Group Communications and Programs

The Group provides you with direction, support, guidance, and assistance in some of the most important aspects of running your garden center. You'll find proven methods, techniques and principles straight from our carefully selected team of Service Providers, as well as from other like-minded garden center owners in The Group. Communication plays an important role in providing Group centers with valuable, business-building ideas. We keep you in touch through a variety of channels.

GROUPtalk enews

Our weekly enews keeps you in touch with the latest Group happenings plus information about seasonal business planning and market observations you can immediately implement in your business.


An online platform for education, engagement and inspiration, this virtual experience provides monthly opportunities for learning, sharing, and collaborating with both our Service Providers and Peers through educational Sessions, Q&A, Panel Discussions, and more – all recorded so Group Clients can replay a session or share it with other staff. These sessions, held the second Thursday of each month, are hosted in Zoom.

Group Email ListServes

Our ListServes offer a digital exchange of information for the benefit of those who want their garden center to become or continue to be profitable! With highly focused content, one topic at a time, you'll get the information & feedback you need in time to apply it. We offer six different categories, plus six Point-of-Sale User Groups. Subscribe to one or all. We archive all email communications, making it easy to search for past messages and refer to them when needed.

Group Financial Sharing Programs

At the heart of The Garden Center Group is sharing. A big part of that sharing is two very important financial sharing programs, the Weekly Depart Review (with sales and transaction data) and the Annual P&L Study. The basis for these two sharing programs is our Standardized Chart of Accounts, developed over the past 20 years. It is through this account list that all the benchmarking and comparisons are produced.

Weekly Department Review (WDR)

Being part of The Group allows you to participate in an industry exclusive, now in its 18th year, with more than 120 garden centers from all over the country sharing their sales figures on a weekly basis for more than 25 product/department categories. You'll find areas of opportunity to help each department of your garden center perform at a progressively higher level by comparing sales trends and promotional results with other centers in your Sales Group as well as nationwide. There is no other benchmarking program in the industry where you can go for detailed financial information like this. In 2023, we rolled out a new online version of the WDR taking it to a whole new level with over 5,000 weekly uploads, creating an unparalleled volume of data and analysis. After years of spreadsheet-based sharing, the new system provides the same data we’ve grown to rely on – with much more in-depth analysis.

Several centers have told us that this one service alone is enough to make them decide to become part of The Group.

  • Here's what Chris Trad, owner of Trad's Garden Center, Jacksonville, Florida says about the WDR (Weekly Department Review)... "I just wanted to take a moment to voice how wonderful of an exercise it is to do the WDR on a weekly basis. It has given me a lot of data to work with so I can tweak things in a far more effective manner than before. Kudos! "

  • Here's what Sig Feile, owner of Atlantic Nursery - Freeport, New York says about the WDR (Weekly Department Review) ... "Instituting margin reporting is the most beneficial tool for The Group ever. Everybody is creeping up which translates to thousands and thousands of dollars to the bottom line for the companies and its owners. A few centers are trailing, but I think they too will “get it”. The difference in margin from year to year is unbelievable!"

Regional Financial Group

Meeting and sharing financial information with Group garden centers in your region is a valuable tool for your center. The Regional Group concept fulfills that need, gathering together the best garden centers for a one-day session of discussing and comparing garden center financials and how to improve upon Profitability. These meetings are at an additional fee.

Annual P&L Study

Now in its 18th year, this is the industry's most detailed sales and expense study to date. The analysis of financial information submitted is in a standardized format according to The Garden Center Group's official chart of accounts. Participating garden centers receive their results compared to the total Group Average and the Best Practices/High Achiever Group Average. The results of this study are presented each Spring during a GROUPtalk LIVE Session with more in-depth analysis at The Fall Event.

Standardized Chart of Accounts - Available to all Garden Centers!

The basis for both the Weekly Department Review and the Annual P&L Study is our Standardized Chart of Accounts. It is through this account list that all the benchmarking and comparisons are produced. We share this account list with all garden centers, even those not in The Group. We hope this can help anyone needing to realign their chart of accounts or are just setting up a new system! Follow this link to request a link to download The Group's Standardized Chart of Accounts as PDF, along with definitions. CLICK HERE.

Clients Only Website Pages

When your company becomes part of The Group, you will have access to a password-protected section of our website. Our Clients Only pages contain a constant update of information exclusive to Group Centers:

Weekly GROUPtalk enews, email, and website links to all Group centers, Service Providers, 'Partners for Success' and Preferred Vendors, plus thousands of photos showcasing the best ideas from Group centers across the country, weekly sales results from all participating Group centers throughout the country with a Weekly Department Review report that compiles sales, promotions, weather, and customer shopping patterns, articles written by Service Providers exclusively for Group Centers, detailed information about upcoming Group events, workshops, tours and gatherings as well as notes and photos from recent Group events, workshops, tours, and trade shows.

Mystery Shop Program

It has been over 23 years since the introduction of The Group Mystery Shopper Progam. Over 3,900 shops have now been completed forming the foundation for this beneficial customer service benchmarking with actionable intelligence providing a look through the customer lens to uncover key drivers to create operational excellence and a customer-centric experience to wow your customers. This program is available only to Group Clients. Details are available on the Clients Only web pages under Power Tools.

The Fall Event

It was just a matter of time before we all realized that the traditional industry meetings that take place every Winter needed a change. Winter is not the best time to consider new concepts, create plans for Spring, or make serious buying decisions. Between an overload of association seminars and almost weekly trade shows, who has time to put anything you might see or hear in place before Spring? That's why The Group has our annual meeting in the Fall, so there's plenty of time to implement new ideas before Spring arrives.

This unique vent, held in various cities throughout the country, provides you with the opportunity to meet face-to-face with other Group centers, talk with Service Providers and see the newest products from Vendors. Workshops and seminars conducted by professionals from all facets of business are short on theory and long on ideas and processes you can put right to work to help your center improve. Considered today by both retailers and suppliers as THE BEST EVENT for Garden Retailers – ask for more details!

Group Gatherings

Your participation in Group activities is one of the best ways to get "connected". This is the opportunity for you to take part in a number of meetings, workshops, educational sessions, tours and more – all designed to provide you with the information and network you need to help you reach both your business and personal goals. And to accomplish that, we always try to leave time to mix business and pleasure. Spend some virtual or in-person time with us, or at one of many meetings throughout the year at regional trade shows and you'll see what we mean.

Retailers' Choice Awards™

Our Retailers' Choice Awards are not just selected by anyone... They are selected by a panel of distinguished retailers who buy and sell products for a living. Products or services deserving this special recognition are selected based on their appeal and innovation, a new approach to an old formula, products or services retailers would consider adding to their inventory, and with the best potential to be best sellers. The Retailers' Choice Awards™ are presented at several industry trade shows throughout the country and offer you a chance to get a first-hand look at the latest and most innovative products and meet other retailers from across the country.

A Sense of Community

A very unique aspect of The Group is the environment of sharing information between everyone involved. If you have questions or concerns with almost any area of your business, help is as close as a call, fax, or email to one of the Service Providers or to another center in The Group. Interaction between all participants is encouraged. This is networking at its best... between friends and people genuinely interested in your success.

To view a list of Group Benefits CLICK HERE.