Northern Alexandria Native Plant Sale in 2014
Instruction Sheet
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INSTRUCTIONS FOR VENDORS

(Instructions updated for April 2011 Parkfairfax plant sale.)

Click here to download vendor instructions. (PDF format - 106 KB)

CONTENTS:
1. 100% Native 
2. Vendor Fee and "Sale Results" Info
3. Discount for Volunteers
4. Vendor Arrival Time / Setup 
5. Sale Start / End 
6. Tables 
7. Vendor Information and Brochures 
8. Number of Vendors 
9. Information to Confirm Before the Sale 
10. Vendor "Sale Results" to Send After the Sale 
11. Expected Turnout 
12. My Contact Information

1. 100% Native:

All plants sold at the Parkfairfax Native Plant Sale must be native plants.  Please do not bring non-native plants to the sale.  “Native,” in this case, means native to North America.  Hybrid native plants are fine.  (Please be sure to label them as hybrids.)

To answer the question of “native verses non-native” for any particular plant, my first guide for identifying a plant as one or the other is Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb.

2. Vendor Fee and "Sale Results" Info:

The base fee for vendors at this sale is $40.  This covers my costs of promoting, preparing for, and hosting the sale.  (It’s an increase of $20 from the fee last spring.)  The newest costs were the purchases of 30 corrugated-plastic signs and several more used Radio Flyer wagons, both of which I hope will help increase sales.

The fee should be mailed in with your vendor “sale results” information after the sale.  (See item #10 below about the “results” numbers after the sale.)  I consider the “results” critical to my management decisions and preparation for the next sale, so submission of “results” should be considered part of your vendor’s fee for attending the sale.

If you do not wish to send “results” information along with the base fee, you can choose to pay a penalty of $60 in addition to the base fee of $40 (for a total of $100) to remain in good standing as a vendor of the Parkfairfax sale.  Frankly, given a choice, I will always prefer to receive your “best estimation” of your “results” from the sale rather than get a penalty fee from you.

Please pay the fee with a check made out to “Scott Knudsen,” and mail your check with a completed “sale results” form to me at 3478 Gunston Rd., Alexandria, VA  22302.

3. Discount for Volunteers:

Vendors should give the volunteers working at the sale a discount of 10% on their purchases at the sale.  The volunteers will wear name badges clearly identifying themselves as volunteers, and they will know to ask for a discount, so you will not have to worry about remembering who qualifies.  Anyone not wearing a volunteer badge should not get a volunteer discount.

The discount encourages volunteers helping at the sale to volunteer again at the next sale, which is important since having enough helpers is crucial to the smooth running of the sale.  Thank you for providing the discount, which in this way promotes the continuation of the Parkfairfax Native Plant Sale.

4. Vendor Arrival Time / Setup:

You should arrive in the parking lot by about 8 a.m.  Earlier arrival is fine.  Vendors with large displays should arrive early enough to allow themselves the extra time to finish setting up before the sale starts at 9 a.m.

Vendor spaces will be marked on the parking lot with flour.  The corners of spaces will be marked and individual spaces will be labeled "A" through "N."  See Vendor Setup Diagram to find your space and the letter that labels it.

Park your vehicle in your assigned space at the back of the lot however it best fits, leaving room for your tables and display in front of it.  Front edge of plant displays should align with front edge of the fenced riprap drainage area in the middle of the lot (shown as crosshatching on the setup diagram behind the information tables).

The point is to leave a clear, 20-foot-wide space for people to walk the length of the lot in front of the vendors.

Vendors may set plants at front edge of parking lot on the grass between the lot and the street.  Set the plants on the grass, not on the pavement, to avoid blocking the walkway.  Regular tables should not be used on the grass, but low platforms are fine.  (The point is to let people easily see everything in the parking lot from the sidewalk.)  Leave room on the sides of any display on the grass for people to walk through from the sidewalk to the parking lot between the vendors’ displays.  If low platforms are used on the grass, please do not let them extend onto the parking lot where they will block the walkway.

The point is to have all displays (both on the grass and in the lot) visible and accessible to people on the sidewalk.

5. Sale Start / End:

The sale starts at 9 a.m.  Vendors should wait until about 9 a.m. to start selling, but it is OK to start selling several minutes earlier if one has finished setting up and customers do not get in another vendor’s way.

The sale ends at 2 p.m.  A volunteer will walk around at 1:30 to signal vendors that the sale will be ending soon.  All plants must be removed immediately from all borrowed tables at 2 p.m.  (This is to allow volunteers to gather and clean the borrowed tables to return them on time.)  Sales still in process can be wrapped up afterward.

Vendors may still sell plants after 2 p.m. as they load their vehicles provided that this activity does not block other vendors or volunteers from cleaning up or leaving.

6. Tables:

I expect to be able to provide every vendor who wants to borrow a table with at least one table.  If you expect to borrow one or more tables at the sale, please be sure you have gotten confirmation of this from me beforehand.

Vendors who can do so should bring at least one table to the sale to meet their most basic display needs.

7. Vendor Information and Brochures:

The vendor list contains information carried over from the previous list.  If any changes should be made to information on it, please send me an email with the subject “Update to vendor list” to alert me of the changes.

Copies of the list will be distributed at a table at the sale, and the list will be available on the plant sale website.

For the sale, please bring as much of your own information and brochures as you can, either to display or to give out to people at the sale.  Having pictures of the plants in bloom is the #1 thing I hear about from customers at the sale.  (I hear both suggestions for more pictures and satisfaction that so many of our vendors do display pictures.) 

Outreach is a key part of the mission of this sale, and the sale does draw a significant number of people who are hungry for more information about native plants.  You should expect to answer a lot of questions and to do a lot of talking and explaining to interested customers. 

Lastly, please remember to have hybrid native plants clearly marked as being hybrid. 

8. Number of Vendors:

Fourteen vendors will attend the April 2011 sale.  All of the vendors have sold at the sale before.  

9. Information to Confirm Before the Sale:

I will send each vendor an email confirming two pieces of information.

(a) Width of vendor spaces:  The vendor spaces in the parking lot are all 20 feet deep.  (The width for the typical vendor will be about 20 feet wide.  A few vendor spaces will need to be wider.)

(b) Number of tables needed:  If you need more tables than I have confirmed I can provide for you in the email, please contact me immediately to tell me how many tables you will need.

10. Vendor “Sale Results” to Send After the Sale:

After the sale, each vendor should mail the following information along with the base vendor fee to my address.  (See item #2 above about the vendor fee and “sale results” information.)

(a)  How many plants total did you sell?  (If you can’t say exactly, give your best estimate.)

(b)  Of the plants sold, how many (or what percentage) of total plants sold were perennials? Shrubs? Trees?

(c)  How many separate sales did you make?  (Or how many customers did you have?)

(d)  What were your total gross sales? (This figure can be rounded to the nearest $100.)

I do understand that some vendors will have much more data to compile than others and for some the task is a more complicated prospect, but those vendors can choose to lean more toward providing their "best estimation" rather than providing me with exactly accurate information. 

The information you will be providing me is a management tool, not an accounting tool.  I do use the total numbers of estimated customers and total plants sold to trumpet to all the overall success of the sale; but I also use the approximate total sales figure (which I don't report to anyone) to make management decisions about the sale and how many vendors it can support.

About my reporting afterward, I will not share figures given to me by any one vendor with anyone else.  From the figures I collect, I will report only the aggregates of total plants sold and the collective total sales that were made. 

11. Predicted Turnout:

The weather prediction for Saturday is that it won’t rain and the temperature will be in the lower 70s, which would be ideal.  I forecast the turnout will be approximately 1000 people, but that’s mostly from a “gut” feel.  I have three reasons for my forecast: 

         (1) The sale in April 2010 seemed to bring the highest turnout yet.  I “guestimate” that the turnout was about 800 or 900 people, comparing it to customer traffic in past years for which I had fairly accurate tallies. 

         (2) My promotional effort this spring has gone well.  Notices of the sale will appear in the Washington Post, the Alexandria Gazette Packet, the Alexandria Times, and the Del Ray Patch online newsletter.

         (3) If the weather will be good and the promotional effort has gone better than before, the turnout should be at least as good as it was a year ago—probably better.

12. My Contact Information:

cell #:     (see emailed instructions)
home #:  703-671-8416
email:     sknudsen@earthlink.net

The best way to reach me the day of the sale is to call my cell phone.  I will have my cell phone with me and turned on from now until the sale is finished.  If you have an urgent question, please call me any time of day.

I will check my email regularly through the day and in the early morning a few hours before the sale. If you have an urgent question, though, please call me on my cell phone.

Click here to download vendor instructions. (PDF format - 106 KB)


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For more information, or to receive email notices of future events,
contact sale organizer Scott Knudsen.

If sending email, please put "native plant sale" in the subject line.

Phone: 703-671-8416
 

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