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How a Generational Shift Might Affect the Future of the Green Industry

From episode: EP46 - Modern software solutions for Plant Growers & Wholesalers by Plantiful

David - It's pretty crazy to your point. Like there's so much generational change going on in the industry, right? Like, I don't know. How do you, how do you see it playing out between all the people who, you know, they've been doing this for 30 years. They want to get out of the game. Do you think that folks are going to be able to pass it on or, you know, how, how many hustlers are there out there? Like, like you look at a, you know, grow and really build your nursery out.

Willie - Well to tell you the truth, it's, it's not looking super duper bright at the moment. It's looking bright, but let's say from a grower standpoint, a grower is probably the most intimidating side of the industry, a hundred percent, because it's not like, Oh, I want to go, I want to jump into the green industry. I'm going to become, I want to open a little plant shop and, or you want to do it at the mall or you want to do it at a little trade show, whatever. And you spent $3 ,000 by some plants and your investments, three grand. You want to get into lawn mowing. It's, you know, $1 ,500 lawn mower that you bought off Facebook marketplace. And now you get a little trailer for $600 and you tow it with your Prius, you know, whatever it is, your mom's car. And now you're in, it's a light investment when it comes to growers. It's a big investment. You know, you have to get land, either you buy it or you rent it and you have to put irrigation and you have to know what you're doing and you have to put ground cover and you have to buy all the pots, soil, fertilizer, you know, all this stuff, the plant, the baby plants, step it up. You have to wait six months, you know, and a lot can happen in six months. We're in hurricane season right now, you know, then you have freezes in the winter. A lot can happen where you can lose a lot. So it's a very intimidating side of the industry. And I do see a lot of the older businesses, the ones that have kids that are engaged. I see probably half of them, those kids being able to grow out the business and continue to maybe make it even better than what their parents had done. But what their parents were able to get to, because now they're integrating other things. And then I see the other 50 % just kind of like winging it, like, Hey, dad, what do I do today? type of mentality ,where they're not like engaged. I don't know that's basically where I see that at the moment. I see a need for just so much in the green industry and for growers. Like right now we have a shortage, not of product, but a shortage of quality. How do I know that? Because we move a lot of product and I can't grow it all. Nobody can grow it all. The biggest nurseries out here is Costa Farms. Okay. They have a couple thousand acres. Guess what they do? They have people grow stuff for them because they can't grow it all. They move more than what they have space to be able to produce. And there's not enough of that top quality right now that I see. I know it has to do with the economy, has to do with slowdowns, has to do with choices people have made that haven't been the best. And, you know, things like that, not reinvesting, not thinking long term, whatever, whatever. The train of low interest rates, the handouts, the COVID money, all that stuff is dried out. So if you didn't play your cards right and know that this train was going to come to an end, then you're in a tough spot. And, that's the reality. So it's tough to buy the good fertilizer and it's tough to buy the good soil that your plants actually need. And it's tough to be on a spray schedule because the pesticides aren't cheap. And then you have to hire somebody to do it. And then you have to have the equipment and it's not easy to do.

David - Totally. And you're taking it to your point, you're taking a bet. Where do I think we're going to be six months from now, a year from now? Cause you're growing trees, three years from now, five years from now. Like, you know, who knew that everyone was going to decide they want to redo their yards, right?

Willie - And then you also have, let's say the other side of the industry or the old timers, they've made millions. So it's like, I have to deal with all this pressure from the County making new laws and the governor making new laws on immigration and all these different things that move the industry smoothly. And it's like, man, I don't want to deal with this crap. You know, I can sell. And that's what I've seen. I personally have five, five people that I know, that two of them, are one of the only nurseries that grow specific items. So what does that do? It puts a huge hole in that inventory. If they go out, like if they sell and they start building homes or God knows what they're going to do with that land. And then it gives opportunity for others, but will the others show up quickly? You know, like I would love to just go buy everything and keep going, you know, keep the staff and keep going, but you need to have, a foresight and you have to move, like move quickly, but you can't jump into all this stuff because that's how things crumble.

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