- 27 September 2012
The 2012 International Garden Centre Association Congress took place at the end of August in the Cologne & Bonn regions of Germany. The 54th holding of the congress attracted delegates from garden centres from all around the world including Australia, Japan, USA, Canada, South Africa, Russia and many European countries. The congress offers a unique opportunity for garden centre owners and managers to view, share knowledge and discuss the best practises in the garden centre industry worldwide. It was notable at the congress that despite the wide geographical spread of the delegates in attendance the individual situations and issues discussed were very similar.
Manager of Horticulture Bord Bia
The congress visited nine garden centres which varied in size and product offerings & range. The region of Germany in which the congress was held has a major population so not surprisingly many of the centres were quite large. The garden centres visited had a total area range from 10,000 to 30,000 square metres with the covered sales area ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 square metres and the open sales area ranging from 1,300 to 6,000 square metres. The plant range, quality and presentation was very impressive in many of the centres and price points in general were good value for the plants on sale. The sale of plants as a proportion of total sales varied from 40% to 60% across the centres visited. The restaurant facilities & offerings varied across the centres and did not seem to be a major focus in a number of them. The restaurant sales as a proportion of total sales reported seemed in most cases to be in the single percentage category. It was notable in the centres prominent promotional displays around seasonal themes (eg Autumn/harvest time) and the sale of fresh produce/food products from the local region.
An interesting element of the congress was a visit to the facility where the German garden centre association operate a joint online shop for its members. It is a relatively new initiative with on line sales only beginning in 2011 with some 20 garden centres participating. It will be interesting to see how this initiative progresses over time.
In August 2014 the International Garden Centre Congress will be held in Ireland which will be a major event and opportunity for the garden centre and horticulture industry. Bord Bia is working closely with the Irish Garden Centre Association in planning for the event. Bord Bia will also be a sponsor for the congress.
Source: HortiTrends News Room