Conjure up in your mind your last visit to a garden center. What was it like?
Chances are good that it smelled a little funny—maybe like chemicals. There were piles of seed, soil, rocks on pallets. A variety of plastic pots were piled on industrial-looking shelves. Tools hung on pegboards. Rows and rows of plants were lined up like little green soldiers.
If you believe the surveys that say more than three-quarters of American adults claim to do some gardening, it’s astounding that our shopping resources are so meager and devoid of style.
Finally, those clever marketers that created the distinctive, hip brands Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters have decided to tackle the garden market and inject some style. And not a minute too soon, for my taste.
Earlier this month, they opened Terrain at Styer’s, the first store in a whole new garden center concept. According to John Kinsella, Terrain’s managing director, the goal of Terrain is to be a “destination” rather than the typical drive-by pit stop visit to most garden centers.
Terrain at Styer’s is located in
Kinsella says that people typically stay at Terrain for three to five hours. Products include items sourced from all over the world that you wouldn’t see at other garden centers.
“If we were to be compared this to another garden center, women would feel this is a more accessible experience than going to a typical garden center or a big box store,” said Kinsella. “There is more attention to presentation. It’s a voyage of discovery with interesting ways of presenting products that will inspire people.”
Unlike Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, which were built from the ground up, the Terrain stores will partner with existing local garden centers to create the Terrain brand. Kinsella wasn’t disclosing future locations, but he did say that they expect a new Terrain to be open by year’s end.
I put in my bid with Kinsella for
Kinsella says Terrain’s market is “everyone.” While that sounds nicely democratic, I suspect that the real market for now is the garden stylista with some money to spend.
There will always be people who prefer the utilitarian nature of the big box store garden department. But if Terrain can make gardening hip and stylish, maybe it will ignite a hot new wave of gardening enthusiasm.
I’m all for that. I’m also all for shopping. Road trip anyone?