“This year’s show is a must-attend event for industry members who are looking to move their businesses to the next level,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). “The opportunity to see new products, network with colleagues and benefit from educational opportunities makes it an extremely valuable business investment for exhibitors and attendees alike.”
According to Kiser, exhibit space sales are already running ahead of what they were this time last year, and the organizers are anticipating they will top 2016’s record-breaking numbers. More products are expected to be at this exhibit as the number of new exhibitors increases each year.
It was reported that in 2016, 813 companies exhibited at GIE+EXPO and the co-located Hardscape North America (HNA). It was also reported that there were 180 new exhibitors. Additionally, the Outdoor Demonstration Area, which gives attendees the opportunity to test new products from both shows, is expected to either meet or exceed last year’s 20 acres.
HNA says that after moving into the North Wing last year to accommodate growth, they expect to continue that upward trajectory.
Admission to both the indoors and out hardscape exhibits is included with the GIE+EXPO registration. The company says that having this co-location gives the landscaping professionals the opportunity to see new products and explore ways to tap into the growing hardscape market. A $50 upgrade will also give landscape pros access to live hardscape demos in the HNA Demo Arena tent.
The GIE+EXPO Workshops are scheduled to feature 10 sessions that will help landscapers grow their businesses. The lineup this year will feature two hardscape sessions with insights and tips for contractors who want to delve into that market. Other workshops that will be sponsored by the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) are on topics such as marketing strategies, training your staff for a safe, competent and effective workforce, hiring and retaining top-notch employees and sustainable winter management. A complete schedule can be found on the GIE+EXPO website under the tab Education.
Dealer Day will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 18 and all other industry participants are welcomed to the expo on Oct. 19-20. This annual event is sponsored by OPEI, NALP and the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS). HNA is sponsored by the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI).
Online waterwise plant database now up and running
The St. Johns River Water Management District now has an online waterwise plant database that can help landscapers research the correct plants for their client’s yards based on specific growing conditions.
This web-based tool is designed to help landscapers determine which are the most appropriate plants for a landscape given the natural growing conditions found there.
The database is searchable by common name, scientific name, color of flowers, size, soil moisture needed, hardiness zones, salt tolerance, light and shade requirements and more, and it offers information on hundreds of plant species.
It also allows users to compare information about different plants to determine if they are suitable to be planted together and to plan better planting areas.
“Among the district’s greatest priorities is promoting water conservation,” St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Ann Shortelle said in a press release from the organization. “Because one of the biggest uses of water is lawn and landscape irrigation at our homes and businesses, using water wisely in our landscapes is an important personal responsibility. Florida-friendly landscaping is easy — plus, saving water saves homeowners money!”
Waterwise landscaping webpages created by the district provide information on how to design a water-conserving landscape, as well as how to group plants according to their needs (planting region, soil conditions and sunlight). Accessible via smartphones and other mobile devices, the database can be used when out and about purchasing plants at garden centers and nurseries.
Meinika expands Spring-Green system for third time
Ryan Meinika expanded his Spring-Green franchise for a third time in October 2016. Spring-Green Lawn Care in Plainfield, Illinois, was founded in 1977.
“Ryan’s commitment to the Spring-Green system has been one of the biggest contributors to his success,” said David Dawson, Spring-Green’s director of franchise operations at Spring-Green’s corporate office in Plainfield, Illinois. “He also continues to keep a focus on aligning the correct marketing investments for his business’s size and desired growth. Ryan has also turned his focus over the years to building a solid Spring-Green team.”
When Meinika started his first Spring-Green franchise in 2005, he had recently graduated from Ball State University. He received 550 customers in his first year and now serves 2,540 customers throughout Northeast Indiana and Fort Wayne.
“When I started, I had an aggressive 10-year goal, which I achieved,” Meinika said.
For his successful growth with Spring-Green, Meinika credits good customer service, his employees, smart marketing, dedication and hard work.
“You don’t just buy a franchise or start a business and have success,” Meinika said. “You have to make it happen and be prepared to sacrifice for your company in whatever way is needed.”
When Meinika felt it was time to expand, he worked closely with his Spring-Green business consultant to lay out a data-driven plan and adjust his goals to take the needed steps. With clear goals in mind, he points out, Spring-Green helped him outline a marketing plan and playbook that allowed him to both grow and expand.
Meinika says he appreciated his partnership with Spring-Green because, “they are a sounding board when I need to bounce ideas or vent, they’re always there.”
Meinika is now married with a daughter. He notes that owning Spring-Green is hard work but it is worth it.
“My family and earning a good living are what motivates and inspires me,” Meinika said. “My plan for the future is to keep growing and get the best quality staffing in place.”