How Sickles Market Tripled their Bulb Sales in 3 year!

How Sickles Market tripled their bulb sales in 3 years.


Sickles is a unique shopping experience in Little Silver NJ that has been family owned and operated since 1908. To learn more about their store, visit them at  We sat down with Mike Prandato the garden center manager of Sickles Market to find out how he achieved success with selling flower bulbs. 



How does Sickles best find success in marketing fall and spring bulbs?


Sickles Market is a very unique store. We are a combination gourmet food market, and high end garden center. Unlike most garden centers, because of our food market (Gourmet cheeses, Deli, Butcher Dept., Bakery, Gift and Floral Dept.), we generate foot traffic throughout the winter months. During this time our Greenhouse retail space is overflowing with tropical plant material, orchids, air plants, amaryllis, primrose, etc. We begin advertising the arrival of our spring bulbs toward the end of January, and then upon arrival, immediately offer a preseason sale to our customers of as much as 25% to drum up enthusiasm for the season. Similarly in the fall the same tactic is used.


Are there any trends you notice that match the selling of bulbs within your store? Do people look for specific varieties and colors, or is it an annual request for red tulips and yellow daffodils?


Because of the unique character of our store we try to bring in a similar mix of material for both spring and fall. The old standbys are of course a necessity, but for instance, we have noticed that Alliums are of great popularity not only for their numerous varieties but also because of their deer resistance.


How does merchandising your bulbs help with the increase of bulb sales, and what do you find works best when merchandising the bulbs? 


  • Create a Dedicated Space- In regard to the merchandising of our bulbs we have looked to create a dedicated space that is our "BULB NOOK". This is set for spring as well as for fall...the familiarity of that dedicated space lends itself to our customers no longer having to "look" for where our bulbs are.
  • Use provided POP and make your own - We have utilized Netherland Bulb POP materials to their maximum. Whether it was ordering extra racks, more care tags, or just more all aids in the entire presentation and "feel" that we try to create. We have found that in selling bulbs, "more is better."
  • Commit to selling bulbs at all levels of the organization - The commitment to selling bulbs has to be across the board on the retail end. This means not only a financial commitment (that creates enough choices and appeal for the customer to make their best decisions), but also a commitment by me as the manager to make sure that our team is well versed and feels comfortable in the selling of bulbs. Last year on our "Vendor Night" we gave a class to all of our team members on the selling of specific bulbs for the fall (Amaryllis, paper whites, and fall bulbs). Since coming on board as the GC manager back in the summer of 2014, we have nearly tripled our bulb sales from $13K in 2014 to just over $35K last year. These numbers are achieved through the commitment of our owner Bob Sickles to go "all in" on bulbs...The whole idea of bulb sales, whether it would be creating pansy/bulb combo planters in the Fall, using amaryllis gift boxes as a "loss leader", or making sure that we educate our customers and team members is only possible when the owner of our business allows me as the manager to move forward.




Are there any tricks you're willing to share that have proven successful over the years?


There are no "tricks" to selling bulbs, but rather a true commitment to the products. You will not be successful selling bulbs if you only bring in small quantities of select product. Look to constantly expand the brand and become the "go to" center in your area for bulbs. Over the last 3 years, I can safely say that we are THE garden center for folks to purchase their amaryllis for the holidays.  


With the increase of the internet as well as social media, have you found creative ways to incorporate these mediums into the marketing of your garden center, and specifically bulb sales?


Our website, Facebook and flash sales all lend themselves to us letting our customers know what is happening constantly in our garden center. With that, comes updates and timing of bulb arrivals (AMARYLLIS arrive Oct.30, for example) and the like.


What advice would you have for garden centers who are contemplating selling bulbs for the first time?

Make sure to always have some in full bloom to 

let the customer SEE what they are purchasing...find space to pot up your own amaryllis and let the customers watch them grow. Bulbs also allow every garden center to "cross merchandise" products: knee pads, trowels, fertilizers, bulb planters, animal repellents are just some of the products that we incorporate in and around our bulb nook in the spring and fall.


After a period of time in the business of garden centers, what is your favorite flower?


Without a doubt my favorite flower...amaryllis!



Have a success story of your own? We would love to hear from you! Share your merchandising ideas and plans on our social media.  Share what works, what helps, and possibly new ways to increase your own sales with bulbs and plant product. You are always welcome to share any of our posts, tweets, or pins by sharing or making it your own through a brand new post.

Our retail store locatoris also a great way to be seen and drive traffic to your own store and website.  For more merchandising tips, click here


Article from NNBA Vendor Netherland Bulb Company



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