Brewing Garden Center Success

By Abby Kleckler
Managing Editor, Lawn & Garden Retailer

Husband-and-wife team Amanda and Pat Weakland started their first horticulture adventure together with the opening of a mobile greenhouse in 1991. Their history in the industry, however, dates back before then.

Pat is a third-generation grower, and his parents operate The Flower Bin, a garden center staple in the Longmont, Colorado, community for more than 40 years.

Pat and Amanda sold some of the family product in their Windsor, Colorado, mobile greenhouse for 10 years until they decided the town had reached a point where it was big enough to support a garden center. The Windsor Gardener, a permanent structure, opened in 2001, and the Weaklands started growing at their own location.

Fast forward another decade, and Amanda and Pat have added a very unique component to the business: a brewery.

“You can kind of get in a rut in the garden center business, and it’s hard to keep things new and exciting,” Amanda says. “The brewery really does this for us.”

Lawn & Garden Retailer caught up with Amanda to talk about how the businesses are integrated, and how the brewery has given new life to the garden center and vice versa.

L&GR: How did the idea of starting a brewery at the garden center come about?

Amanda Weakland: My husband has always been an avid homebrewer and he had trouble getting hops in 2007, so we figured we had a garden center and we may as well just grow our own hops.

We have 16 acres just on the edge of town, so we started growing our own hops and all the homebrewers wanted to grow their own too, so we started selling hop plants. We have about 50 varieties of brewing hops that we sell to homebrewers through the garden center and over the internet.

We sold the hop plants, and they’re all females, so they’re all good, specific homebrewing plants that aren’t cross-pollinated.

Everybody loved that, so we put in a homebrew shop in the greenhouse because we needed some fall sales and homebrewing really picks up during the fall because the weather gets cool enough.

With that we were giving classes and were giving samples of the beer that we made, and everybody loved it, so we were like, “Well, let’s put a brewery in.”

So we put a brewery in and we started with a little 400-square-foot tasting room. We thought that would be fine, it would be a little brewery, and we’d just have fun, but it has exploded from there.

We have an outdoor patio and in the winter we convert one of our greenhouses into an indoor beer garden. Our community has really embraced us and supported us, and it’s been a great melding of two businesses.

Our tasting room is in the greenhouse, and you can’t walk around with your beer, but we have kind of a false wall between them with big open windows with no glass, so you can sit there and drink beer and look at the items that we have for sale in the greenhouse, which promotes sales on the garden center side.

A lot of husband/wife teams will come, and the husband will have a beer when the wife shops.

Although, recently, we have a lot more women drinkers too, so we’re kind of getting known for that.

It’s a great mixing of businesses, and in the research we did when we put the homebrew shop in, we found that 80 to 85 percent of gardeners drink beer, so it’s a no-brainer.

L&GR: With the added brewing business, are you seeing different demographics of people?

Weakland: Oh yes, definitely! We’re seeing a huge increase in 25 to 30 year-olds, in the greenhouse especially. They’re the ones who go to the breweries anyway, so we’re seeing that crossover into the greenhouse, which is awesome. They’re all getting into gardening and vegetable gardening, so we can help them.

Our demographic has changed. It was getting to be the older patrons, and so we brought in those younger people.

We have a Hop Harvest event that brings in gardeners and beer drinkers. We cut down our hops and have contests. We harvest the hops by pulling the flower off because we’re so small, so we don’t have machines.

We have a lot of things like, “buy a 12-inch basket or bigger and get a free pint” or “buy a Christmas tree, get a free pint.”

Any classes we have it’s nice because it’s fun to drink a beer while you’re gardening. The cost includes a beer (or root beer if you’re not a drinker).

We do a lot of cross marketing. We also have live music on Friday and Saturday nights the whole year-round, which doesn’t really cross between the two businesses, but we get a lot of people in.

The brewery absolutely provides a reason to heat that big greenhouse, which in our position it’s really difficult to keep money coming in during the winter.

We also grow things in the greenhouse that we use in our beers. Lemon verbena goes into The Golden One, and we cross the businesses that way. We try to utilize farm-to-table ideas.

All the habaneros in our Habanero Honey that we recently released were grown on site. My dad actually grew them.

L&GR: I noticed on your social media channels that you have a lot of engagement on the High Hops page. Have you combined your marketing efforts as well?

Weakland: Our High Hops and Windsor Gardener pages were integrated, so that’s how we have so many followers on the High Hops page. Brewery people are totally Facebook/social media nerds. They are on social media constantly, so that really bumps up the likes and communication for that; whereas I find that the gardeners aren’t so much.

That’s that demographic difference too, so we actually utilize our garden center Facebook through the High Hops page, and we get tons of feedback on that. That’s another way we integrate both.

We have a huge email base from our loyalty system through our greenhouse, and they usually give us their email, so we have a biweekly email for the garden center in the off seasons (it’s weekly during season), and we have a weekly email through the brewery.

I think we have about 9,000 emails, so that’s a huge marketing tool that we have which actually started with the greenhouse. That’s been huge for us. We try to keep our emails short and to the point. You get tons of emails so we do what’s happening or what you should do now in your yard, ad we’ve gotten a great response on that. That’s our most successful. It really is.

It’s a big family affair. My son is our head brewer. My husband and I have been in the business for forever. My daughter is a teacher but works in the greenhouse in the summer. My daughter-in-law works in the tasting room, which we call the Hop Hut because we’re High Hops.

Our businesses are also really closely integrated in that many of our employees work in both places, so we help out each other. They are very integrated, literally in the same space.

(Article provided by Lawn & Garden Retailer)

Scotts Spring Lawn Care Tips

Tackling spring lawn care provides a dose of fresh air, sunshine, and exercise—and sets lawns on their way to season-long glory. Spring lawn chores aren’t difficult, but they do play a vital role in getting grass on track for a healthy, productive growing season.

Here are our top spring lawn care tips:

Early Spring

Mower Tune Up. Change the oil, air filter, and spark plug. Clean the top and undercarriage, removing dirt and grass clippings. Just be sure to detach the spark plug wire before working around the cutting blade. Don’t flip a gas mower over to clean underneath; simply lift one side and brush away dried grass. If dried grass has hardened, loosen with a hand trowel or putty knife. Sharpen the mower blade, and replace it if it has large nicks or gouges. It’s a good idea to keep an extra blade on hand so you always cut with a sharp edge. Last but not least, fill the fuel tank.

Clean up. Walk over lawns and gather any twigs, branches or other debris that has appeared over winter. Dispose of trash, and add small twigs and leaves to compost piles. Then, rake out dead grass. It can also go on the compost pile, unless it contains weeds.

Repair bare spots in Northern lawns. Fix bare patches in cool-season turf using Scotts® EZ Seed®. Water newly seeded areas daily for at least a week, but ideally until grass reaches mow-able height. Avoid mowing until grass is at least 2 inches tall or the same height as surrounding lawn. (Wait until late spring for Southern lawns.)

Prevent weeds in the North. For Northern lawns where crabgrass has been a problem in the past, apply Scotts® Turf Builder® Halts Crabgrass Preventer with Lawn Food in early spring. Follow label directions, and only use this product if no spring seeding projects are planned.

Feed the grass. If crabgrass wasn’t a problem, apply Scotts® Turf Builder® Lawn Food to Northern lawns around the time of the first mowing. This will give nourishment to plant roots for strong growth. If weeds weren’t an issue last year on your Southern lawn, feed grass with Scotts® Turf Builder® Southern Lawn Food to help protect lawns against heat and drought. With all lawn fertilizers, follow label directions carefully for best results.

Mow high. Adjust the mower deck to cut grass at the highest possible setting for the lawn’s type of grass. Tall grass sinks deeper roots (which can seek out moisture) and crowds out weeds. Most turf types thrive with a 3- to 4-inch blade height, which usually corresponds to a mower’s highest setting. Choose a middle setting for Zoysia grass and Centipede grass, and the lowest setting for Bermuda grass and creeping bentgrass. The rule of thumb for mowing is to remove only one-third of the total grass blade length at a time.

Edge beds. In early spring, soft soil makes edging beds a cinch. Using a sharp garden spade or half-moon edger, cut a 2- to 3-inch deep, V-shaped trench along beds to keep grass out. Maintain this edge with a string trimmer throughout the growing season, recutting only as needed. If you’re refreshing existing trench edges in spring by digging out soil or mulch that has filled the trench, toss weed-free material onto planting beds as mulch or add it to a compost pile.

Apply mulch. Wait until soil has warmed to refresh mulch for the growing season. Shredded mulch provides a polished finish to planting beds, which you’ll get when you use any variety of Scotts mulch. Scotts mulches provide vibrant year-long color and help prevent weed growth by blocking access to the sun. Add a 2- to 3-inch layer around (but not on top of) your plants.

Merchant’s Picks for March

Want to know what hot items you should have on your shelves for this month? Find out with this list of Merchant’s Picks for March 2017.

Merchant Picks - March 2017

Item NumberItem NameWHY A MERCHANT PICK?
D28 6YR350 Landscape Weed Barrier - 6 YearIdeal for short-term weed control.
D71 729PC Mother Land All Purpose Premium SoilGreat for many projects in the garden.
E60 AP1 Organic Potting MixNo synthetic plant foods or chemicals are used.
F42 790058 Ocean Forest Potting SoilReady to use right out of the bag.
L46 GKS2 Garden Kneeler and SeatStock up now in time for spring planting.
S70 75651300Miracle-Gro Potting MixThis is the time of year when homeowners begin to purchase new or replant houseplants.
S70 74978500MiracleGro Seed Starting MixThis is the time of year when when gardeners start planting their indoor seed varieties.
S84 140204016uBlack Gold Natural & Organic Potting Soil Plus FertilizerOMRI listed for organic production.
T70 ZT16138384 3-Piece Powder Coated Steel Bistro SetBest seller from Open House 2016
T70 ZT161378 2-Person Powder Coated Steel SetteeBest seller from Open House 2016

Introducing The Upcoming Arett Sales Online Birding Marketplace

The Arett Sales Online Birding Marketplace will make it easy for you to buy what you need for the spring birding season.

There is never a bad time to go birding, and you should take advantage of this niche market in your stores this spring – with bird feeders and houses, bird food, bird baths, and accessories. You should become known as the “bird expert” in your neighborhood! Arett Sales can help you build this reputation! We are introducing a new EVENT focused on spring birding that can help give you a competitive advantage over your competition – The Arett Sales Birding Marketplace.

The Arett Sales Birding Marketplace will feature OVER 200 HOT BUYS ON BEST SELLERS! Make sure you take advantage of the terrific deals on important merchandise in this category – savings will start at 15% and go up to 43%!

The Arett Sales Birding Marketplace will be live soon and runs through March 24, 2017.

Event Period: February 13th – March 24th
Program #: BRD17

Birding In The New 2017 Arett Catalog

Your new 2017 Arett Sales catalog, which should be arriving at your stores in the next week, also features a complete selection of terrific birding merchandise in Section 17! You can also find bird baths in Section 9 – Garden Accents.

Advertise Your Expertise

Let your customers know that you are BIRD EXPERT in your neighborhood! Arett Sales’ Greensmith ad agency can create materials to advertise your expertise! Here are just a few ideas we can make into a reality!

  • Add a “Bird-Lovers Welcome” sign to your store
  • Add a Wild Bird category to your website
  • Post some birding information on your facebook page
  • Start a Bird Lovers Club to attract the Bird Lovers in your neighborhood
  • Create a Spring Birding Checklist or a Bird Watcher’s Poster and hand it out with every bird feeder you sell

Merchant’s Pick For January

Want to know what hot items you should have on your shelves for this month? Find out with this list of Merchant’s Picks for January 2017.

Merchant Picks - January 2017

Item NumberItem NameWHY A MERCHANT PICK?
A39 SNOBRUMSno Brum with Aluminum Telescopic HandleEasily push even heavy, wet snow off the roof, hood, and trunk of any vehicle without scratching the paint.
A63 SB4601LSnow Blower Insulated GlovesWinter is here. Great protection for your hands.
B70 865No Escape Mouse MagicCold weather pushing mice indoors.
L07 2647290Supreme Wild Bird SeedTime to feed the birds.
M68 913King Arctic Trident Snow MoverLarge load capacity snow shovel.
M84 02008Qik Joe Safe Pet Ice MelterNon-corrosive, environmentally friendly. Safe for use around animals.
R80 26PBSWPoly Combo Snow Shovel and Pusher Helps make shoveling snow easier on the back.
W12 36620Nut 'N Berry Bird FoodSpecial savings. Best seller.

Encap® Flower Kits: Flower Gardening at its Best

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As spring approaches, everyone is beginning to think about the upcoming planting season – what they’ll plant where, the varieties they’re looking for, and how they can prepare.

Encap® makes flower gardening easier than ever with All-In-OneTM Flower Kits, offering a full line of flower kits, each with vibrant, eye-catching packaging. These All-In-OneTM kits contain everything needed to grow beautiful blooms that will last all season long. Seed, fertilizer, and mulch, combined with Encap’s patented technologies, produce impressive results with ease; simply sprinkle the mix onto worked up soil, water, and wait.

With varieties to suit any gardener’s tastes, Encap® offers:

  • *NEW Wildflower Pollinator Mix
  • *NEW Wildflower Perennial Mix
  • Wildflower Butterfly & Hummingbird Mix
  • Wildflower Bouquet Mix
  • Wildflower Shady Mix
  • Wildflower Aromatic Mix
  • Zinnia Mix
  • Daisy Mix
New in 2017

New this year are two additional wildflower mixes: Wildflower Pollinator Mix and Wildflower Perennial Mix.

Wildflower Pollinator Mix

For many gardeners, attracting pollinators is becoming an increasing interest. Gardeners are looking to encourage natural pollination, providing a food source for nature’s beautiful pollinators. While all flowers promote pollination, some flowers are a more attractive food source than others. Encap® has developed a new Wildflower Pollinator Mix to make attracting pollinators easier than ever. The mix is a blend specially formulated to attract birds, bees, and butterflies and provide a reliable food source that will keep them coming back to pollinate.

Wildflower Perennial Mix

Cultivating floral displays year after year is even easier with the Wildflower Perennial Mix. This full perennial blend will return each year with displays of Black-Eyed Susans, Purple Coneflowers, Sweet William Pinks, and more.

Wildflowers

As homeowners look for more natural-looking flower beds, wildflowers are becoming an increasingly popular option. Wildflowers provide vibrant floral displays, but give a less “manicured” feel. Hundreds of wildflower varieties exist, allowing for endless combinations. Encap® created a line of wildflower kits for this reason, and has designed each kit with a specific purpose in mind.

Wildflower Butterfly & Hummingbird Mix

Wildflower Butterfly & Hummingbird Mix delivers beautiful displays that are formulated specifically to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Wildflower Bouquet Mix

Wildflower Bouquet Mix is a blend of flowers designed to provide just the right cuttings to create stunning bouquets.

Wildflower Shady Mix

Wildflower Shady Mix is a blend of wildflowers that grow best in shade. From Forget-Me-Nots to Sweet William Pinks, even those hard-to-grow shady spots around your yard can boast abundant flowerbeds.

Wildflower Aromatic Mix

Wildflower Aromatic Mix is a unique blend of wildflowers designed to not only provide colorful blooms, but also to give off a fragrant aroma.

Classics

Zinnia Mix

Encap® also offers a Zinnia Mix. Zinnias have always been a popular choice among gardeners, because they are easy to grow, and offer a wide range of vibrant colors.

Daisy Mix

The assortment found in Encap®’s Daisy Mix provides varying heights and colors of daisies, creating a spectacular display of this classic favorite.

An Easier Way to Beautiful Blooms
Encap®’s patented technologies help to maximize results while minimizing work:

Advanced Soil TechnologyTM (AST®)

Encap®’s Advanced Soil TechnologyTM is a proprietary product that has revolutionized the way we garden. This patented technology improves the soil environment, enhances seed establishment, reduces nutrient loss, and maximizes water filtration. It works by bonding with the soil upon contact, to get into the root zone where it’s needed most.

Seed Watering TechnologyTM (SWT®)

Encap®’s Seed Watering TechnologyTM takes the guesswork out of watering. This patented technology sparkles on the soil surface when wet, and gets dull when dry; gone are the days of over- and under-watering.

Store Display

Displaying the flower kits is simple and effective. In addition to single units, Encap® offers an easy-to-merchandise flower kit display to showcase the many varieties. Weighted with top sellers, the 20 x 24 quarter pallet display contains all eight SKU’s and accommodates 72 replenishable units.

Encap® Flower Kits are a huge hit among gardeners. These All-In-OneTM kits make cultivating impressive, long-lasting displays easier than ever.

Order Now Using Program Number: E43E1