Green Industry Professional Profile

Michael J. Donovan

Head Moderator, Online Communities
Staff member
Pittsburgh, PA
Green Industry Professional Profile:
Jeff Webeler, Retail Garden Center Owner,
on the CENTS Experience​

How can a business stay relevant for 30 years—never mind a trade show?
That’s the question answered by Jeff Webeler, 30-year participant in the
Central Environmental Nursery Trade Show (CENTS) as CENTS prepare for its
2012 show focused on a new business education track to help green industry
professionals improve operations, sales and marketing know-how.​

Jeff Webeler, owner of White Oak Garden Center in Cincinnati, OH has been attending the Central Environmental Nursery Trade Show (CENTS) since his first days in the business, 30 years ago. It was a difference-maker then:

“I bought a small retail nursery in Cincinnati Ohio right out of college, armed with a Horticulture degree, tons of ambition and no experience,” Webeler explains. “It sounds great to be able to do what you want without anyone telling me what to do. And it is great, until the first time something doesn’t go smoothly and you hit a brick wall. That’s where CENTS first made a
difference. I went to a conference, met new people who had been where I was, and I was able to really draw from their vast experience to develop better ways to tackle the pitfalls of running my own business. I quickly learned how to work smarter. From then on, I kept going back. Many of my best learning experiences came from others I met at CENTS.”

Today CENTS is largely regarded as the premier Midwest green show, with a distinctive business focus that keeps it relevant year after year to attendees like Jeff Webeler, while providing a place for young attendees who are just starting out in business to learn. CENTS offers more than ever with 800 booths highlighting everything from pre-season bargains to the latest industry trends and innovations. CENTS’ 80-year partnership with The Ohio State University Nursery Short Course continues to deliver 100+ of the nation’s finest educational sessions each year, covering topics specifically developed for Growers, Independent Garden Centers, Landscape Contractors, Arborists, Turf, and Pest Management professionals.

This January CENTS 2012 Marketplace helps attendees “grow beyond the green” to focus not only on OSU’s Short Course, but leading business technologies and strategies, networking and trends.

“CENTS is one of the largest venues to find and establish relationships with vendors and nurseries to see new products that keep my business on top of trends of interest to our customers. Each year I come away from CENTS with new ideas and sources to improve our business offering.

The OSU Short Course is the best educational program around. Keeping up to date with research and trends has helped our company be progressive and stay on top,” Webeler explains. “Perhaps the most important, is the networking with people with a similar focus. The friendships are priceless, and I recognize I would not be where I am in today without the contacts made from CENTS.”

An industry show for industry people, CENTS keys in on tools and resources that provide mission-critical information, especially about business. From lead generation and operations information to pre-season buying incentives and Short Course educational programs, CENTS creates a high-energy forum where attendees can buy, sell, learn and meet. Show dates are January 23- 25 2012 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, Ohio.