Establishing and Operating a Garden Center: Requirements and Costs

Publication Number: NRAES-161
Cost: $15.00
Length: 66 pages
Published: 2002
ISBN: 0-935817-86-7
Authors: Authors: Susan S. Barton, Bridget Behe, Charles R. Hall, John J. Haydu, Roger A. Hinson, Robert E. McNiel, Travis D. Phillips, Russell D. Powell, Forrest E. Stegelin. (Authors' affiliations are given in the news release.)

A revised book, Establishing and Operating a Garden Center: Requirements and Costs, discusses planning, capital investments, product mixes, labor, customer profiles, garden center layouts, pricing, advertising, and financial analysis. Two example businesses are analyzed throughout the book: one with annual sales of $1 million and another with annual sales of $350,000. The 66-page book is for potential and current garden center owners, their business advisors, educators, and researchers. (2002)

Revised Book Defines What It Takes to Establish and Operate a Garden Center

With the exception of a recent downturn, the nursery and garden center industries have enjoyed steady growth for several decades. So-called mass merchandisers have responded to this trend by developing garden centers of their own, thereby increasing competition; but they often lack the product selection and expertise that smaller, more specialized garden centers offer. A market niche exists for centers that cater to the more demanding needs of gardening and landscaping aficionados.

A revised book, Establishing and Operating a Garden Center: Requirements and Costs, aims to better position entrepreneurs for success by helping them estimate the establishment and operating costs for a garden center. Up to now, there has been little research on this topic. Existing literature is particularly bereft of economic information regarding the types of capital resources, costs, and procedures involved in developing, establishing, and operating garden centers. This lack of information, combined with impressive industry growth, was the impetus for developing this book. The 66-page book will be of interest to potential and current garden center operators and managers, their business advisors, educators, and researchers.

Authors of Establishing and Operating a Garden Center surveyed 25 garden centers across the United States and then derived two models that are analyzed throughout the book: a large garden center with annual sales of $1 million and a smaller garden center with annual sales of $350,000. For each model, the book defines capital budgets, including investment and operations costs; provides a business evaluation based on standard business indicators; and describes a merchandising program composed of layout, pricing, advertising, cost structure, and diversification.

Some topics discussed in part one, "Establishment and Operational Costs of a Garden Center," include strategic planning, competition, management strategies, capital investment, product turnover, and financial statements. Part two, "Financial, Marketing, and Business Principles for Garden Center Operation," covers hiring, training, and retaining employees; garden center customer profiles; customer service; merchandising and advertising; pricing; diversification; and financial analysis. Appendixes provide a list of office equipment costs for a garden center and initial costs and annual depreciation for the two models discussed throughout the book.

Establishing and Operating a Garden Center: Requirements and Costs, NRAES-161, was published by NRAES, the Natural Resource, Agriculture, and Engineering Service. It was edited by Susan S. Barton, extension specialist, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Delaware and written by Susan S. Barton; Bridget Behe, associate professor, Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University; Charles R. Hall, professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Tennessee; John J. Haydu, professor, Mid-Florida Research and Education Center-Apopka, University of Florida; Roger A. Hinson, professor, Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Louisiana State University; Robert E. McNiel, extension professor, Department of Horticulture, University of Kentucky; Travis D. Phillips, professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Mississippi State University; Russell D. Powell, former extension agent, The Pennsylvania State University; and Forrest E. Stegelin, professor, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Georgia.

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