Schedule of Events

Garden Center Executive Summit 2020

Times, sessions and speakers are subject to change.

2:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Registration Opens
3:00 PM – 3:45 PM
New Technology to Hire Smarter
Hiring seasonal workers is one of the biggest challenges for any garden center, but new technology options can help. From job posting to applicant screening to tracking candidates throughout the process, David Krysh will show you how to spend less time and fewer resources on hiring, and find more qualified workers in the process.

3:45 PM – 4:00 PM
Networking Refreshment Break
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Redefining Millennials: How to Use Purpose-Driven and Event-Based Marketing to Cater to What 30-Somethings are Really Looking For
As co-owner and marketing director of Salisbury Greenhouse, Rob Sproule is an expert in digital marketing and reaching his customers where they are online, even Millennials. In this talk, Sproule, founder of Dig Marketing, will explain why our perception of this generation is wrong, what really matters to them and how to capture this segment of the market.

5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Welcome Reception
Sponsored By
8:15 AM – 6:30 PM
Registration Opens
8:15 AM – 9:15 AM
Continental Breakfast
9:15 AM – 9:30 AM
Welcome Remarks
9:30 AM – 10:15 AM
Keynote Session: Creating a Plant Community and Authentic Experiences Online and In-Store
As the founder and CEO of The Sill, Eliza Blank created the first digitally native, direct-to-consumer plant brand and it keeps on growing. Now with two retail stores in Manhattan, a kiosk in Brooklyn and two stores on the West Coast, she’s continuing to expand The Sill through powerful community building and unique branding efforts. In this talk, she’ll tell the story of her company’s success and discuss the new frontier of online plant sales.

10:15 AM – 10:45 AM
Networking Refreshment Break
10:45 AM – 11:30 AM
Stop the Race to the Bottom – Smarter Plant Pricing
Garden centers often rely solely on formula-based pricing, and as a result, don’t charge enough for their plants. Professor and researcher Dr. Bridget Behe will present the latest research on how customers read signs and what drives them to buy. Behe will discuss how to charge what the market will bear without letting fear get in the way.

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Networking Roundtable
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Networking Lunch
Sponsored By
1:30 PM – 2:15 PM
Managing Through Change
2:15 PM – 2:30 PM
Networking Roundtable
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Metrics to Measure Success
With improved technology and point-of-sale systems, there’s a lot of data available to garden centers. But which numbers are the most important to track regularly, and what performance indicators really measure success? Stephen Hicks, president of Hicks Nurseries, a sixth-generation, family-owned garden center based in New York, will share how the company uses metrics and key performance indicators to measure both the retail and landscape segments of the business, and how that work impacts their overall business strategy. Hicks will explain how their work can apply to other garden centers and offer several takeaways that attendees can implement in their own stores.

3:30 PM – 3:45 PM
Networking Refreshment Break
3:45 PM – 4:45 PM
Attracting and Keeping Customers by Knowing Who They Are and What They Care About
Here's the truth: the majority of people don't describe themselves as being gardeners. This doesn't mean that they don't buy plants or care for their landscapes, however. It does mean that IGC's need to recognize what shoppers are interested in, and show them how we can help enhance these activities. This talk will include ideas and actionable items for customer connections, promotions, workshops and more.

4:45 PM – 5:00 PM
Networking Roundtable
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Top 100 Awards Ceremony and Reception
8:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Registration Opens
8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
Continental Breakfast
9:30 AM – 10:15 AM
Purpose, Culture, and the Mulhall’s Ecosystem
10:15 AM – 10:30 AM
Networking Refreshment Break
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Networking Workshop: Solving Shared Problems

Garden Center operators face a number of challenges, many that their peers are also experiencing. In this interactive workshop, attendees will have the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned during the conference to their businesses and discuss strategies with other leaders. Attendees will gather in roundtables to share possible solutions to the following topics:

   - Taking care of your people: What are you doing to find, recruit and retain people to work at your garden center?
   - Customer experience, loyalty and retention: What are you doing to attract customers to your business and stand out, both in-store and online?
   - Driving trends: How do you innovate instead of follow?
   - Sustainability: What can we do to be more “green” in our industry?

Facilitators will summarize roundtable discussions and share strategies with all attendees.

12:00 PM
Close of Conference