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A Family Affair

Jennifer Polanz
Article ImageOur first stops on tour day of The Garden Center Group Fall Event, held this year in Kansas City, Missouri, were across the border in Kansas at two of three Family Tree Nursery locations, Shawnee and Overland Park (the third is in Liberty), and they did not disappoint. The plant material was on point, the coffee shop at Shawnee, called Café Equinox, provided treats and caffeine, and the layouts provided meandering beauty and peace. Owned by founder Ron Nelson’s son Eric, the retail portion of Family Tree Nursery is managed by Ron’s grandsons Jonah and Jesse. Another grandson, Bo, runs the coffee side of the business. There’s also a production facility.

A few key events happen at the stores yearly: four container workshops (succulent, early spring, harvest container and holiday container), and they have two open houses, one in mid-March and a Christmas open house in mid-November. One notable promotion, too: they have free potting events where if customers buy a plant and pot they will pot it free, but only on the advertised weekends.

Here’s more of the inspiration I found at both locations.

Making an Entrance

Set back from the entrance of both locations was a flat-screen TV highlighting a prominent sale currently taking place. If you’re looking for a way to incorporate digital media in the store, I thought this was a good way to do it. You could change it to show video or highlight promotions or events.

Article ImageMake it Pop

It’s a simple thing, but the black slat wall really makes these colorful tools stand out.

Happy Houseplants

The Shawnee store had a large houseplant selection, and this is a good example of the signage not only here but throughout the store (the black department sign) and the warning sign for potential proplifters. This is a real problem in houseplant departments, and I thought this was an appropriate response.

More Signage

This product sign caught my eye because of the description—it highlights both an add-on product (Holly Tone) and notes the plant is a great choice for that specific area.

Article ImageLively Lawn Sales

I liked the simplicity and effectiveness of this lawn care display. There’s so much to unpack here: the branded FTN Solutions program, the signage with the steps, the two options depending on the size of the lawn, and the pallets of available product around it to make it easy to load up.


This is one of the best displays of store merch I think I’ve seen yet. My biggest regret of the whole tour is not buying the Caffeine & Chlorophyll shirt I had in my hand (it was time to load up the buses!). Note the small photos on the diArticle Imagesplays that show the design on the shirts.

Lovely Care Cards

My photo here does not do these justice—these are gorgeous hand-drawn cards that feature a plant on one side and care instructions on the back. They are free for customers to take, and would make a lovely addition to a potted plant gift. They also print a catalog used for internal training and to hand out when working with customers.

Article ImageOrchid Inspo

This orchid display definitely made me want to pick up an orchid AND a book. GP

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