September 15, 2009
Three of the most dynamic speakers in the retail industry will gather in one place on Oct. 19. Tom Shay, Kip Creel and Jeff Morey will all be part of the Garden Centre Symposium which leads off the 10th annual Garden & Floral Expo at the Toronto Congress Centre.

If you are an owner or manager of a garden centre, nursery, floral shop or gift store you need to attend this symposium to take advantage of the great opportunity to hear this powerful lineup of speakers.

Tom Shay, of Profits Plus from Tampa, Fla., is a fourth-generation business owner, author, columnist, business coach and speaker. With over 25 years of frontline experience in management and ownership of small businesses, his specialty is to help small businesses to increase profits, plus build the business’s future.

Kip Creel is the president of Standpoint Market Research, a well-known leader in the home and garden industry. For nearly a decade, he has been a source of solutions and statistics. Creel is a regular speaker at industry conferences and his continual independent research efforts are highly valued in the home and garden industry.

Jeff Morey produces the popular Chicago Independent Garden Centre Show and publishes several industry magazines including Nursery Retailer.  He knows that independent garden centre retailers cannot allow themselves to be comfortably content. His messages reinforce the need for the industry to keep pushing the edge of the envelope with great merchandising, superior product selection and uncompromising quality.

Matchless opportunity

Garden Centre Symposium is considered a matchless learning and networking opportunity for garden centre professionals. A major theme at the symposium will involve understanding and discovering potential growth opportunity. Panel discussions will take place with an overall theme of ‘Sell, Sell, Sell.’  The speakers will discuss and reinforce key elements of business and current trends in the marketplace presenting many new ideas for improving both top and your bottom lines.  Attendees can expect to learn about:
  • Tips for marketing to generation X and Y customers.
  • How to boost business with powerful and easy marketing ideas.
  • How other independent garden centres are succeeding.
  • Squeezing out those extra sales from your current set-up.
  • Sales techniques for all of your employees.

Session details

The sessions at the symposium will include:

Understanding Gen X and Y:
Kip Creel and Jeff Morey will use their research to show how the garden centre industry is evolving and with changing demographics, and that there is a need to rethink the way to marketing.

Power promoting:
Learn valuable marketing techniques. Tom Shay will line the walls with posters, invite attendees to pick their favourites and then explain how each idea can drive customers to their business. As Shay says, anyone can advertise, but it takes a pro to promote.

The strength of independent garden centres:
Morey and Creel will talk about the strength of the independent garden centre and discuss the American experience in battling big-box retail and the current recession.

Team up for success:
After inventory, wages are the largest expense for a business. Shay will share the techniques he used to create a team of employees that was second to none. From creating job descriptions to incentive pay programs, he will cover all the points which are crucial to turning your employees into a team that will make your competition envious.

Squeezing out the extras:
This series of panel presentations will cover ideas for maximizing existing resources and product lines. Each 10 minute topic discussion will be lead by a retailer, who will share their successful experiences. The topics will include: Christmas bonus, the buying group advantage, lawn care without pesticides, riding the eco-train and five simple rules for selling nursery stock.

Recognition ceremony

A recognition ceremony and luncheon, announcing the winners of the 2009 garden centre awards program and honouring the winners from the growers program from the research auction, will be held in conjunction with Garden Centre Symposium at 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. For more information, contact Kristen at 1-800-265-5656, ext. 321, or

The cost to attend the symposium is member pricing of $145 until Oct. 5, and $175 after Oct. 5, and non-member pricing of $165 until Oct. 5, and $195 after Oct. 5. There is a bonus discount of $25 off each additional employee when more than one person from the same company is registered.

The symposium runs from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. To register  for the Garden Centre Symposium, go to, and click on the Education tab.

Sponsors of the Garden Centre SymposiumFafard

Treeland Nurseries
Canadale Nurseries
Manchester Products
Valleybrook Gardens (Ontario)
Willowbrook Nurseries
Canadian Nursery Landscape Association/Garden Centres Canada