No matter what business you’re in, December is a good time to reflect on the past year and to look ahead to what’s coming up next. Asking yourself what worked and what didn’t this year, what goals you want to set for 2018 and how you can get better in the next year are some of the ways to do so. Everyone has their method of reflection, too. For me, it typically involves meditation, a pot of herbal tea and an empty notepad. The fewer screens, the better.

This month’s cover story features Timbuk Farms, a Columbus, Ohio-area business many of you may have visited during the Cultivate17 floriculture tours. Led by owner Jim Gibson and his wife LaVonda, Timbuk has taken the opportunity to review its business in the last year and then evolve it into something better. As succulents have become more popular, especially with younger consumers, Timbuk saw an opportunity to add a new revenue stream and build a new succulent brand. It's been less than a year since Timbuk added succulents, but Gibson says the customers already love the new offerings, and despite a few small mistakes along the way, the program is on its way to becoming a consistent source of income.

“We’re really going to work hard on holidays and try to get steady, year-round income,” he says. “And then when you get into spring and summer, we’ll see [how it goes]. But that’s our goal.” You can start reading the story here.

Also in this issue, Dr. Christopher J. Currey writes about how growers can combat liner stretch, John Bartok offers his insight into labor costs and Leslie Halleck explores the do's and don'ts of promoting from within.

Lastly, you may have noticed by now that there is another new face on this column, after my colleague Patrick Williams wrote last month’s letter. But for our next issue, Editor Karen E. Varga will return from her well-deserved sabbatical. In the meantime, you can drop me a line at and reach Patrick at

Happy holidays, and may you also get a few well-deserved days off to spend with your friends and family!

Chris Manning, Assistant Editor

216-393-0265 | Twitter: @Manning_GIE