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McDonald Garden Center

Company Facts

  • Headquarters: Hampton Roads, Virginia
  • Industry: Lawn and Garden
  • Number of Stores: 3
  • Number of Employees: 300 high season, 175 low season

"Eagle reports empower our employees to increase revenue for their portion of the business…We can tell if labor is up or if gross margin is down in each department, and we can increase margins because we can see that data."
Mark Anderson, Comptroller McDonald Garden Center


Executive Summary

McDonald Garden Center began in 1945 as a single location providing Hampton Roads, Virginia residents with plant materials to beautify their homes and gardens. The Anderson family has owned the business since 1973 and expanded it to three locations in Hampton, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach. For more than 18 years, an Epicor system has helped manage its operations. Most recently, McDonald Garden Center has relied on the Eagle system to improve gross margins and manage inventory.

McDonald Wins Retailer of the Year in 2009

The Anderson family strives to exceed customers' expectations in all areas of the business. In addition to its beautiful garden centers, McDonald Garden Center is also known for its award-winning landscapes. The facility in Hampton produces 80% of the plants it sells, ensuring that the plants are acclimated to the local climate and thus have a higher growth success rate. The commitment to quality throughout its business is evident to customers and the industry alike. It's no wonder that McDonald was presented the Nursery Retailer of the Year Award by Nursery Retailer Magazine in the fall of 2009.

One of the first garden centers to implement an Epicor system, McDonald has come to trust Epicor and its software solutions. "Whenever we think about making a big upgrade, we investigate other alternatives," explains Mark Anderson, comptroller at McDonald Garden Center. "In 2009, we wanted to upgrade to Eagle for Windows, so we looked at several competitors. Again, we chose Epicor. Eagle is more flexible than other solutions and is continually expanding its features. Continuing our relationship with Epicor has always been the clear choice."

Simplifying Complex Garden Center Operations

McDonald Garden Center has a lot to manage: three locations with more than 20 point of sale stations, live plant inventory, a landscape division, and a production facility. Luckily for McDonald Garden Center, Eagle makes complex operations simple. "We run many transactions per day, especially during the busy spring months. The Eagle system accelerates the checkout process by about 12 percent," notes Mark. "It also speeds up cashier training by about two days per cashier. Since implementing the Microsoft® Windows®-based Eagle system, training our cashiers has gotten much, much easier. Another big benefit is how quickly they can look up inventory information to answer customer questions."

Managing inventory of live plants as they move through the business is smooth. "We record inventory of the live plants we grow in Eagle, and we transfer the inventory to our three retail garden centers," states Mark. McDonald also transfers plant inventory from the stores to the landscape division. "Twenty percent of our landscape projects use plants from our retail stores and by transferring the inventory, we better understand the profitability of our landscape division."

Eagle multi-store viewers display daily real-time inventory data. "We thrive by using the Eagle multi-store functionality. Our buyers constantly evaluate inventory shortages and move inventory between locations instead of buying more," notes Mark. "It saves time, money, and eliminates customer frustrations."

McDonald Monitors Business Performance at the Department Level

The Eagle system provides critical reporting. "Eagle reports guide us daily in everything from gross margin to labor costs. We have a very accurate snapshot of our business," explains Mark. "To increase margins, we use reports to identify slow-moving and high-margin products, and we merchandise both to increase turns and margin."

That accurate snapshot includes data by department. "The Eagle system lets us view data at the department level. We get a very detailed profit and loss statement for every department at every store," states Mark. "For example, we can see business performance for our annuals department at our Chesapeake store and know whether to expand or decrease that department."

McDonald sends performance reports twice a month to store and department managers. "Eagle reports empower our employees to increase revenue and margins for their portion of the business," explains Mark. "It has been a strong motivator." McDonald also uses the reports to discuss poor performance with managers. "We can tell if labor is up or if gross margin is down in each department, and we can increase margins because we can see that data. In fact, gross margin increased 4.5 points company-wide over six consecutive years because we tweaked departmental sales to labor ratios on an ongoing basis."

Eagle Analytics Improve Marketing and Sales Promotions

Data that drives internal decisions also helps drive customer promotions. Eagle data highlights customer purchase patterns that McDonald's owners use to offer targeted customers exclusive programs, promotions, and benefits. "The Eagle reporting and analytical tools help us better understand our customer base and monitor and improve our marketing and sales programs," explains Mark.

Dependable Solution That Works All Year Round

McDonald has relied on Epicor for years and that partnership will continue. "There is no doubt that Eagle helps us increase our gross margins, sales, and inventory control. For more than 18 years, 360 days per year, Epicor has kept our registers running 99.9% of the time. It's dependable, Epicor Eagle is the best decision we could have made to help manage our business." concludes Mark.

About Epicor

Epicor Software Corporation is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service industries. With more than 40 years of experience, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor solutions enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. With a history of innovation, industry expertise and passion for excellence, Epicor inspires customers to build lasting competitive advantage. Epicor provides the single point of accountability that local, regional, and global businesses demand. For more information, visit www.epicor.com.

Success Highlights:


  • Epicor Eagle