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The PuPS Pop Up at the Common Ground Store
by Nancy Schramm

PopUp Plant Stars: Sherry Hall, Pamela Mason, Nicky Hughes, Nancy Schramm

The Common Ground Garden Supply Store and Education Center in Palo Alto, California,
is part of the Ecology Action organization

Question: What do you get when you put together four small, independent nurseries dedicated to collaborative marketing with a special garden supply store?

Answer: The PuPS (PopUp Plant Stars) at Common Ground!

Three of the four PuPS first met in August 2011 with the thought of simply being a mutual support group—small local nurseries helping each other with ideas and solutions to better our businesses. We decided during that first meeting to make a more formal alliance, name ourselves, and create an exciting new way to market ourselves as a group, while at the same time providing a fun, informative and direct interaction between customer and grower.
Sherry Hall (Terra Sole Nurseries), Nicky Hughes (Gold Rush Nursery) and Nancy Schramm (Carman's Nursery) decided to invite Pamela Mason (Cole Canyon Farm) to join and round out the plant selection that the PuPS could offer.

Each of our nurseries has been an experienced Certified Farmers Market vendor, and each of us is only too aware of the limitations of the traditional Farmers Market. People are shopping for fruits and veggies, and plants are more of an impulse purchase. We needed a plant-oriented market to reach our true customers. Hence our desire to find unique new locations to"PopUp" for the day and make buying plants a party.

Enter Common Ground (CG). Several of the PuPS knew and approached Glenda Jones, a long-time volunteer and newsletter editor at CG. Glenda took the idea of Common Ground hosting a PopUp Plant Fair to Patricia Becker [CG Manager], and we were off and running. We all met, and a date was chosen. Pictures were taken, newsletters sent, and "the PuPS are Popping" was the word of the day. This was a great opportunity for the PuPS to spread the word about the Common Ground community and their classes, tools and garden supplies, and for Common
Ground to offer a day for their customers to meet and ask questions of the people who actually grow the plants.

It was a lovely day, and the PuPS got to meet new faces—people primarily interested in plants. Common Ground
got a lot of positive feedback from their customers, with requests for a repeat performance.

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