Schedule of Events

Garden Center Conference & Expo

Exhibit Hall Hours

Tuesday, September 28, 2021 - 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Times, sessions and speakers are subject to change.

9:00 AM – 6:30 PM

Registration Open
General Session

9:30 AM – 10:00 AM

Welcome Refreshments
Executive Summit

All-Access Pass Holders Only

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Your Customers are Vaccinated. Now What?
Executive Summit

All-Access Pass Holders Only

The COVID pandemic brought unprecedented demand to IGCs as consumers stayed home, rediscovered their yards and spent more at garden centers than they ever have before. Post-COVID, what trends will disappear and which will remain? How can you maintain your growth? Join Rob Sproule as he discusses how the pandemic has influenced trends already in motion such as reliance on e-commerce, millennials' interest in gardening, the rise of localism, increased demand for plants that provide value beyond aesthetics, an emphasis on consumer service and safety, and much more.

Rob Sproule
Speaker Rob Sproule Co-Owner Salisbury Greenhouse View Bio

11:00 AM – 11:15 AM

Networking Refreshment Break
Executive Summit

All Access Pass Holders Only

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM

Growing The Family Business: Expansion And Innovation At Gullo’s Garden Center
Executive Summit

All-Access Pass Holders Only

Growth is exciting, but it can also be a daunting endeavor. As your operation matures, what do you do when your needs outgrow your current footprint? Learn how Gullo’s Garden Center has managed three expansions as the 27-year-old garden center undergoes its fourth buildout.

Join Russell Gullo, who has worked at Gullo’s since the day it opened in 1994, as he shares what he’s learned taking the IGC from an outdoor tent in its first year to the powerhouse it is today. He’ll share what he’s learned from his experience, what fueled the growth and need for expansion, the internal business and family discussions they went through and all of the planning that went into both prior and current expansions. Bring your questions to join the conversation and learn from the Top 100 garden center’s experiences with expanding their footprint to better serve their customers and grow their own plant material.

Russell Gullo
Speaker Russell Gullo Chief Operating Officer Gullo’s Garden Center View Bio

12:15 PM – 1:30 PM

Networking Lunch
Executive Summit

All-Access Pass Holders Only

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Smart Succession Planning
Executive Summit

All-Access Pass Holders Only

Transitioning ownership of your IGC can be stressful, complicated and downright daunting. Learn from those who have gone through the process of transitioning ownership, set your business up for a successful sale and ask your burning questions about planning for the future.
Clint Fiore
Speaker Clint Fiore Founder and CEO Texas Business Buyers View Bio
Katherine Smith
Speaker Katherine Smith Owner Smith's Gardentown View Bio
Michael Fiore
Speaker Michael Fiore Manager Smith’s Gardentown View Bio

2:30 PM – 3:00 PM

Networking Refreshment Break
General Session

3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Keynote Session - Take Back Control: The Importance of Driving Trends Instead of Chasing Them
General Session

All-Access and Conference & Expo Pass Holders

When it comes to keeping up with trends, are you in the driver’s seat or a passenger hanging on for dear life? Keeping up with trends in the marketplace can feel like riding a roller coaster. By the time you react and start to tap into a new gardening or houseplant trend, your customers may already be moving on. Would you rather let social media influencers determine what you need to sell then chase down that product…or would you rather control that conversation from the start? As new and inexperienced gardeners search for guidance and inspiration, now is the time to take charge and lead from the front. Leslie will dig deeper into this idea and inspire you to quit chasing trends, and take the wheel as trend setters.

Leslie Halleck
Speaker Leslie Halleck Certified Pro Horticulturist, Consultant, Author Halleck Horticultural, LLC View Bio

4:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Welcome Reception/Top 100 Awards in the Exhibit Hall
General Session

8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Registration Open
General Session

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM

Networking Breakfast
General Session

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

The One Hour Strategic Plan
Executive

All-Access and Conference & Expo Pass Holders

Join John Kennedy as he delivers this fast-paced approach to “moving mountains” through vision, values and volition.

John’s “pebbles, rocks and boulders” program will deliver you a structured and strategic plan to help you navigate your garden center in 2022 and beyond.

Learn how to set your compass to “true north” and establish an entrepreneurial operating system (EOS) to drive traction to your team and traffic to your business.

John Kennedy
Speaker John Kennedy Owner John Kennedy Consulting View Bio

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Encouraging A Culture Of Feedback
Management

All-Access and Conference & Expo Pass Holders

Learn how create a company culture that values employee feedback and embraces change.

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Networking Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall
General Session

10:00 AM – 10:45 AM

Technology & Solutions Session 1
Tech Solutions

All Access and Conference & Expo Pass Holders

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

How to Make Your Customers Successful Plant Parents
Management

All Access and Conference & Expo Pass Holders

With the soaring popularity of houseplants, more and more people are bringing these living things into their homes but confused about exactly how to care for them. Googling for plant care advice tends to leave people with more questions than answers because that advice has been recycled from decades past when houseplants were treated as mere decor. Darryl brings a fresh perspective to an old hobby. His science-based, practical approach has helped thousands understand the essentials of houseplant care to become confident plant parents. Success propagates success: confident plant parents become repeat customers; plant advice that works and makes sense attracts new customers.

 

And how can we keep them coming back to the garden center? How do we better connect with a broader audience around houseplants? This session will also discuss the role of social media, how to use it effectively, and how to keep the interest in houseplants alive.

Darryl Cheng
Speaker Darryl Cheng Creator House Plant Journal View Bio

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Put the Social in Your Enterprise
Executive

All Access and Conference & Expo Pass Holders

More than 50% of consumers factor values into their purchase choices. Garden centers have a great opportunity to connect with these consumers by showcasing environmental, community and small business practices. From donations to civic groups to community outreach to job training programs, the things you value matter to your customers too. Learn how we can all impact the world for the better while shoring up the bottom line.
LaManda Joy
Speaker LaManda Joy Owner City Grange View Bio

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

Networking Lunch in the Exhibit Hall
General Session

12:30 PM – 1:15 PM

Technology & Solutions Session 2
Tech Solutions

All Access and Conference & Expo Pass Holders

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Build Your Brand By Being The Experts
Executive

All Access and Conference & Expo Pass Holders

Learn how to build your reputation as the plant experts in your community, get the word out about your garden center and your further reputation with education that’s right for your market.

AJ Petitti
Speaker AJ Petitti President Petitti Garden Centers View Bio

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

The Cannoli Factor of Employee Engagement
Management

All-Access and Conference & Expo Pass Holders

There are five things that motivate employees...and the funny thing is they have been the top five things for 50 years! Join John as he addresses the importance of one single word: Engagement! Learn how to turn your workplace culture into a property where your employees “want” to work and not “have” to work. Discover the value of a consistent on-boarding process, the continued success of The Great Game of Business, and the one value that employees look for out of a manager & leader.
John Kennedy
Speaker John Kennedy Owner John Kennedy Consulting View Bio

2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Networking Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall
General Session

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Story-telling Tips From A Theater Nerd: How Retail Is Theater And It's Time To Play!
Executive

All-Access and Conference & Expo Pass Holders

From "casting" to scripting to setting the stage, retail and theater have more in common than you might expect. Join Liz, a garden center Managing Director who came to her role with fifteen years experience in the performing arts, to learn how she translates the principles used to create captivating performances for the stage into unforgettable experiences in a retail environment. From communicating your IGC’s unique story and marketing with meaning to creating an environment your customers will want to visit again and again, you’ll learn how to engage your core audience in a way that will have them giving you a standing ovation.
Liz Lark-Riley
Speaker Liz Lark-Riley Managing Director Rockledge Gardens View Bio

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

How To Do More With Less
Management

All-Access and Conference & Expo Pass Holders

Attracting and retaining quality employees is one of the biggest challenges garden centers face every year. Learn how to invest in your top employees and help them make the most of their resources from staff to budgets and more to achieve great customer service, hit marketing goals and build your brand.

4:30 PM – 6:00 PM

Networking Reception in the Exhibit Hall
General Session

8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Registration Open
General Session

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM

Networking Breakfast
General Session

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Diversity And Inclusion In The Garden Center
Executive

All-Access and Conference & Expo Pass Holders

Join our panel for a discussion about improving diversity and inclusion in the garden industry. From creating a space that encourages gardeners of all backgrounds to representative marketing to thoughtful outreach, the conversation will touch on various ways to make employees and customers feel welcome and included.
Jessica Castillo
Speaker Jessica Castillo Marketing & Events Director Rockledge Gardens View Bio
Jasmine Jefferson
Speaker Jasmine Jefferson Founder Black Girls with Gardens View Bio

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Concurrent Session 5B
Management

All Access and Conference & Expo Pass Holders

10:00 AM – 10:45 AM

Networking Refreshment Break
General Session

10:45 AM – 12:00 PM

Concurrent Session 6B
Management

All Access and Conference & Expo Pass Holders

10:45 AM – 12:00 PM

Concurrent Session 6A
Executive

All Access and Conference & Expo Pass Holders

12:00 PM

Event Concludes
General Session