Jul 1, 2020
Going to the Show By Tim Hodson

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world we live in and the industry that we work in.

This spring, growers, retailers and gardeners have all been forced to examine how they have done things in the past, how they are currently doing things and how they will do them in the future.

The cancellation of the 2020 California Spring Trials placed a unique challenge on the breeding companies as they sought ways to introduce their new varieties for 2021. It seemed like there were daily webinars, YouTube videos, and email blasts coming out that were loaded with information on the new products that were supposed to debut in California.

Jasmina Dolce has spent hours and hours watching virtual webcasts, sitting in on webinars and paging through digital catalogs to learn about the new variety introductions that we were planning to see in person in April.

She has distilled a lot of that information in the June issue of GPN. In her article, “The Show Must Go On,” she takes a look at some of the trends that caught her eye. From award-winning and innovative varieties to ready-made mixes to the latest houseplants, Jasmina has put together a snapshot of what the breeding companies have in store for the industry.

And stay tuned for the July issue of GPN when Jasmina will have even more coverage of the new introductions from Spring Trials.

— Tim


Lowe’s Commits Additional $100M for Employees During Pandemic

On June 29, Lowe’s announced it had committed $100 million in bonuses to recognize and reward front-line associates for their contributions, increasing the company’s total commitment to associates and communities during the pandemic to more than $450 million. All active hourly associates in Lowe’s U.S. stores, distribution centers and store support centers will receive the bonuses in mid-July. Full-time hourly associates will receive $300, and part-time and seasonal associates will receive $150 — matching the funds provided to all hourly associates in both March and May.

Walmart Expands Associates’ Education Benefits Program

In June, Walmart announced plans to expand its Live Better U (LBU) education benefits program to include in-demand skilled trade and digital skills programs, beyond their traditional college programs. LBU is designed to support working adult learners and help associates on their educational journey by focusing on degree completion through a number of supportive elements, free student coaching, college credit for Walmart training and career pathways for LBU graduates. To date, more than 25,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club associates from all 50 states have taken advantage of the retailer’s education offerings.

Meijer Continues Ohio Expansion with Two New Store Openings

On July 9, Michigan-based retailer Meijer announced plans to open two new supercenters in northeast Ohio. The new stores are located in Brimfield and Lorain. According to a news release from the company, the new 155,000-square-foot stores will feature full garden centers, fresh grocery departments with bakeries, meat and deli counters, and more. “Each new store will follow mandated state requirements and guidelines regarding social distancing,” the company said. Last year, Meijer opened new stores in Avon, Mentor and Stow.

Tim Hodson

Tim Hodson is the editorial director of GPN and Big Grower. He can be reached at [email protected]

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GPN recognizes 40 industry professionals under the age of 40 who are helping to determine the future of the horticulture industry. These individuals are today’s movers and shakers who are already setting the pace for tomorrow.
Kait Barry
Susan Judd
Alex Kantor
Liz Hughes
Andrew Konicki
Kit Leider Pierri
Lauren Kirchner
Michelle Opela
Judson LeCompte

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