Sunset magazine seems intent on dragging itself into the box, and chain stores. According to SFGate, "Sunset introduced a line of branded plants designed to thrive and shine in virtually every California garden. The introduction was timed to coincide with the release of the ninth edition of Sunset's influential Western Garden Book." The article continues, "Sunset's Western Garden Collection is on nursery shelves in all 89 Orchard Supply Hardware stores and 40 Lowe's in California, and the company hopes to expand into selected small chains and independent garden centers."
The plants in the Sunset Western Garden Collection are not even new to the trade. They are in most cases already being sold, but will now be "branded" as "The Sunset Collection". Sunset say's, "The Sunset Western Garden Collection is the first live plant collection to focus exclusively on top performing plants for the Western gardener. The Sunset Western Garden Collection will debut this spring." What a bunch of crock! I, and other western independent garden centers have been selling plants that focus exclusively on the western gardener for many, many years. I guess our independent garden center brands don't count with Sunset.
When Sunset released the most recent edition of their "formally" influential Sunset Western Garden Book, many small garden retailers we're upset when the books showed up at Costco first. Topping it off, they we're at prices we small retailers would have to pay just to be able to sell them in our stores. Now Sunset disses the small locally owned garden centers that helped build the Sunset Brand over all those years, and heads straight to the box stores with their collection?
What's with all these branded plant collections? Does no one do anything original anymore? It's all cut and paste for these companies. Take existing plants or products, buy the rights, slap your name on them, tell people how original you are, and hope no one notices it's just more noise. Sunset magazine has managed in just a couple of attempts to alienate small locally owned garden centers across the west. Why would an independent garden center sell plants that are easily recognized as a "box store" brand with Sunsets name on them? I know we won't. Like other small western retailers we will concentrate on building our own brand. We have been "focusing exclusively on top performing plants for the Western gardener" long before this recent attempt to stay relevant from Sunset.