Can Paul Hawken do it again? Lets think local.

I am amazed at how information get's around these days. The recent closing of Smith and Hawken is one example. I don't follow Smith and Hawken. Instead I am always interested in how people find my blog, or my store. I use site meter to find out what search words people have used to end up at the blog. The other day an inordinate amount of visitors we're arriving using the search words "Smith and Hawken Closing", or something along that line. This is interesting, so I check it out and low and behold I find the, and the information people will want. After years of writing about Smith and Hawken there is a cache of posts that stand out to search engines. So someone searching for info on the closing will find a post about the long downward spiral of Smith and Hawken or  Scott's not feeling the pain (written in April 2006). That post included this, "In the long run companies like Scott’s actually reduce the choices to consumers...I can’t imagine that Smith and Hawken is the same store that Paul Hawken built and then sold. You can look the same on the outside but once corporate gets a hold of it the culture changes."

I read over at Garden Rant that Paul Hawken  might be thinking about getting in the tool business again. I doubt it. The market for expensive English made tools is nil right now. Why import tools when we have the ability to build the same quality here? I think there is a great opportunity for someone to build quality gardening tools right here in the USA. I don't mean imported from China, and sold by American companies. Actually what I would love to see is tools made in northern California, or even the foothills, that are of that quality.  Will it happen? Perhaps as local becomes even more fashionable. Maybe some blacksmith in the hills will see an opportunity and start making quality garden tools. While the market for expensive imported tools is nil right now, I think people would invest in tools made locally, that last a lifetime.

What an exciting time we live in. We have watched as the largest horticultural companies have folded or sold off major parts of their business.  The industry is in turmoil, except at the local level. My fellow smaller garden center owners seem to be doing o.k. during this economic turmoil. It's as if the garden center has once again become something of a necessity, instead of a luxury. A place to gather information, quality locally produced plants, organic fertilizers to keep the investment growing, and a real person to talk to that understands the local climate and conditions. I hope the trend continues.