America's only association dedicated solely                  
to the needs of independent garden centers


Events

Upcoming events

    • June 25, 2017
    • 5:00 PM (EDT)
    • June 28, 2017
    • 7:00 PM (EDT)
    • Newport News, VA



    The 2017 GCA Summer Tour is headed to Virginia, June 25-28, for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at garden centers' operations from Virginia Beach to Newport News to Richmond. Be sure to pack your notebook and camera to capture all the merchandising and indie retailing inspirations!

    Sunday, June 25
    Registration 3pm-5pm

    Welcome and Opening Reception
    5pm-7pm
    Discussion 5:30pm-6:30pm 
    Based on the topics submitted upon registration, you will share ideas and solutions with your fellow GCA members. Last year's discussion time was a big hit!


    Dinner on your own
    This is a wonderful time to gather with friends, make new ones, catch up and share insights.

    Monday, June 26

    American Revolution Museum At Yorktown

    Yorktown was the last major battle of the Revolutionary War where General George Washington besieged British General Charles Cornwallis' Army, effectively ending the war and ensuring independence. What better place to begin our tour than a visit to this historic birthplace of our country? The American Revolution Museum tells the story through films, timeline displays, immersive exhibits and outdoor living history in a recreated encampment and farm.

    The self-guided tour takes you from the British Empire And America, through the Revolution to a look at The New Nation.
    American Revolution Museum

    Ken Matthews Garden Center   
    Located along busy Rt. 17, a newly expanded six-lane retail haven, Ken Matthews Garden Center stands out as an escape from the ordinary. With a parklike setting showcasing over 500 varieties of trees and shrubs and 1000 varieties of annuals and perennials, shoppers gather ideas and plants from inspiration gardens with themes focused on Butterfly Gardens, Coastal Living and Entrance Ways.

    The water garden is front and center as shoppers begin their journey through the nursery yard as a visual reminder that the company provides both landscape design and installation services.
    http://kenmatthewsgardencenter.com

    Norfolk Botanical Garden & Lunch

    Spring and summer colors will be on full display throughout 52 themed gardens across 175 acres here. Through a Works Progress Administration (WPA) grant, the creation of the gardens began in 1938 with the transition of a tree-filled swamp into the Azalea Gardens. Now, the Japanese, Bristow Butterfly and Perennial Gardens are must-see stops. The World of Wonders Children's Adventure Garden covers three acres with themes like Frog Bog, Plant Safari and Dirt Factory - a great place for ideas to bring back the kid in all of us.

    After lunch in the Rose Garden Hall overlooking the All-America Rose Selections Bicentennial Garden, attendees can enjoy a tram ride of the gardens or wander the gardens on their own.
    http://norfolkbotanicalgarden.org


    Anderson's Newport News
    Our first of two Anderson's locations on the tour began as a wholesale grower in 1954. Owner Clark Anderson shifted the focus to retail in 1977 with a major expansion to the entire site in 2009. With the confidence that the public wants more from their shopping experience than the traditional garden center offers, the renovation included a 15,000-square-foot showroom for gifts, apparel and home decor; new greenhouse; full-service cafe and fudge shop; an expansive plant selection; landscape services and space for over 250 cars.

    Anderson believes, "Our goal is to create a shopping experience that equals or exceeds that of other types of retail locations. We want people to come to Anderson's to browse, eat, shop and enjoy the whole experience and stay for hours if they desire."

    Signage, merchandising and their new "rolling walls" will provide a long list of ideas and examples.
    http://loveandersons.com

    Tuesday, June 27
    McDonald Garden Market
    Now operating 10 seasonal plant markets throughout the area, with intentions of expanding, McDonald Garden Center was a front-runner of the industry's interest in seasonal, high-volume outlets focused on plants. Located throughout the region, the markets offer shoppers with a wide array of options and tour attendees with a proven example of how to make both shopping and facilitation function smoothly in small space locations. 

    Ideas on how to make plants and plant-related products the focus of impulse shopping cultivated from here can be transitioned to any size garden center retailer.
    https://www.mcdonaldgardencenter.com

    Sneed's Nursery and Garden Center
    Don't let the small road frontage fool you - this is an in-town gem that's been inspiring plant geeks and garden bauble shoppers since 1975. This center provides customers with a boutique shopping experience, a full-service landscape division and a custom-design florist - all set within the charm of a cottage village. With a focus on organic offerings, shoppers mingle with free-range chickens to search for the next gardening surprise found under the trees throughout the property.

    Don't miss the florist/gift shop that the staff says "is held together by vines growing through the roof," or the landscape design center tucked away in a relaxed garden setting. This is a stop with a lot of character that's sure to get your merchandising ideas flowing.
    http://www.sneedsnursery.com

    Cross Creek Nursery and Landscaping
    The deeper you move through the pine-covered entrance, the more you'll discover, including a greenhouse filled with annuals and perennials from their farm, a full-service florist, landscape and stone yard divisions, ponds, streams and a farm, which is home to goats and turkeys. Relax in the natural shade house under a 1,200-square-foot wisteria. This stop serves up one surprise after another.  

    Beginning as a tropical plant retail and service company in 1974, Cross Creek Nursery & Landscaping is a family affair with a father and his three sons guiding the ever-expanding list of products and services. Be sure to check out their water reclamation process that provides 100 percent of the water needed for the entire property.
    http://www.crosscreeknursery.com

    The Great Big Greenhouse & Meadows Farms Nurseries & Lunch
    A family business in Richmond since 1977, The Great Big Greenhouse was purchased by the well-known industry familyMeadows Farms Nurseries in 2010. The retailer promises the best of both companies: "The plants you expect. The prices you'll love. The people you know. The experience you'll remember.” The store is located in a busy shopping center with more than 15 other retailers, providing a constant flow of shoppers throughout the year. A year-round weekly farmer's market, now in its eighth season, adds to the attraction. 

    Shoppers find a full array of plants, gifts, home decor, indoor foliage, statuary and landscape products. This stop is all about garden retailing, and you'll want to ask about the store's weekly TV news call-in segment.
    http://www.greatbiggreenhouse.com

    Colonial Williamsburg's Merchants Square
    With its conception dating back to 1927, Colonial Williamsburg's Merchants Square is recognized as one of the first planned shopping districts in the country. And who was at the forefront of this "new" shopping concept? Why John D. Rockefeller Jr., of course. Local retailers in the area of the original colonial town were relocated to this customer-oriented shopping district to make room for restoration of the town. Buildings were set back on the property to offer easy pedestrian access, and the streets were later closed to traffic, creating a pedestrian-friendly outdoor shopping environment.

    The shopping district, envisioned by the early "developers" well ahead of their time, creates the quaint, personal experience that is frequently copied by so many shopping districts today, replacing the ubiquitous indoor mall.

    Shop, eat, drink, relax, and learn in "theme-retailing" surroundings - there's even a little garden center to discover - and be on the lookout for residents and performers from the adjacent Revolutionary City of Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Area, where separate admission tickets are required.
    http://www.merchantssquare.org


    Wednesday, June 28
    White's Nursery & Garden Center
    For more than 50 years, White's Nursery & Garden Center has strived to perfect the art of grower, wholesaler and retailer. With more than 20 acres in production, the company has become known as one of the country's premier growers of florist-quality seasonal color. Owner Norman White has set a record for being the cover story for various trade magazines. In one article, Vic Ball says, "You've got to see it! Near-perfect uniformity and quality, spic-and-span cleanliness of it all - the epitome of growing."

    This attention to detail spills over to the garden center division of the company, located in a quiet neighborhood of Chesapeake, VA. The stop will include a behind-the-scenes tour of the production area for those interested in the grower's side of business. Retail time will focus on how garden centers can use seasonal color and exclusive color combos to set them apart from the competition.
    http://www.whitesnursery.com

    McDonald Garden Center Virginia Beach
    Our second McDonald Garden Center stop of the tour takes us to the Virginia Beach site opened in 1980. This year-round location was converted from a horse farm to a multi-division garden center. Shoppers are guided from the entrance courtyard through a series of plant departments and free-standing buildings with ties to the area's historical connection. The stroll under mature trees past display gardens adds to the village atmosphere.

    Famous for their "Myrtle Money" promotion adapted by many garden centers around the country, McDonald Garden Center also hosts a number of other events throughout the year, including their own 4-H Club. Our visit will focus on using unique site design to create shopping environments that become part of a garden center's feel and character.
    https://www.mcdonaldgardencenter.com

    The Vibe Creative District & Lunch On Your Own
    The Vibe Creative District was established to serve as a vibrant center for the arts, culture, technology and creative industries. This is where life is art in a setting like no other. Unique retailers, galleries, locally grown farm-to-fork dining, farmers and craft markets reside in this economically vibrant neighborhood where artists live and work. Their goal to be "a little off the main drag and a lot off kilter" creates a 10-block learning (and shopping) haven with so much to learn for any type of retailer. Take it all in, grab lunch, then head home with ideas to jumpstart your company's sense of discovery for your customers. 
    http://vibecreativedistrict.org

    Atlantic Garden Center
    Talk about diversification! How about adding a full-service post office to your mix? After a redesign of the shopping center property where they're located, including the arrival of CVS Pharmacy on the lot, Atlantic Garden Center found itself with enough room and opportunity to add a post office to their product mix. After two and a half years in operation, the company sees the blending of stamps and plants as a perfect fit.

    The property redesign also provided a new receiving area, bulk bin location, two new office areas and, best of all, more parking in the now shared lot. This is your chance to discuss property redesign and greenhouse upgrades with an owner who has been through the process. 


    Anderson's Virginia Beach
    Is it a garden center with a restaurant or a restaurant located in a garden center? You decide. Either way, Anderson's second location on the tour has created what is probably one of newest, uniquely designed garden and lifestyle retailers the industry has seen. Opened just one year ago, the site is home to Sage Kitchen, a breakfast to dinner experience they call "from greenhouse-to-table dining."  A ladies boutique presents clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories alongside gifts and home decor departments.

    Add a greenhouse of plants, outdoor seating, a kid's play area, live music every Wednesday evening to the mix and their slogan, "This is where you'll find your friends," - it all makes perfect sense.

    This is the perfect spot to end our tour with a chance to kick back, enjoy new friends, compare notes and plans for the future, eat, drink and listen to live music, while savoring the hospitality the area has been known for since the inception of our country.
    http://loveandersons.com

    Arrive Back at Hotel:    7:30

    To reserve your hotel room, click here or call the Newport News Marriott at City Center directly at 757-873-9299. Be sure to tell them you are booking for the Garden Centers of America event.



    A HEARTY THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS!

         
         
    Cancellation Policy: Cancellations received prior to June 1 are refundable at 50%. Cancellations received June 1 and after are non-refundable.

    Airport Information:

        Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport - PHF
        Hotel direction: 5 miles SE

        Norfolk International Airport - ORF
        Hotel direction: 28.1 miles NW

        Richmond International Airport - RIC
        Hotel direction: 61.5 miles SE


    • August 15, 2017
    • August 17, 2017
    • Navy Pier, Chicago, IL


    The 11th annual IGC Show, Navy Pier, Chicago, IL is widely recognized as the single best event for garden center owners, managers and buyers. Each year, the entire industry comes to buy at IGC, because it has hundreds of exhibitors, tons of new products and scores of educational opportunities. Plus it's 100% pure garden-centric! This means you will spend more time with the right vendors and less time walking miles of aisles of products you don't sell. It's all here on display for your inspection and order-writing from 700+ new and established vendors spanning spectacular Navy Pier's 210,000 square feet surrounded by Lake Michigan's azure waters on three sides and enchanting downtown Chicago on the fourth.

    Great hotels, fine restaurants, Magnificent Mile's trendy shops and a world of entertainment are all just steps away. And it’s an easy drive or short flight from virtually every garden center in America. You'll meet with hundreds and hundreds of established and rising-star suppliers, attend inspiring keynotes and sessions covering every aspect of the thriving garden center business, enjoy special events galore and exchange ideas with thousands of fellow IGC professionals.

    Don’t miss this summer’s best opportunity to recharge your creative batteries, rekindle your passion and stock your shelves with a bounty of compelling products.

    Here are the additional benefits for GCA Members at IGC Show:
    • Savings of $260 on each IGC Retailer Conference "All-Access Pass" Package.
    • $100 off each IGC Show Garden Center Bus Tour registration.
    • Access to the GCA Member Lounge during show hours.
    • Preferred seating and two free drink tickets per company for use at the IGC Show Party & Concert.
    • A special catered lunch buffet Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. -
      2 p.m. Enjoy lunch at your convenience. Be sure to register for the lunch.



    • August 15, 2017
    • 10:00 AM
    • August 17, 2017
    • 3:00 PM
    • Room 324, Navy, Pier, Chicago, IL

                             

    You're Invited!
    Calling All Members Of Garden Centers of America
    Attending IGC Show

    FREE LUNCH WEDNESDAY  *  FREE WI-FI  *  FREE REFRESHMENTS

    Membership in America's only association for independent garden centers has its privileges - including your access to the
    GCA Member Lounge @ IGC Show, a special place of respite reserved for our members, available exclusively to you during show hours Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as a GCA member benefit!

    Here, you will enjoy complimentary WiFi access and refreshments in a quiet spot to relax and visit with your fellow retailers and compare those buys you've made down on the show floor!

    On Wednesday, August 16, we've arranged to have a delicious catered lunch ready for you here - free to you as a GCA Member. Served from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for your convenience, your GCA Member Badge Ribbon gets you in - so be sure to pick it up at the GCA Desk in the IGC Lounge in the back of the main show floor.

    Be sure to REGISTER so we can get an accurate count for lunch.

    We look forward to seeing you at Navy Pier soon!

    Jeff & Cheryl Morey,
    GCA Co-Directors
    IGC Show Founders/Producers

    DIRECTIONS TO THE GCA MEMBER LOUNGE

    Take the stairs at the far back right corner
    of the show floor to the balcony above - your
    GCA Member Lounge is directly at the
    top of the stairs in Room 324!


    Not a member?  Click here to join now!
    • August 16, 2017
    • 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM
    • Room 324, IGC Show, Chicago, IL

                             

    You're Invited!
    Calling All Members Of Garden Centers of America
    Attending IGC
    Show

    FREE LUNCH WEDNESDAY  *  FREE WI-FI  *  FREE REFRESHMENTS

    On Wednesday, August 16, we've arranged to have a delicious catered lunch ready for you in the GCA Member Lounge, included as a part of your GCA Membership! Served from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for your convenience, your GCA Member Badge Ribbon gets you in - so be sure to pick it up at the GCA Desk in the IGC Lounge in the back of the main show floor.

    You must REGISTER for this event.

    We look forward to seeing you at Navy Pier soon!

    Jeff & Cheryl Morey,
    GCA Co-Directors
    IGC Show Founders/Producers

    DIRECTIONS TO THE GCA MEMBER LOUNGE

    Take the stairs at the far back right corner
    of the show floor to the balcony above - your
    GCA Member Lounge is directly at the
    top of the stairs in Room 324!


    Not a member?  Click here to join now!

Garden Centers of America:
Together We're Better!                  
 
     

©2017 Garden Centers of America
2873 Saber Dr.

Clearwater, FL  33759

800-721-0024
MemberServices@GardenCentersofAmerica.com

 The IGC Family

 
 
 

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