20 years in business! PrimeHort recently celebrated two decades of growth and learning – 20 years of delivering horticultural and landscape supplies to a hardworking industry. Let’s take a look at the highlights and memorable moments.
PrimeHort launched in 2002 with a business idea of selling quality products to garden centres. An evolution from Kauri Park Nurseries, the business tapped into Kauri Park’s existing customer base and offered a range of gardening tools.
Early trading took place in an old woolshed with a simple black & white pricelist and one passionate owner/operator, Mike Wearmouth.
Sales steadily increased and by 2005 PrimeHort’s gardening tools, branded ‘The Gardener’ were spotted in every garden centre throughout the country.
The business moved from its humble woolshed into a purpose-built 800sqm warehouse. Product diversification became the focus, and to reach a wider audience of plant nurseries and landscapers, PrimeHort expanded into fertilisers and growing-related products.
The next notable milestone was the development of a Product Catalogue in 2006. A gamechanger on the marketing front, this A5 booklet displayed every single product ever supplied to a customer – all individually staged and photographed. Many of these products were not even ‘on the shelf’ at the time, but were captured to create a perception of PrimeHort being a one-stop-shop for its customers.
The catalogue was an $8000 investment for just 1000 copies. Yet in its first month it proved very popular and PrimeHort experienced a 150% increase in sales! While the sales results bounced around a bit, they remained up to 150% higher every month compared to pre-catalogue days.
Today, the print run is about 3000 and PrimeHort’s customers continue to value the catalogue for easy ordering and a wealth of information.
Next up, nursery automation would set the scene for business growth. From 2008 onwards, PrimeHort developed agency partnerships with innovative businesses around the globe and began introducing the merits of automation and machinery for growers and nurseries of every scale.
The first agency to join was a potting machine specialist, Javo. Gradually, the suite of robotic machinery expanded to include full commercial fitouts for nurseries – transplanters, seeding lines benching and irrigation booms, all customised to suit.
In these early days, PrimeHort developed a simple ‘travelling demonstrator’ to showcase new machinery in action. Basically, a potting machine on a trailer with a generator for power! This 10-year period of onsite demos will always be remembered as a successful marketing tool for pitching the merits of automation.
Reflect & rebrand.
2015 marked an opportunity to reflect on PrimeHort’s business values and strategic direction. A subtle refresh of the PrimeHort logo helped set the new tone.
Foray into greenhouses.
In 2019, PrimeHort forged partnerships with leading greenhouse manufacturers in Europe to directly import a wide variety of greenhouse structures.
Just like a housing group who manage every stage of a new build for greater control and reduced costs, PrimeHort would follow a similar formula. By directly importing, they could cut out the middleman and pass the savings on to every customer.
A standout memory was seeing two large greenhouse structures being installed for Scion (a crown research institute) including a state of the art propagational nursery for forestry research. Read more here.
2022 will be remembered for developing a bespoke new website. This exciting shopping experience is easy to navigate and makes online ordering very convenient. From clearly marked sale and promotional products, to detailed product info and videos, this is an engaging tool for PrimeHort’s existing accountholders and new customers.
Listening to customers.
One thing that has remained unchanged since 2002 is a commitment to customer needs. From tailormade injection-moulded pots to the perfect solution for nursery automation – PrimeHort’s customers guide the team and set the direction for new products and innovation. Likewise, if something is not selling or performing it gets deleted from the product line.
What drives PrimeHort?
Helping customers make money. Business survival comes down to the next order and finding ways to increase profitability for every customer – it’s as simple (and hard) as that!
A positive team culture makes it easier to deliver a great service, with Mike adding “you can have an idea, but unless you’ve got the right people to share it with – the idea won’t fire. We’re fortunate to have a team that genuinely believe in the cause.”
PrimeHort also have a core value of being generous which keeps the team focused on building a profit. Because to support important causes – a business needs to make money first.
A new address.
Recently the doors swung open on an exciting purpose-built warehouse and offices. Aptly named Greenway Heights, this dynamic 4000sqm facility will cater for growth and new capabilities.
But ultimately it will look after its customers and team by providing a great place to visit or work.