"It’s like I’m walking down Kalverstraat!," said one of the visitors of GROEN-Direkt’s Spring Fair of 6 and 7 February, referring to the busy shopping street in Amsterdam.
The trading company in the Dutch town of Boskoop indeed welcomed a remarkably large number of visitors to its first fair of the new year, including many new faces: new customers accounted for no less than half of the growth in turnover.
The rest of the increase of just over 20% relative to the same time the previous year was attributable to the fact that customers spent more money. All in all a very promising start of the 2018 gardening season.
The most important and most noteworthy fair news in four highlights:
Scarcity on the market?
Within only a few hours after the opening of the first fair day the best deals were already sold out; more than five hundred batches by the end of the fair. This once again goes to show that the market has changed relative to a few years ago. But with a total of around six hundred sample batches of garden plants and an extensive themed presentation of houseplants the range remained good, with plenty for visitors to choose from right through to the end.
New faces at the Product Promotion Plaza
The 150 standholders at the Product Promotion Plaza were very busy on both fair days. This edition of the annual fair once again showed that the PPP is a good platform for the introduction of new faces and initiatives. The ‘Good Roots’ cooperative from Boskoop presented a brand-new sales concept: a ready-made box containing sixteen visually attractive trees that change every two weeks. Good Roots’ Tim Sonneveld: “The PPP is an ideal platform for us. Representatives of all garden centres come here. They know that you can find real treasures, the very best of the best, at GROEN-Direkt.”
Introduction of eco labels
New at this edition of the fair were the ‘green’ certification stamps on all the articles. The visiting garden-centre representatives confirmed that this is now indeed exactly what consumers want. While some had begun to notice the first signs of a change, but still selected their purchases largely on the basis of their own sustainability standards, others said they have already noted a distinct trend. “Price is no longer the number-one marketing means. Today’s consumers really are prepared to spend a few euros more on a sustainably produced product,” said a garden-centre manager from The Hague.
Cornus kousa 'Scralet Fire' (R) best novelty
Twelve novelties were presented at this Spring Fair: relatively new plants that are now for the first time available in sufficient numbers and offer distinct added value in relation to the existing range. The fair’s visitors voted for their favourite novelty and a varied professional jury comprising garden-centre representatives, trading companies and growers guaranteed a fair judgement. The winner was Cornus kousa 'Scarlet Fire' bred by Joh. Stolwijk en Zonen from Boskoop. With its dark flowers and compact growth habit, this healthy cultivar convinced the public of its excellence.