This coming mid-November Ontario Flower Growers Co-op (OFG) will start the OFG Marketplace. Within this they will offer smaller quantities than what is offered through their other avenues of sale. “We want to maximize our growers exposure to different market buyers”, says Michelle Sloot, responsible for product control.
“With the Marketplace, we aim for those buyers who are not currently coming into our building. Mostly because the idea of the ‘auction’ is too intimidating for buyers that are looking for smaller quantities than what is currently being offered. We are already doing this, but in a limited fashion, in the store inside our warehouse. But now, we will be adding an extensive cut flower selection and expanding the offering of potted plants. We aim to make shopping as convenient as possible for our buyers.”
OFG, currently well known as the flower auction in southern Ontario, started in 1972 based on the Dutch flower auction. The auction is still the main vehicle of sales, but OFC offers many different ways of purchasing. “Seven years ago we updated our software and were able to offer buyers the option to buy remotely from home. Another feature that has proven to be successful is ‘pre-auction purchase’", Michelle says. “Up to half of the product we offer on the auction is available to buyers to ‘pre-buy’ at a small premium. This ensures them a successful purchase.”
OFG also offers buyers the option to order direct from the greenhouse. “They use our warehouse as a central distribution center. Buyers with specific needs can order through our sales staff. Growers can also offer their availability on our website for buyers to shop. All of these items have always been offered at full pail or box quantities only.”
“With our marketplace, we also aim to be able to fill some buyers smaller perhaps more specific needs. Looking ahead we aim to be a “one shop stop” for buyers. Buyers will not have to look to other wholesalers to fill their fresh flower and potted plant needs.”
Meet the Ontario Flower Growers team at the Canadian Greenhouse Conference in booth #753!