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I am doing a market survey. Our local nursery is closing and I thought maybe I would start my own store, so I am researching my options.  This would be in downtown Phoenix.  I want to start small, so it might be more of a gardening coop.  I am also looking for suppliers, instructors and a partners.

What basic gardening stuff, do you wish you could just run down to the local store and buy?

What plant related items would make you chose one store over the other, like canning supplies, lawn ornaments, eggs, locally grown meat, cheese, wine, classes, etc?

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I'd have my reservations about an app as a business owner and a buyer. The only plants I buy on line (and this is rare) are those I can't get here locally. When they are local I can choose which one specifically I want among many. I want this tomato plant and not that tomato plant. When it's something unusual I'm less choosy because it's great I could find what I was looking for. Does this nursery fit the desire to have unusual needs? Also, with shipping comes guarantees that can be a challenge in Phoenix when shipping items in a box.

Secondly Uber and AirBnB have an implicit advantage in that they are discounted from traditional retail. It's cheaper than a cab or a hotel room. Would the app have a cheaper feature built in? It has already mentioned that nursery's run on tight margins, whereas an app requires an individual to run and update the app regularly, and a reason for me the user to actually want to use it.

innovation is often costly and the ROI may not exist in this particular sub segment of business.

Yes, starting a business is difficult and risky.

To spitball numbers some numbers...the new business model has no land costs (purchase, property tax etc), no direct employee cost (consignment commissions instead), no inventory carrying cost due to consignment, smaller retail space because inventory is local (rapid inventory management). I think a $16 Home Depot Canna could be sold for about $8 with both the retailer and grower making the same profit. But no need to give away the store so sell for $10-12 and still under cut Home Depot and increase margins.

There's nothing very special about the markets Uber and Airbnb serve. The same concept is being applied to many markets.

The software app is not a requirement for the model. However it would be an asset. Not so long ago people said they'd never buy clothes and other items online. But companies like Amazon created systems that allowed customers to become more comfortable with the concept. It's good that it would seem difficult to pull off, it creates a barrier to entry for competitors. It's a risk, which is why pulling it off would be richly rewarded.

You have some GREAT ideas, Waterbug!  Where do you sell your cannas?

Based on attendance at the AZ Rare Fruit Grower's and Master Gardener/Metro Tech spring and fall plant sales over the past few years, there seems to be real demand for some of the more "unusual" plants, as well as old favorites and standbys.  Most of the really choice plants are gone within the first 15 minutes. 

Also, Brian raised an important point - most plant people want to choose the plant that they are purchasing.

I don't sell Canna. I do think it would be interesting to be a backyard wholesale grower. Would push me to learn more and obtain new virus free varieties.

I don't see why it wouldn't be possible for buyers to choose the specific plant at a retail location. Why not? Also having the choice to view specific plants online and buying those is a separate option some people would like if done correctly. I've bought specific Koi online before from Japan and I've bought Koi in retail stores. It can be done.

Perhaps what hangs people up is the horrible online state of current nurseries. They provide almost no useful info on buying anything. That should indicate a clueless industry more than whether people would buy plants online.

The online angle is just a way to turn a local mom and pop nursery into a money maker. And money is what keeps a business going. While the online app would serve locals it could also add a global potential too if an owner was willing to ship. Would a person in Germany want to buy a Sonoran Desert native from a nursery in the Sonoran Desert? Me thinks so. Virus free Canna rhizomes from a seller who provides pictures of the actual mother plant? I don't see why not. Every spring northern water garden keepers are crazy to replace lots of their tropicals which we could have ready in our climate.

It's just a question of having 1 or 2 growers wanting to grow these types of plants, or other specialties.

what varieties of Cannas do you grow? I have several that I'm growing myself that I've acquired online from nurseries in Florida and Pennsylvania and they're all virus free.

The exact varieties are hard to tell. What I've been doing is collecting from people who had them in their yard for a long time (no one seems to remember exactly how long) and appear virus free. No one remembers the varieties so I'd have to either guess or come up with new names. No really sure which would be worst, creating a new name or getting the real name wrong.

This has limited me to kind of the classics. I haven't yet run into any of the variegated leaf types for example that I would trust.

When collected I grow them in one part of my yard for a year or two to see if I see any problems. After that I consider them virus free and plant them close to my others.

Of course I don't actually know if they are virus free, just as grower can't really be sure. My Canna could be infected today and I might give some away tomorrow assuming they're virus free. It's been very scary.

I'd be a bit afraid to buy from any grower, but I guess as long as new arrivals are quarantined for a year or two it would be as safe as collecting them from other people. It's a very slow process.

This is what originally gave me the idea for growers being spread out, growing small batches, rather than the traditional acres of Canna where the virus can spread so fast. I'm hoping Phoenix will be a safe area. Lots of Canna here, but seems to be pretty spread out.

How long have you had your virus free Canna?

I have quite a few varieties. I've been buying new ones pretty much every spring time. The oldest ones I have are Canna 'Bengal Tiger'. 

Canna 'Bengal Tiger'

Canna 'Bird of Paradise'

Canna 'Tuckerhemii'

Canna 'Kentucky Sunset'

Canna 'President'

Canna 'Gigundo'

Canna 'Ripples'

Canna 'Angele Martin'

Canna 'Australis'

and another red flower variety that's unknown to me.

All are virus free and all do pretty well here. I buy them from Karchesky Canna and from BriansBotanicals.

Hey!  You guys have seriously hi-jacked this thread.  Create a new thread about canna, k?   :-)

Beautiful.

Thank you, he *is* cute isn't he??  ;-))

Waterbug,

Have you ever eaten or used your canna lillies for medicinal purposes?

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