Jerry Simpson, who co-owns Creekside Nursery in Dallas, North Carolina with his wife Jenny, says the retail side of the business is what primarily drives sales. That includes annuals and perennials grown in greenhouses, but also shrubs and trees produced outdoors.
Annuals specifically, he says, account for about 70% of what Creekside grows under cover. Much of that product is geared towards the busy spring season. That’s true even this year, when sales have been different amid the on-going coronavirus pandemic. Simpson adds that Proven Winners is the main supplier of the company’s annual varieties.
“We’re known as a destination around here for Proven Winners annuals – and perennials too,” he says. “It brings people in.”
Creekside has been working with Proven Winners since 2013’s sell season when Simpson began looking at what he was planning to grow for 2014. When he was shopping around, he was looking for 4” offerings to fill bench space.
“I found Proven Winners’ retail resource guide,” he says. “So I found that, and it was all laid out for us. We used, and still do, use all that marketing power from the tags to the supplemental stuff that they have on their website that we use on ours and in social media. All of it’s there for us.”
When growing Proven Winners annuals – including Supertunia® and Superbells® – he says they’ve all been easy to grow. Additionally, Simpson says there’s an added benefit in knowing the plants he’s growing have been tested for quality and proven to sell.
“They put all the work into figuring out what’s going to sell or doesn’t sell,” he says. “It doesn’t become a Proven Winner unless it goes through the whole trial process.”
As for the varieties, Simpson loves the Superbells® – a calibrachoa that grows between 6” and “10 – because it performs great in hanging baskets.
“From ‘Holy Moly’ to ‘Tropical Sunrise’, we love those in hanging baskets,” he says. “Very compact, easy to grow.”For the Supertunia® – Proven Winners’ market-leading petunia – Simpson has a plant customers know they can count on.
“We plant it in the landscape or in hanging baskets and people love it,” he says. “Particularly with ‘Bubblegum’, it’s flower power is incredible. And if you can establish the plant early on, it has such a vigorous root system that it’s going to get itself well-rooted so the customer is going to happy. And that’s what we want.”