March 28, 2017

We’ve included many articles about niches in Industry Edge for good reasons. Specialty products can boost sales, draw in new customers and create a sense of community, especially for small retailers. So, for spring, why not consider adding something new to your lawn and garden category? Below are two ideas from retailers who have found success by branching out.

Hydroponic Niche. The practice of growing vegetables and other plants indoors using only water and nutrients has caught on in many urban and drought-affected areas like Texas and California. The trend intrigued Max Chenevert, vice president of Vernon’s Hardware in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who told Hardware Retailing magazine, “I could see the trend growing, so I decided to give it a try and started off with a 4-foot display. I knew very little about hydroponics in the beginning, and now, about seven or eight years later, it’s expanded to about a 100-foot display.”

For retailers who are considering the niche, Chenevert recommends hands-on training for staff and educating customers up front about the extra demands of hydroponic gardening by encouraging them to start small.

Fairy Garden Niche. For over seven years, Hartville Hardware in Hartville, Ohio, has built a business around the fairy garden trend. The store’s niche started with three feet of dedicated space but currently offers up to 20 feet of products and enticing displays. The store has one dedicated employee who is fully trained in product knowledge and planning strategies.

Store manager Steve McMillen offered this advice about the niche in an interview for Hardware Retailing magazine: “Honestly, you’ve got to get in deep. If you just add 10 items in the category, you won’t give your customers enough options. By having a wide selection of items, your customers will know you’re truly in the fairy garden business.”

To read more about these lawn and garden niches and others click here.


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