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Shopko opens garden centers as world marks annual Earth Day

Leading Midwestern retailer Shopko has reopened its garden centers and has reiterated its commitment to environmental sustainability as the world marks this year’s Earth Day.

As a Veriflora Preferred Retailer since 2011, Shopko stocks sustainably grown annuals, perennials and vegetables plants from Floral Plant Growers, a Veriflora-certified operation based in Denmark, Wis. Veriflora certification, issued by SCS Global Services, a leading third-party certifier, recognizes horticultural practices that limit environmental impact while providing social and economic benefits.

"Sustainability is important to Shopko and our Garden Centers," said George Greggs, Shopko's lawn and garden buyer. "We are always trying to give our customers environmentally and socially responsible choices. When they see the Veriflora certification mark in our stores, they know that they are buying plants that are not only high-quality but have been grown to the highest standards of sustainability."

Floral Plant Growers, a Veriflora-certified grower since 2008, has been Shopko's provider of bedding plants since 1973 and has supplied sustainably grown bedding plants to Shopko Garden Centers for the last six years. Its state-of-the-art greenhouses reduce water use and run-off, while limiting pesticide and chemical fertilizer application. Last year, for instance, the company reduced fertilizer run-off in its wastewater by 70-90% by switching to slow release fertilizer.

"As a longtime advocate for our communities and environment, we were the 6th greenhouse in the country to go through the Veriflora Certification," noted Eben Erhard, national account manager at Floral Plant Growers. "Shopko was excited from the beginning and has been an excellent partner in making consumers aware of the friendly growing practices we employ."

Shopko provides point-of-purchase labeling for Veriflora-certified plants in their Garden Centers to guide customers to certified sustainably grown products. The retailer also trains staff members about the important environmental, social and quality accomplishments of Veriflora certified suppliers, providing an additional information source about environmental sustainability.