere is enhanced by additional touches like this bench swing, where customers can rest in the shade.
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Signage and tags are kept to a minimum at Horsford Gardens & Nursery, but a few helpful signposts point the way to different sections of the property and aid the exploration process.

CONNER HOWARD