“For 2022 we are expanding our house plant section with over 25 new varieties, as we have found a big resurgence of interest in house plants of all shapes and sizes,” says Doug Cole, owner of D.S. Cole Growers. “At our recent Open House many customers were excited to add these to their program, as this category is very profitable for growers.” In this article, Cole shares more about the recent interest in house plants, their new glasshouse, and dealing with labor shortages.
Doug Cole in the greenhouse
Increasing house plant demand
According to Cole, they have been noticing an increasing interest in house plants, while the demand for outdoor flowering plants is dropping. “We saw the interest in house plants increase about five years ago. Since COVID-19, the sales of house plants have really spiked due to people wanting to make their homes more attractive. When the mask mandate was dropped this spring, the sales of outdoor flowering plants dropped dramatically. Yet we have not seen any drop in houseplants and we are very optimistic about the coming year.”
In order to showcase their new plants, D.S. Cole Growers held an Open House on August 5. “The attendees were glad to be able to socialize again, and people are already excited to plan next year’s trip to our Open House. We noticed that customers were especially interested to add more houseplants into their growing program, as the houseplant category has allowed growers to grow more products at a good profit margin.” Cole mentions that holding their annual Open House is not only beneficial for the growers, but for themselves as well. “Organizing the event gives us an opportunity to ‘clean up our act’, as it really makes us do what is needed to clean our entire facility. Not only does the facility look better, it also helps us operate more efficiently during the upcoming year.” Watch the video below to see some of the highlights at this year's Open House.
20% volume increase with labor shortages
According to Cole, production went well this spring and they were able to increase their young plant volume by 20%. In order to meet the increased demand, D.S. Cole Growers purchased an extra glasshouse last year. “Our new greenhouse provides us with more space for the peak season and we can build even further when we are ready. Moreover, it is only ten minutes away from our main location, which makes everything very efficient. Yet the limiting factor has been the shortage of labor and that is a challenge that continues today. A number of companies in the US, such as banks and restaurants, are forced to limit their hours of operation due to a lack of labor.” Due to the tight labor situation, D.S. Cole Growers is doing anything they can think of to streamline production and shipping. “We are now looking into a new sticking line as well as continuing to work with our lean flow consultant.”
Cole shares that they are hopeful about the future. “We are forecasting the coming year to be similar in sales to pre-COVID times with about a 10% increase due to the recent surge in new gardeners. On top of that, we believe the indoor plant consumption will far surpass pre-COVID sales and that is the area we see the greatest growth potential. The other benefit of growing indoor plants is that the market is good all year long.”
For an overview of D.S. Cole Growers’s selection, you can now go to their online catalog of 2021-2022 here. Here you can find the 25 new varieties of house plants, more succulents, additional selections of popular flowering varieties, as well as four new collections: Angel Wing Begonias, Sunbeckias, and two New Gerbera varieties.
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D.S. Cole Growers