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Giving Points a Little Pep

Jennifer Zurko
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Chris Williams, president of K&W Greenery in Janesville, Wisconsin, is a regular “poinsettia painter”—meaning he’s not afraid to splash some paint or sprinkle some glitter to jazz up his holiday offerings. Chris told Bossman Beytes that, this past year, during their annual Christmas open house the weekend before Thanksgiving they sold more than 50 painted poinsettias.

“The most popular are blue and the splotchy (carnival) ones,” Chris said. He paints three sizes—5 in., 6.5 in. and 8 in.—and prices are healthy: $17.99 (vs. $9.99 for plain), $29.99 (vs. $19.99) and $44.99 (vs. ($34.99), respectively.

Dr. Mark Yelanich of Metrolina Greenhouses Article Imagesaid the North Carolina mega-grower does 40,000 painted poinsettias—which is 4% of their total poinsettia program (that’s 1 million pots!). Blue and purple are their main colors.

“We have tried other colors, but sales have always been stronger on blue and purple,” said Mark. “We have been doing it for 10 years and continue to improve each year, as we figure out the right variety to use, the right amount of paint and glitter, and the right application process.”

Who sells them? All three of their primary big-box customers. The strongest market is the Northeast—New Jersey, Philadelphia, New York City, with stores that have strong Jewish (blue) and Catholic (purple) customer bases having the best sales.

Mark noted that they’re an incremental sales item, not a replacement for red.

“They are a nice pop of color in mainly red displays,” he explained.

Metrolina’s more suburban and rural markets still prefer red.

To watch a Twitter video of Metrolina’s crew painting their crop:

Article ImagePlatt Hill Nursery’s original location in Bloomingdale, Illinois, had poinsettia-based holiday gift containers and dressed-up poinsettias—dozens of them, in an impressive array of styles, sizes and price points, and no two alike! Lots of varieties, and plenty of glitter and even flocking.

A. Gift combos: “That’s our gift department,” credits Platt Hill’s grower Danny Stohl. “We have a couple of hugely talented people in that department. All made by hand, all freestyle—we don’t tell them what to do, they just see it and make it. That’s part of the unique experience of coming to an independent garden shop: everything you see here is unique.”

B. Tapestry, all dressed up and waiting for somewhere to go.

C. Every single bench of poinsettias had this sign. GT 




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