The Nominations for the 2019 Awards of Excellence are in!

2019 NGISA Awards of Excellence

The nominations are:
(listed in order of nomination)

Retail Garden Centres

1. Newmans Nursery, Tea Tree Gully
Newmans is an award-winning garden centre of long-standing. They are regarded for:
– the range of promotions they do – for roses over Easter and camellias through Autumn and winter. This year they supported the RAHS with a camellia display at the Royal Adelaide Show.
– they have a strong media presence through Dianne and Jon Hall appearing on 5aa on weekends and contributing to the SA Gardens & Outdoor Living magazine.
– this year were involved in the SALA Festival with original works on display which brought in a totally different clientele.
– And in the past 12 months they have introduced as part of their environmental policy new style bags that are made from vegetable material and are plastic free. They are certified Australian Compostable and will breakdown with organic waste into compost.

2. Vadoulis Garden Centre, Gawler
This garden centre is well known through its owner Milton Vadoulis who has served on the board of NGISA and his television and radio appearances.
They have:
– a professional merchandiser employed who keeps displays fresh and interesting
– a good number of qualified nursery staff to assist all the customers with their needs
– made a point of stocking quality locally grown plants wherever possible
– And in the past 12 months a better layout of stock has been done and more social media used in promotion

3. Semaphore Pets & Gardens
They describe it like ‘walking into an Aladdin’s cave’ and say:
– They have great healthy stock and a big range of plant pharmacy products
– Try and buy as much as possible from local growers and support the the local association and media
– There is a fantastic family/crew with great customer service skills who help to inform and inspire customers
– And in the past 12 months they have installed a new organic pruning system – her name is Audrey, the alpaca!

4. Notts Nursery, Murray Bridge
This family owned and operated nursery by David and Judy says:
– Their customers compliment them regularly on the ambience of the nursery that makes for a unique experience
– They consistently are striving to improve the presentation of the nursery and offer competitive pricing
– They have branched out supplying succulents to other nurseries and attending markets
– And in the last 12 months they have made many improvements renovating the display areas with bold colours, rustic display benches and retro light fittings, all designed to showcase stock and inspire customers

5. Adelaide Tree Farm, Carey Gully
This relatively new tree nursery in the Adelaide Hills says they have:
– an amazing large range of semi mature ornamental trees at competitive prices. It’s a ‘destination’ nursery and customers enjoy taking time to walk around and pick from the thousands of trees in stock, usually staying for an hour or so.
– a very strong social media marketing presence, including one campaign featuring a video with drone footage. It reached 65,000, had 28,000 views and 612 likes.
– only been open as a business since October 2015 and have doubled turnover every year since. Through consistent advertising, community networking and exceptional customer service a large repeat and referral customer base has been developed.
– And in the past 12 months they have increased their range from just trees – now selling a range of hedging and screening plants, add-ons like fertilizer, mulch, compost, tree stakes, ag pipe etc.

6. Barossa Nursery, Nuriootpa
This national award-winning nursery tells us that they have:
– A huge range of plants all of top quality. Some they grow themselves and others they buy from quality local growers. As well there is a huge range of giftware and dry goods.
– The BEST staff! Between the staff they have over 100 years of horticultural knowledge which is passed onto customers with passion.
– A belief that they are a progressive garden centre. They try to stay on top of trends and have embraced social media to reach a broader market.
– And in the past 12 months they have rebranded themselves from signage to uniforms to marketing, cladded the walls of their showroom and continued to grow and promote their customer loyalty base – now with over 7000 members.

7. Morgan Park Garden Centre, Victor Harbor
Another national award winning garden centre right here in SA. They:
– continually strived for excellence and to raise the bar with a strong desire to improve despite having won awards in the past. Improvements are constantly being made to layout, presentation, staff training, facilities, signage and range.
– have a professional presentation to customers both in store with layout, displays and gardens & through their monthly newsletter, website and regular social media updates.
– have a strong commitment to support the South Australian nursery industry and our suppliers by being active members of NGISA and the NGISA board as well as sponsoring NGISA and NextGen.
– And in the past 12 months,despite new competition from Bunnings, they have continued to reinvest in our business facilities and our staff. The ways have included more new benches for better layout and more effective displays, new trolleys for easier shopping and new barcoding software.

8. Allora Gardens Nursery, Darwin (NT)
Our only Northern Territory retail member (there is no NGI in NT) this nursery is also an award-winning one. They:
– pride themselves in keeping up with trends and actually inventing trends to keep shoppers coming back for inspiration. Customers are their no.1 priority.
– educate people on how to be self-sufficient and learn hot to cope with seasons, pest and diseases. They run workshops on ‘Grow Fresh, Cook Fresh and Eat Fresh’
– the team is constantly training and being mentored with weekly team meetings – they never stop learning says owner Estelle Cornell
– And in the past 12 months they were hit by Cyclone Marcus that all but destroyed the nursery, but seven months on they have bounced back, doubling the size of the shade house for indoor plants and their retail business is back to where they want it to be.

9. The Earthworks, Berri
This nursery is owned by Dianne Marshall and it:
– prides itself on customer service and friendly, helpful staff. All permanent staff, including Dianne have a minimum of Certificate 3 in Horticulture to enable them to provide expert advice on plant selection and care advice.
– ‘reinvented itself’ after the opening of a Bunnings store in Berri using low cost marketing such as social media (Facebook) and a weekly newsletter. Every week over 900 customers get an email newsletter informing them of what’s new and providing general gardening advice.
– Is known for the colour displays which is a driving force behind their merchandising. Path ways are lined with hanging baskets and plants in full flower down the centre aisles.
– And in the past 12 months they have renovated and painted the showroom & removed two large trees from the car park which brightened the interior, enabling indoor plants to be brought inside and cross merchandised with indoor pots and baskets to create a dynamic display. Plus created a new area designated for cacti and succulents with lots of quirky items planted out to inspire customers.

10. Garden Grove Supplies, Golden Grove
This nursery has one of the largest undercover areas in SA along with a major landscaping side to the business. About the nursery they tell us:
– They are a large well stocked garden centre that prides itself on customer service and advice, doing their utmost to source stock for and special order requests and we carry a huge range of plants and associated stock year round.
– quality plants and supplies are sourced from local growers and suppliers where possible. Being a family owned business they like to continually promote SA Grown and Best of SA.
– throughout the year they have been running children’s workshops to promote gardening into the future, as well as fostering relationships with local schools and community groups
– And in the past 12 months they have been carrying a bigger and better range of indoor plants and associated products in the showroom on large display rounds, as well as using the power of social media and other marketing to increase indoor plant sales by 30%.

Hardware Garden Centres

1. Barrow and Bench Mitre 10 Malvern.
This award winning garden centre tells us that it:
– is known for the quality and presentation of the stock, and the service customers receive.
– runs a very effective social media campaign with Instagram posts driving sales back into the business.
– has a proud history of assisting others. In the past year they have supported many organisations with donations of plants or goods to support gardening and the joy of gardening within our community.
– And in the last 12 months, further studies by senior management (Professional Management Program) have seen internal changes occur within the business which has resulted in improved procedures across the store. In addition, the store has worked with Unley Council to ensure they are part of the Active Ageing community in Unley.

2. Banner Mitre 10 Glenelg
The garden centre tells us that they have expanded their range of plants and products, improved signage and brought in extra expertise. Over the past 12 months they have improved category signage as well.

3. Barossa Mitre 10 Garden Centre, Nuriootpa
They tell us that they:
– use advanced plants and several different plant options to help customers to visualize ideas in their own space
– offer a range of 125mm budget plants competitively priced allowing customers to garden on a budget
– have a 500+ membership garden club kept up to date on Facebook with discounts and what’s on in the garden centre
– And in the past 12 months they have removed the ‘supermarket feel’ of the garden centre and given customers a ‘wow’ experience as they walk in.

4. Banner Mitre 10 Blackwood
Management tell us that they are:
– proud to source locally grown plants and build relationships with SA growers and therefore a better-quality product for customers
– proud to have Marguerite on board who is very knowledgeable and passionate about gardening
– always looking for additional products and variety to offer customers
– And in the past 12 months they have increased the variety of indoor plants and associated products and joined the Plant Life Balance program

5. Glynde Mitre 10.
Another award-winning garden centre. They tell us:
– they are a family business for over 65 years giving great customer service, and providing technical and inspirational service
– community involvement is important, and they work with the local council in programs aimed at getting kids and first timers out in the garden
– their Gar’DEN place provides a space where customers can access information online, and also provides a space for kids to play.
– And in the past 12 months they have increased their accessories range, enhanced their succulents and cacti vertical garden and now have a dedicated Weber barbeque shop.

6. Banner Mitre 10 Norwood
This garden centre puts forward these reasons why they should be considered:
– actively promoting via Facebook and emails to their customers about new products and plants and tips and a Plant of the Week
– always introducing something new into their plant range and creating interesting plant displays
– have dedicated plant ‘champions’ (Mike and Kellie) who take pride in the appearance and performance of the garden centre.
– And in the past 12 months they have tripled the space dedicated to indoor plants and giftware with plans to increase it further.

7. McLaren Vale Mitre 10 Garden Centre
This garden centre prides itself on:
– fresh and diverse range of plants and the overall presentation and appearance of the garden centre
– a strong customer service ethic with knowledgeable staff and strong and loyal customer and supplier base
– highly competitive pricing for quality stock sourced locally where possible.
– And in the past 12 months the centre has undergone a transformation with added stock, and more variety in garden features and giftware.

Wholesale Production Nurseries

1.Poplar Grove Wholesale Nursery, Sellicks Beach
– Potting efficiency continues to improve with a 2nd nursery forklift purchased and a third in the pipeline.
– Potting is mechanized as much as possible and all propagation material is potted within 3 days.
– An IPM program is in its third year which has seen a reduction in pesticide use time in spraying and lower pest numbers and damage.
– Social media is used with a preference for Instagram profiling stock and the ‘12 Best Plants of the Week’
– Their ‘Elite’ label range continues to grow covering around 75% of the total range and the signature blue pot is well established in the marketplace.
– The nursery is also gaining a reputation for its April trials, showing retailers new and established varieties under SA growing conditions.
– And in the past 12 months the main improvement has been in the relaying of new growing areas, with shade houses being removed and replaced, paths and sprinklers realigned, all to ensure the nursery has a better flow. Dispatch is now much quicker.

2. Jongs Nursery, Mount Compass
This nursery produces a limited range of plants which it has developed since it began just 10 years ago.
– They produce advanced potted colour in 120mm pots, orchids and Zantedeschia
– Seven permanent and up to seven part-time staff are employed
– Their target market is the ‘top end entrepreneurs’ in the nursery industry capable of handling larger volumes.
– Recent business growth has come from customers further afield in SA and interstate
– An increasingly larger percentage of stock is pre-ordered ensuring stock at the optimal conditions when customers need it
– Internally they are focused on setting up systems that emphasise the best of what the nursery has to offer and to upgrade existing facilities.
– NIASA accreditation is a commitment, as is continued NGISA sponsorship, support for Next Gen and national industry involvement with Peter Jong about to become the SA representative on the NGIA board.
– And in the past 12 months this has included a climate computer upgrade with increase control capabilities and installation of a moveable second screen in the Phalaenopsis growing area.

3. Native Plant Wholesalers, Mount Gambier
This large production nursery on 18 acres with largest variety of Australian Native Plants in Australia:
– Employs 40 people and grows around 1,000,000 plants per annum and send to all states in Australia
– Their trucks travel to Melbourne 3-4 times a week and twice a week to Adelaide so most nurseries get their order in same week of ordering.
– Propagates 60% roughly onsite then buy in Tubes, Plugs and Tissue Culture
– Has a modern facility with up to date machinery and trucks
– Weekly email of list with regular social media posts.
– Run the nursery on the Nursery Management System with benefits of – efficiency in picking orders, invoicing and barcoding, management of stock levels on the ground, identifying KPI in sales of varieties.
– Custom made exclusive labels. They now have nearly 500 of their own designed labels.
– Sponsorships in Victoria and South Australia plus a couple of local events
– And in the past 12 months they have put a trailer on their trucks to be able to get more plants away on time, purchased a new Demtec Potting machine and buffer table, improved all drainage to nursery with two drainage bores that takes all the water from the multi span back into the natural aquifer, and have installed a new 115 KVA diesel generator for back-up power

4. Living Colour, Penfield
This nursery has been busy of late by:
– Increased growing areas. Including extension and rebuild of one of our shade houses, Expansion of outdoor growing area by 7 more bays.
– Increased efficacy in stock moving process which has resulted a reduction of double handling and sped up flow of stock movement for dispatch.
– Implementation of Integrated Pest Management Plan for one of their glasshouse areas resulting in huge reduction of chemicals use and time spent spraying. They are also seeing a reduction in pest pressure in other areas of the nursery as a flow on result.
– Redesign and building of a new dispatch facility to help increase the capability for higher volumes of stock and speed us picking and packing process.
– all their varieties are clearly labelled with pictorial labels that identify the plant and include helpful information for customers on the back. Labels also include QR code which is linked to the Living Colour website so that they may obtain more information about the plant if required.
– And in the past 12 months they have expanded the range by joining forces with The Diggers Club who recently released a revamped, relabelled and improved range of heirloom vegetable seedlings; participated in Trade Day when previously we did not attend; purchased a third truck to ensure continuing prompt delivery and established a Facebook page.

5. Heynes Wholesale Nursery, Burton
– Their primary water source is reclaimed water from City of Salisbury’s wetlands systems, while mains water usage is monitored and graphed against reclaimed.
– For stock control it is informal but monitoring of cubic volume of green wastage vs turnover is done regularly and monthly sales reports include product lines movement in and out of ‘top 10’ and biggest swings in product sales up and down.
– Heynes has its own fleet of delivery vehicles committed to best plant logistic practices and a dedicated mobile sales person.
– Their first ‘self-owned label’ in Blue Pearl Blueberry, they have rolled out a successful ‘What’s Hot’ box program at selected retail stores and continue to grow the ‘SA Grown’ brand.
– And in the past 12 months they have had a company review and restructure including a new governance model, formalised operational management model and structure, newly appointed General Manager in Carl Heyne and an independent chair for the first time in the company’s history.

6. Adelaide Plant Growers, Onkaparinga Hills

– the nursery has a very high intense turnover of stock, operating on a 2-acre block – hence layout has to be utilized to maximum efficiency.
– Is always looking for efficiencies continually upgrading the water system, discarding on 2% approx. of stock and recycling all waste.
– The range of stock is a major strength of the business, growing over 500 lines and continuously changing.
– Sales Rep Haidi Sutherland visits all garden centres on a weekly or fortnightly basis while deliveries are on daily, weekly or as ordered basis.
– Promotion is through Facebook and Instagram, while some labels are designed inhouse.
– And in the past 12 months they have increased sales runs, employed more staff, finished building some new glasshouses in a 4-year project and are now in full production.

7. Lewis Horticulture, Buckland Park
– Improvements to efficiencies have been achieved with upgraded potting system with buffer table, all terrain forklift with various attachments which allows potted plants to be mechanically moved to and from the growing areas, conveyor and buffer table dispatch lines.
– Water used is applied via a professionally designed and pressurised irrigation system using a combination of low output sprinklers, drippers and capillary watering (growing area dependent). All water which falls on site (either via irrigation or rainfall) is collected, stored, treated and re-used on the property.
– The potted plant offer covers the majority of Greenlife categories including Groundcover, Shrubs, Climbers, Screens, Edibles, Home Decorator, Indoor and Gift plants.
– They pride themselves on providing exceptional customer service and quality value for money products, with weekly updates to our stock availability via email and phone and visit on regular cycles to make sure each customer’s needs are being met.
– All plants provided have a full colour, pictorial label with general details and care instructions of the plant being supplied. Their own ranges include the Easy Garden, Bliss, Luxe Living and Yum brands
– a new web site is currently being developed to better showcase the products and services that Lewis Horticulture offer which will also be a mobile friendly site complete with e-commerce capabilities to allow for simple online ordering.

Allied Trades

1. Workplace Partners, Adelaide
– invest time in working with NGISA to understand the industry and its needs. They believe that fostering good relationships with industry and its members is the key to success. You will often see their friendly faces at various NGISA events through the year.
– deliver accessible service by ensuring that we practice what we preach ‘operate a lean business’, to deliver cost effective solutions to our clients.
– Many NGISA members have utilised their services and the fact that they return to Workplace Partners over the years is something they are very proud of
– And in the past 12 months they have implemented ‘lean office’ systems to improve the way they do things by removing time wasting activities, and unnecessary resources that add no value to our clients. In addition, they have researched and are part way through implementation of a client member portal and app to provide our clients with accessible information on demand.

2. Wholesale Plants & Products, Dry Creek

This accredited plant market is now managed by Sharon Norman, wife of the late NGISA Life Member, Craig Norman. Sharon tells us that:
– they are a major distributor and one stop shop to the nursery industry in South Australia
– they have increased stock holding to suit all aspects of landscaping, garden centres, hardware stress and florists.
– they have experienced staff who build relationships with their clients and they now provide a quicker delivery service.
– And in the past 12 months they have doubled the stock holding and revitalised the showroom

3. Garden City Plastics, Wingfield
GCP is a major supplier to all of industry of plastic pots plus they represent a broad range of companies with garden products. They say they:
– have friendly customer service
– provide a one stop shop for a wide range of nursery and garden centre products
– have competitive pricing with no price rises for the last four years
– And in the past 12 months they have expanded their range to offer everything from chemicals to pots to fertilisers and ‘everything in between’.

4. Van Schaiks Bio Gro, Mount Gambier
They have given us their key reasons why they should be considered:
– commitment to customer quality through extensive training of staff and recruitment of people dedicated to a great customer experience
– commitment to customer service through investing in a Bio Gro logistics fleet
– working with customers to assist them add value to their businesses including the provision of R & D as part of customer service.
– And in the past 12 months they have streamlined their operational processes and have committed a significant investment into technology with screens to ensure a consistent and high-quality product.

5. Brunnings Garden Products, Dudley Park.
Well known in SA Brunnings:
– manufactures, warehouses, sells and distributes with a total customer service focus in mind by their Sales, Admin and Warehouse teams.
– continues to source new and innovative products to stay on trend and relevant. Around 100 new products are added every year
– Ease of doing business with them is paramount with four full time sales reps servicing all accounts and offering quick turnaround to market.
– And in the past 12 months have restructured and reviewed their whole operation to allow for growth while maintaining their core value of customer service. New positions have been added to the team including a Business Development Manager focused on independent retailers.