I love webinars. They’re great for sharing compelling information in an incredibly convenient format. This is especially the case when they are archived and can be viewed at a person’s convenience. I mention this because I finally found time to return to and view Dr. Charlie Hall’s “Economic Outlook for the Green Industry in 2015”.
Hall is the Ellison Chair in International Floriculture at Texas A&M University. He is also chief economist for AmericanHort, and has the rare ability (perhaps it’s his down-home Carolina style) to make what, on the surface, appears to be disconnected, dry economic indicators come together and paint the bigger picture of the U.S. economy. And, for most of the 59 minutes of Hall’s entertaining webinar, that’s just what he did, focusing on the collective impact of this wealth of data on the green industry.
In a nutshell, Hall is predicting a good year for the green industry—the entire green industry—from plant breeding, to nursery, to retail and wholesale, to service providers and to all of the ancillary pieces and parts that support the industry.
“The bottom line from an economic standpoint is there really isn’t anything holding us back from having a great 2015,” says Hall. “We are not hitting any home runs out of the park, but we’re consistently hitting singles and doubles.”
He is basing his prediction on the slew of economic indicators that he collects and analyzes on a regular basis. These include statistics related to housing starts and remodeling activity, unemployment, energy prices, GDP, demographics, you name it.
Some of the most encouraging data focused on consumer spending exceeding even pre-recession levels, a housing market beginning to regain momentum and fuel prices lower than they were entering the 2014 season.
“We are in a position to grow right now, but we’ve got to grow in a smart fashion,” says Hall. “That means don’t overleverage yourself. Leverage works great when economic conditions are good, but we saw the negative side of that (overleverage) after the Great Recession when we saw many of our peers exit the industry.”
Hall summarizes his presentation with these three points:
- We are in the best shape going into spring than we have been in several years.
- Be aggressive with sound contingency plans in place, but don’t let the media shape your strategic mindset.
- Pay attention to the value, relevancy and authenticity success formula.
To view Dr. Hall’s “Economic Outlook for the Green Industry in 2015”, click here.