Firms participating in the study included landscape contractors and designers, retail garden centers; wholesale tree, shrub, and flower growers; irrigation contractors; lawn, tree, and garden services; and hardscape suppliers. There are approximately 2,000 family-owned companies in Minnesota that make up the professional nursery and landscape industry. National corporations selling plants and garden goods in Minnesota were not surveyed and estimates do not include gross sales and impacts from those companies.
Gross sales within three major industry segments were identified:
Landscape services - $1.5 billion
Retail sales - $198 million
Wholesale Agricultural/Horticultural Production and Hard Goods - $892 million
Minnesota’s nursery and landscape exports are 15.7% of total sales or over $298 million, with much of that being tree and shrub sales across the nation and to Canada, as well as sales of landscape services in neighboring states.
In addition to substantial gross sales, the industry is a major Minnesota employer with a total payroll of over $1.2 billion. There are more than 14,000 full-time employees; 4,500 part-time employees; and 23,000 seasonal employees.
“While direct sales are down from the same study conducted in 2000, which listed $2.1 billion in direct sales, the fact that the number didn’t decline further is a testament to the family run businesses in our industry. Small, family-owned and operated businesses can succeed even through an economic downturn. Most of our industry’s companies have fewer than 10 full-time employees, yet collectively we provide more than 42,000 jobs. We’re a strong, diverse, and stable part of the Minnesota economy,” said Heidi Heiland, president of the Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association. A professional gardener and landscape designer, Heiland owns and operates Heidi’s Lifestyle Gardens based in Plymouth, Minn.
Companies were surveyed in the winter of 2013-2014 and asked for sales figures for the year 2013. Data was compiled and analyzed by the School of Public Affairs Research Institute at St. Cloud State University. Spearheaded by the Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association, partners in the project included the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Minnesota Grown Program.