A decade’s difference

Nearly 10 years ago, in our July 1, 2001, issue, American Nurseryman addressed the state of the industry. Looking back on the events of that year, it seems like a lifetime ago. And it seems like yesterday.

What was the state of the green industry then, and how does it compare to today? A quick look at the feature titles alone tells us something: “Time for Technology?”; “What’s Up With the Economy?”; “Green Marketing”; and “A Stake in the Environment.” Sound familiar? We could run the same titles today and they’d be just as current.

Let’s tackle technology. Ten years ago, green industry professionals were grappling with the Internet and its applications for the industry. Many companies were just beginning to experiment with their own Web sites: In this article, one grower stated, “I just think the Internet is like anything else – they’ve had to drag us kicking and screaming into the new century.” Another agreed: “People generally drag their feet when it comes to using new technology.”

The “Time for Technology” article then states, “However slow the progression might be, there are some businesses in the green industry – including retailers, landscape contractors and wholesalers – that are beginning to experiment with what the Internet makes possible.”

Think about it: Where would your business be today without the Web? Yet, as little as 10 years ago we were dipping our toes into the pool, just beginning to test the waters.

Our coverage continues, “Every nursery professional American Nurseryman contacted for this article insisted the Internet was a tool that could provide nurseries with added exposure or help bolster sales – none spoke of the technology as something that would or could replace the physical business site or mail-order catalog. Many asked, ‘Would you buy plant material that you haven’t seen?'”

Well, yes.

But in 2011, will you buy it because you saw it on someone’s Facebook page or heard about it on a Twitter feed?