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 August 6-7, 2024 | Rosemont, Illinois

Conference Program

In 2024, we're pleased to be partnering with Lawn & Garden Retailer on our education program. There will truly be something for everyone — from IGCs to other specialty retailers. Plus, we're going to start each day with incredible keynote presentations. Click the cover image to view the full attendee guide.

All education sessions are included with your FREE registration.

2024 At-A-Glance Schedule

  • Monday, August 5

  • 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Store Tour
  • Tuesday, August 6

  • 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.
    Keynote Speaker
  • 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
    Exhibit hall open
  • 1 p.m. to 1:45
    Education sessions

    Exhibit hall stage

  • 2:45 p.m. to 3 p.m.
    Education sessions

    Exhibit hall stage

  • 3:30 p.m. to 5:30
    L&GR Innovator Awards &
    Networking Reception

    Exhibit hall

  • Wednesday, August 7

  • 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.
    Keynote Speaker
  • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Exhibit hall open
  • 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
    Education sessions

    Exhibit hall stage

  • 1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
    Education sessions

    Exhibit hall stage

  • 3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
    Education sessions

    Exhibit hall stage

Full Conference Schedule

Click on each headline below to view that day's schedule.
MONDAY, AUG. 5 | View Monday's full program

7 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Lawn & Garden Retailer Garden Center Bus Tour

Explore. Learn. Network.
Take your garden center to new heights after visiting some of Chicagoland’s leading retailers on the Lawn & Garden Retailer Bus Tour. This in-demand tour offers an exclusive look at these vibrant businesses and their strategies for increased profitability. Learn more

There is a separate cost to attend the Bus Tour: $175 per person before July 30 and $219 after. 
TUESDAY, AUG. 6 | View Tuesday's full program

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Exhibit hall open

8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.: Keynote in Room 46, Michelle Sherrier

Merchandising Is Storytelling: Crafting Effective Displays for Enhanced Sales
Join Michelle Sherrier, owner of MC Design Academy and host of The Retail Whore Podcast, for an immersive session that will delve into the fundamentals of effective merchandising, emphasizing the pivotal role of storytelling in creating compelling product displays that resonate with customers and stimulate add-on sales.

1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.: Education Stage 1, Kim Baker & Ali McKenzie

Cultivating Your Garden Center Brand Story
Listen in on an engaging conversation with Kim Baker and Ali McKenzie as they discuss what makes a brand truly stand out. This session will dive into the essentials of branding, showcasing impactful logo and branding designs tailored for garden centers. Attendees will gain insights into the considerations for rebranding or redesigning their logos. By the end of this session, you'll walk away with valuable resources and key questions to guide your rebrand journey, ensuring your garden center's brand story flourishes and resonates with your customers.

2:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Education Stage 1, Michelle Sherrier

This interactive session with Michelle Sherrier, owner of MC Design Academy and host of The Retail Whore Podcast, will take you through building a display from the ground up that will include architectural elements and cross-merchandising moments.

2:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Education Stage 2, Panel

Ask the Tour IGCs
Hear from the garden centers featured during Lawn & Garden Retailer's Garden Center Bus Tour on Monday. From best practices to tips and tricks for success, they'll share what makes their businesses special.

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 7 | View Wednesday's full program

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Exhibit hall open

8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.: Keynote in Room 46, Tim Quebedeaux

Want more profit? You need to know what to measure ... KPIs
Learn what are YOUR KPIs (key performance indicators) are and how to use them to increase your Profitability. In this data rich world, you need to be measuring the right numbers to be able to make key timely business decisions to improve your bottom line.

11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.: Education Stage 1, Panel

Join L&GR editors and some of the industry’s most innovative garden center owners and operators for an interactive panel. During this engaging session, you’ll hear from honorees from the Innovator of the Year program as we talk to them about how they are succeeding in our ever-changing industry. Walk away with new ideas and inspiration for the coming season.

11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.: Education Stage 2, Lawson Thalmann

Using AI for Operational Automation
Chalet — a garden center, landscaper and home store — has been at the forefront when it comes to technology. Join Lawson and explore applications of artificial intelligence in streamlining operations within your retail store.

1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.: Education Stage 1, Sarah Schwartz

Plant Your Paper Patch
Both gardening and stationery speak to the slow living and mindfulness lifestyle trends. Greeting cards and stationery can deepen your sales, build eye-catching displays and season your in-store events. Sarah will profile compelling crossover offerings, sharing tips from garden centers that have seen these categories blossom.

1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.: Education Stage 2, Lawson Thalmann

Using AI for Customer Service, Sales and Marketing
No matter the size of your store, artificial intelligence should be in your repetoire. Discover how AI can personalize customer interactions, optimize sales processes and craft targeted marketing campaigns.

3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.: Education Stage 1, Tim Quebedeaux

Non-Perishable Product Lines Have a Place in your Garden Center: How to ensure it is a profitable one!
Learn how non-perishable inventory may be currently working against your bottom line, and how to turn the tide!

3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.: Education Stage 2, Kim Baker

Beyond the Blooms — Crafting a Year-Round Narrative for Garden Retailers
Learn about the important role a written marketing plan plays in your success. You'll walk away from this session full of tips, tricks and ideas, as well as a printable template to use in writing a marketing plan for your store.

Meet our Speakers

  • Tim Quebedeaux

    Owner of RetailKPI and Service Provider for
    The Garden Center Group
  • Michelle Sherrier

    Owner of MC Design Academy and host of
    The Retail Whore Podcast
  • Sarah Schwartz

    Editor-in-Chief of Stationery Trends magazine and Host of The Paper Fold podcast
    • Lawson Thalmann

      Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Chalet
    • Ali McKenzie

      Creative Director of Great American Media Services,
      publisher of Lawn & Garden Retailer
    • Kim Baker

      COO & CMO of Great American Media Services,
      publisher of Lawn & Garden Retailer