Question: I’m looking for new ways to promote my business, do you have any suggestions?
Answer: September 26, 2007 Lawn & Garden Retailer Magazine headline reads “Green Initiatives Attract Gen Y Shoppers” and the article reads “A recent poll from Maritz Research, which surveyed shoppers ages 18-30, shows that Generation Y shoppers are turning toward green-friendly products. Fifty percent of respondents said environmental messaging influences their shopping behavior. About 46 percent of respondents said they would shop at a retailer more if it were environmentally friendly. Forty-seven percent said they are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products, services or brands.” (Source MediaPost, Sep 26, 2007)
Looking globally, green is the future market and as an industry – we are already green. Most of us care deeply about the environment and take great pride in educating our customers. So the task at hand may only need to be tweaked rather than reinvented. Taking advantage of this trend in spending may well be the future of small business. If half of the respondents said environmental messaging influenced their behavior then they need to be persuaded to your front door. You have the tools, resources and knowledge.
The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has surpassed their 70th Anniversary and 74,000 Certified Wildlife Habitats residing in backyards, schoolyards and communities across the country. They recently certified 12,000 in just six months. Their new goal is 100,000 and garden centers could easily help them achieve their goal. A display area including a pond, native perennials and shrubs, bird houses, mulch, compost, organic pest controls, books, etc. would fit nicely to support their goal as well as generate awareness and educate customers seeking help in creating a backyard habitat. This type of cooperative effort would benefit everyone involved. To order Certified Wildlife Habitat brochures email Grant@nwf.org. Luisa will be happy to send them to you.
I recently read Last Child in the Woods and I am amazed at the flurry of environmental activity associated with the book. Innovative alternatives are popping up everywhere to get kids outside to experience the natural world. Water gardens big or small are a magnet for wildlife and children; they just go hand in hand. As a result of the book, The No Child Left Inside Act of 2007 amends the No Child Left Behind Act making federal funds available for environmental education programs. Many schools have existing storm water ponds that are a great source of environmental studies. The improvement and monitoring of those ponds have proven to be an outstanding educational tool. The students come up with a way to generate revenue (via fund raisers, aluminum recycling, etc.), open a bank account, remove invasive species, purchase and plant native species, add nesting boxes and monitor wildlife throughout the process. Some schools have even added walking trails, boardwalks, bridges and information posting boards in and around the site. Working with local school children also provides a connection for future employees and future customers plus promotes your business to their parents.
Mike Carver and William Peeling of Garden Carvers recently designed and installed a complete outdoor learning environment at the Appletree ll School in northern Virginia. Unique projects like this one may not be the norm yet, but the trend is definitely headed in that direction. The garden is absolutely wonderful and wouldn’t it be wonderful if all children were fortunate enough to have such a creative place to learn and grow. The staff at Garden Carvers has given the Pre-K and Kindergarten students who attend the school a gift. Interactive atmospheres like this one will make the memories and hands on experience of learning even more powerful. When the owner of the school returned from a trip to see the finished garden she was overwhelmed with joy and moved to tears. A child asked on entering the garden if this was what heaven was going to look like. Garden Carvers accomplished their goal and they were rewarded in many ways. Garden centers and contractors should consider approaching local schools and day care centers for similar projects.
The Appletree ll School garden was designed, installed and photographed by:
Michael Carver and William Peeling
26143 Cave Neck Road
Milton, DE 19968