With more than 70 affiliated garden centers, Aliat comes every year to Iberflora with a striking stand in which a garden is recreated that shows its philosophy and values. Iberflora talks to Josep Maria Pitarque, manager of the purchasing center.
With more than a decade of history and 71 affiliated garden centers. What are the short and medium-term challenges for ALIAT?
"The truth is that we are very proud of our trajectory. In a few years, ALIAT has established itself as the leader in the gardening sector in Spain, both in several affiliated centers, total sales area, global turnover, and employee sum. But, despite this, we still have a long way to go. Our work as Central is to boost our points of sale, helping them to be more competitive through unity and collective effort, making use of synergies, the experience, and know-how of our team of professionals."
"Our main objective is to add value to our affiliates. On the one hand, helping them become more competitive but also offers them concrete solutions that allow them to improve the profitability of their garden. But, above all, our top priority is to offer the owners of the affiliated garden peace of mind, security, and trust. Medium-term, we must be prepared for the next challenges that the sector will have to face. The service, logistics, climate change, the loyalty of the young customer... they are going to be decisive."
What services does ALIAT offer to its affiliated garden centers?
"With 70 points of sale spread throughout the Spanish geography, ALIAT is a unique and well-known model in the sector, mainly, for the services we provide to our affiliates. Among other aspects, we offer support in purchases, sales, and garden management. We do remodeling and gender implantations, and we help to enhance the commercial presentation, we design spaces, and we organize joint purchases and exclusive imports. In addition, we have insider information on the market. We give training courses, and we offer a professional service, we organize events that generate a great interrelation between all the members of the great ALIAT family and much more."
What are the main strengths of ALIAT as a company?
"Surely, our main strength is people. ALIAT is what it is for the team that makes it up, a group of 11 professionals specializing in the world of gardening. A multidisciplinary team in which each piece is key to achieving great results. Deep knowledge of the sector, the experience accumulated in a point of sale, the fact of having your brand, to provide a personalized service, to make tailor-made suits respecting the areas of influence of each one, as well as offering maximum confidence to garden owners, are the key factors that have allowed us to consolidate in the sector and make a difference."
How did the sector get to the equator of 2022?
"The months of January and February of 2022 were very good, even exceeding the figures for the same period of 2021. But, instead, March was very bad. Above all, because it was an extremely wet month, plagued by clouds and rains, with very few hours of sunshine. And that hurt garden centers considerably. But this was not the only reason. The rise in the price of gasoline also coincided, with transport problems, the increase in the cost of raw materials, the war in Ukraine and its impact on the economy, the continuous increase in electricity, etc. Instead, May and June were a bit better."
"Anyway, there are other aspects just as important as billing, how to improve the profitability of the garden, control expenses, properly manage the stock and take measures to continue increasing the influx of new and young customers. Whether garden centers meet all these parameters, we will finish the year satisfactorily."
In Iberflora, ALIAT always has a very prominent presence with wide exposure and a very powerful corporate image. What is the goal for this edition? How is ALIAT GARDEN different from other stands?
"As usual, our goal to 2022 is to set up an even more attractive stand, welcoming and impactful than last year's. ALIAT GARDEN is a unique and singular stand since it supposes the recreation of a garden center within the fair. It is a very special space that defines our philosophy and our values. It is also the embodiment of our brand and the team behind it and explains to the large audience that attends the fair who we are and what we do. Is, therefore, our cover letter, our identity stamp, the Embassy of the Central in Iberflora."
"On the one hand, ALIAT GARDEN is the meeting point of our affiliates, where they relate to the rest of the companions of the great ALIAT family. But it is also a great showcase for the many garden owners who visit us., where we can explain our services, expose them to the advantages of being part of the Central, and put into practice what we do best: design, create and optimize garden centers."
"It is a stand different from the others, which includes products from dozens of suppliers and combines lights, textures, designs, Aromas, colors, etc., to create a very special atmosphere. ALIAT GARDEN has some quiet areas where we can hold conversations with customers or visitors and other spaces with all the typical products of any garden: indoor and outdoor plants, pots, fertilizers, Phyto, irrigation, seeds, tools, substrates, decoration items, garden furniture, accessories for pets."
Iberflora works on a new, more experiential, and innovative concept in 2022, Iberflora New Generation, an event to work, but also to learn and have fun. What expects from the next edition of Iberflora?
"I think the next Iberflora will be the best in recent history. For this 51st edition, the organization of the fair plans to give a twist to the event that I am sure will surprise visitors with new activities and innovative spaces and will help consolidate its leadership. Now that the pandemic is in low hours, it is palpable in the environment that 2022 it will be a very special year. Everything seems to indicate that it will have massive participation of exhibiting companies and that records will be broken in terms of visitor attendance. Therefore, all actors in the green sector will emerge stronger. On the one hand, suppliers will be able to publicize your company, consolidate your brand image, sell your products or services and generate strategic relationships. And, on the other hand, the owners of gardens will be able to enjoy the largest exhibition offered in recent years. For all these reasons, I am convinced that Iberflora-NewGeneration will remain engraved in the memory of all those attending this edition."