Garden Of Urban

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Urban Outfitters, Inc.'s latest venture Terrain might have something to do with the fact that founder and chief executive Richard Hayne is an avid vegetable gardener, but it also represents a fertile business opportunity. Veering from its successful line of retail clothing stores--Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People--the Philadelphia-based corporation's first garden center seeks to carry a style and design ethos from consumers' backs to their backyards, marrying nursery with landscaping services, a home store, outdoor furniture and a cafe.

"Gardening and outdoor living is an $80 billion industry," says Terrain's managing director, John Kinsella. "It's ripe for innovation; there's really no national leader in the garden industry and there's no specialty retailer. The big boxes, like Lowe's and Home Depot, have the commodity end of things. Then there are roughly 20,000 garden centers that mostly do less than $8 million or $9 million dollars per year. This industry is unusual in that there's no national brand that encompasses garden lifestyle in a way that we feel we can do it."

Going beyond just nursery services and plant retail, Terrain attempts to be an one stop shopping experience for style-minded outdoor living and entertaining. It will offer landscaping services—so customers can recreate vignettes on Terrain's grounds in their own homes, as well as all kinds of goods to enhance the outdoor living experience—from patio furniture to plants and home decor.

"If you want to get all of these things done, you'd have to go to four or five different stores," Kinsella says. "We thought, let's have one brand that encompasses an aesthetic and a feel that brings it all together, so we can deliver the complete package." Urban brands can now also serve its current customer base as it matures; Kinsella says Terrain follows Anthropologie's affluent, educated and styleminded target "into their 40s, 50s and 60s, when home décor, gardening and entertaining outdoors are probably more on their mind than clothes."

The first store, officially named Terrain at Styer's, outside of Philadelphia, now occupies the former site of an indie garden retailer, the ten-acre nursery formerly known as Styer's, which Urban acquired early this year. Kinsella adds that once Urban irons out the Terrain model, it will expand in much the same way that Terrain at Styer's came to be, via acquisitions that leverage independent garden stores' expertise and knowledge in the market—a new model for the company.
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