Each year, Garden Center magazine publishes articles about some of the businesses that appear on our annual Top 100 Independent Garden Centers List. As independents, each company has its own individual approach to business management, marketing, customer service and hiring, and there is a lot we can all learn from the stories of these companies, from No. 1 to 100.

However, there were some key commonalities in what garden center leaders shared during our conversations. Educating customers through workshops, seminars, new services and specialized departments has been a focus for many.

Another topic brought up often was weather, as many areas of the country experienced an unusually long, cold winter, followed by one of the hottest, driest summers many could recall. The garden center representatives we spoke to shared strategies to combat the unpredictable climate and other challenges they face, and also suggested other ideas for success this year and beyond. We thank everyone for their time and for contributing their stories to this very important, special issue.

No. 7  | Stauffers of Kissel Hill
No. 10 | English Gardens
No. 15 | Homestead Gardens
No. 19 | Molbak’s Garden + Home
No. 23 | American Plant
No. 26 | Portland Nursery
No. 41 | Vandermeer Nursery
No. 47 | Glover Nursery
No. 49 | Echter's Nursery and Garden Center
No. 62 | Breezewood Gardens & Gifts
No. 62 | Tallahassee Nurseries
No. 74 | Country Boy’s Home & Garden Center
No. 78 | Martin’s Home & Garden
No. 79 | Begick Nursery and Garden Center
No. 91 | Baker Garden & Gift
No. 93 | White Oak Gardens
No. 94 | Bedner’s Farm & Greenhouse

The following people contributed articles to this issue: Michelle Simakis is editor and Conner Howard is associate editor of Garden Center magazine. Samantha Cottrill interned with the GIE Media Horticulture Group during the summer of 2018. Brooke Bilyj is a freelance writer living in Cleveland and a frequent contributor to Garden Center and GIE Media Horticulture Group publications. Jolene Hansen is a frequent contributor to Garden Center and GIE Media Horticulture Group publications. Reach her at jolene@lovesgarden.com.