Vol. 7, Issue 2 | June 2015
Ebert’s Gets Customers Excited to Shop with Pre-Spring Tour
By Jeff Morey
Ebert’s annual pre-spring “behind-the-scenes” tour of its production facilities taps local residents’ pent-up desires to garden and jump-starts sales when the store – located in the Midwestern U.S. state of Wisconsin, in the city of Ixonia – officially opens a few weeks later. Now in its fifth year, the tour brought in about 75 customers eager for spring to begin on March 18.
“When the weather gets above 45 degrees, the phone rings off the hook with customers asking, ‘Are you open? Can I just come in and smell the dirt?’” laughs Anne Adams, Marketing Coordinator and Customer Service Specialist for Ebert’s. “When we officially opened for spring on April 10, we saw pretty much everyone from the production tour. They came to us and told us what a great time they had, and some posted it on Facebook. It’s been a great success.”
The tour, which starts at 10 a.m. and again at 1 p.m., lasts about an hour and a half. It begins in the gift shop with complimentary snacks and refreshments, and guests are given a first look at the store’s upcoming events so they can get first dibs at securing a spot on the limited registration list. Then, the group gets a history lesson on Ebert’s and a preview of the year’s upcoming projects and green goods introductions.
Next, the attendees split into two groups and head to opposite ends of Ebert’s. One group begins in the perennials department with transplanting as a backdrop, as the other group starts in the retailer’s 30,000-square-foot gutter-connected greenhouses, where staff is busy watering and filling trays and pots with soil. Both groups get a chance to tour each department and learn from staff experts about transplanting, fertilizing, mapping, watering, plugging, preventing disease and other growing techniques utilized at the garden center. At the end of the tour, all of the experts meet in the gift shop to answer questions.
Adams says, “Our customers love the tour, and we love it, too, because we get to toot our horn and have fun doing it.”
Garden Centres of America
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