On the International garden show circuit its been a good year for Ireland. A gold at Chelsea and Hampton Court for Irish Designers and now this weekend Jenny Murphy of Flowers by Moira, Dunshaughlin came second overall in the Interflora ‘Florist of the Year’ at Tatton Park. We have the talent to go out and compete with the best. With the horticulture trade show season in full swing after GLAS, it is equally important that Irish companies get out there, in the international marketplace. It is expensive but with the proper support of the development agencies it can be cost effective and worthwhile. For best practise in country ‘group exhibiting’ look no further than the UK’s Commercial Horticulture Trades Association http://www.cha-hort.com They have serious expertise in this area and deliver value for money to exhibitors and taxpayers alike.
Its not if, but WHEN Dobbies enter the Irish market (see below), having already opened a successful operation in Northern Ireland. In a market as small as Ireland they have the expansion and buying power to be the major player. Rather than a bespoke site they will most likely come under the banner of the ‘Tesco Extra’ group of which there are 16 sites in Ireland, or one coming to your area soon. They recently made their first joint application to open a new store in the UK.
Woodies and the the other multiples have the most to lose. Woodies are serious about the garden centre sections of their stores. Major sponsors and participants at Bloom plus the main sponsor of GIY Ireland means that horticulture is an important part of the bottom line. They can proudly claim that Irish nurseries source or supply 95% of their plants but the real measure of support for Irish nurseries is what % is actually grown in Ireland?. It will still be an impressive figure no doubt. In order for Woodies to build on its “Because we’re Irish’ credentials and distinguish itself further they have also recognised that staff are important and in this area you can really see the improvements in customer service and plant knowledge at their stores. Ray Coleman will not be losing any sleep, as with Paddy Gleeson and his marketing/buying team by his side they have the knowledge and ability to adapt quickly to outside threats. It will be about quality of staff and ability to supply quality ‘Grown in Ireland’ plants that help them stay ahead of other multiples. The Irish flag on a plant is now a valuable asset to retailers and growers alike.
Joseph (Editor at HortiTrends)