Making Sense Of Monrovia’s Request

Monrovia’s goal of reaching a bank-mandated $20 million in bookings is drawing a mixed reaction from growers, retailers and others in the industry. Some people sympathize with Monrovia and its dilemma while others are more skeptical of its request, concluding that the company will eventually serve the box stores in some form.

Almost everyone has an opinion online, whether on GreenhouseGrower.com, our Fresh Air Forum or our sister magazine’s website, TodaysGardenCenter.com. Here’s what a few readers have to say:

Monrovia Supporters Speak

“Monrovia is a great company. We have to support people like this to keep our industry strong.”–Andy Bittner, Greenwell Plant Farm

“I have always been pleased with the product and service Monrovia provides. Yes, they grow a few things as a convenience that could be bought cheaper elsewhere, but their quality has always exceeded my expectations. And they grow many unique varieties that help set the independents apart from the box. I looked over my spring booking with them, and the new pricing, and will certainly be increasing some items and adding others. Some awesome opportunities exist there.”–Erik Friedli, Flamingo Road Nursery

“I have done a lot of business with Monrovia over the years and have been pleased with the quality and always had exceptional service. The problem is logistics. In this day and age of just-in-time inventory practices, it is tough to count on a supplier from the West Coast or South to resupply a garden center in the northern plains. I wish Monrovia the best and hope to be able to buy from them again some day.”–Jim Schroer, Plant Place Inc.

“We, after 25 years in business, have had bank troubles, too. I hope only the best for Monrovia and, in fact, for all of us in the green industry. I for one will, at least, look at my spring 2011 Monrovia order to see what we can do.” – Anonymous

Box Stores Are Next

While some growers and retailers are supportive of Monrovia in its effort to remain with independent garden centers, others believe it’s inevitable Monrovia will eventually serve the box stores. Here’s what a few others have to say about Monrovia’s future:

“Am I the only one who sees a thinly veiled threat in the letter Monrovia sent to its customers? Monrovia is far from the only nursery facing these problems, and anyone who feels Monrovia will not be forced to do business with their similarly-sized box store brethren (regardless of how much you increase your order) is sadly mistaken. The better bet is to support your local, modestly-sized, independent grower who, given proper support, will be able to meet the needs of your independent garden center for years to come far better than a large corporate nursery that has little choice but to deal with large corporate retailers.” – Anonymous

“The fact of the matter is Monrovia is looking to have their cake and eat it too when it comes to dealing with boxes. When I hear that they expect IGCs to come to their rescue to the tune of $20 million in such a short time, I say they are setting up impossible standards to meet so they can say: ‘We tried, we couldn’t get the support, we didn’t want to do it, but we were forced to go to the boxes to survive,’ and expect then the IGCs not to get upset. In reality, this is all likely a result of some wildly poor inventory decisions, a failed national selling strategy, and a huge corporate entity that has gotten too huge to properly stay in touch with the needs of its customer base.” – Anonymous

“I find this news about Monrovia not a surprise. They have a national brand that the consumer barely knows, they are a national shipper when our industry is moving in a completely different direction to more local/regional buying and finally they have grown far too many of the same green evergreens that people just don’t want anymore. I wish them the best but it is time to either dramatically scale back their numbers or dance with the big boxes.”–Anonymous

Want More?

For more information on Monrovia and how its bank is pressuring it to secure $20 million in additional sales by Jan. 31, read our story from earlier this month. Additional reader comments are at the bottom of that page. Reader comments can also be read online at Fresh Air Forum.

Leave a Reply

4 comments on “Making Sense Of Monrovia’s Request

  1. Most every wholesale nursery is feeling the pressure from banks and lenders right now. A lot of us are in the same boat. When I saw the letter from Monrovia I was disappointed that it had come to that and feel sorry for the smaller wholesale nurseries that just had a chunk of their pie for spring significantly reduced by some IGCs in order to help Monrovia. I too feel that they will be selling to the box stores come spring and hope it doesn’t come back and bite the IGCs when they are all trying to sell the same product but SURPRISE…the box has it for less.

  2. This past year has been bad for all of us.But asking others to bail out your money troubles doesn’t surprise me, and shouldn’t surprise anyone else. When $$$$’s are the issue Monrovia or any business will do what it has to do to stay solvent.It’s not like they are the only game in town.Look around and there are plenty of good quality growers that can pick up the slack.Your IGC shouldn’t be reliant on what it says on the pot anyway. That’s what I thought set us apart from the Big Box stores in the first place.If Monrovia sells to the BIG BOYS so be it.I really don’t believe it is the end of the world as we know it!

  3. Most every wholesale nursery is feeling the pressure from banks and lenders right now. A lot of us are in the same boat. When I saw the letter from Monrovia I was disappointed that it had come to that and feel sorry for the smaller wholesale nurseries that just had a chunk of their pie for spring significantly reduced by some IGCs in order to help Monrovia. I too feel that they will be selling to the box stores come spring and hope it doesn’t come back and bite the IGCs when they are all trying to sell the same product but SURPRISE…the box has it for less.

  4. This past year has been bad for all of us.But asking others to bail out your money troubles doesn’t surprise me, and shouldn’t surprise anyone else. When $$$$’s are the issue Monrovia or any business will do what it has to do to stay solvent.It’s not like they are the only game in town.Look around and there are plenty of good quality growers that can pick up the slack.Your IGC shouldn’t be reliant on what it says on the pot anyway. That’s what I thought set us apart from the Big Box stores in the first place.If Monrovia sells to the BIG BOYS so be it.I really don’t believe it is the end of the world as we know it!

More From Finance/Operations...

May 22, 2015

Nexus Greenhouses Is Optimistic For Expansion Into New Markets

Cheryl Longtin and Mike Porter, who own Nexus Corporation, say they were excited to attend the grand opening of Gotham Greens’ new structure atop the new Whole Foods grocery store in the Gowanus neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y., when it opened in December 2013. The project is just one example of some of the new and expanding markets that Nexus Corporation has expanded into over the past few years. Jeff Warschauer, vice president of sales for Nexus, says the company has enjoyed getting to know and working with the founders of Gotham Greens, Viraj Puri and Eric Haley, and Jennifer Nelkin Frymark, the chief agriculture officer, on their innovative approach to business. “They are very excited and work hard internally – just great people,” he says. “From our perspective, it’s great to see that excitement and vision. The employees there are happy and there’s no turnover; they’re only adding new people […]

Read More
Farwest2015

May 20, 2015

2015 Farwest Show Announces Second Annual Equipment Innovation Day

The second annual Equipment Innovation Day will be Tuesday, Aug. 25, prior to the 2015 Farwest show, which will be August 27-29 in Portland, Ore. Equipment Innovation Day, which was enthusiastically received in 2014, offers a real-time opportunity to see new heavy and automated nursery equipment in action. The demonstrations take place in manufacturing and nursery settings, adding value to the showcase. Attendees will be able to talk with participating manufacturers and learn first-hand from innovative growers who use the equipment in daily operations. The day-long event will be held at the main manufacturing plant of GK Machines, Inc., Donald, Ore. Further demonstrations of field equipment will take place at the nearby nursery of A&R Spada Farms, LLC. Bus travel to and from the event is planned, starting at and returning to the Oregon Convention Center. Attendees are welcome to provide their own travel to and from the site. Preregistration is required. The cost […]

Read More
Bee On Flower

May 20, 2015

White House Task Force Releases Pollinator Health Strategy

An interagency Pollinator Health Task Force commissioned by President Obama released its “Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators” on May 19. The strategy, released in accordance with the Presidential Memorandum issued last June, is accompanied by a Pollinator Research Action Plan, which outlines needs and priority actions to better understand pollinator losses and improve pollinator health. The recommended actions will be supported by a coordination of existing federal research efforts and accompanied by a request to Congress for additional resources to respond to losses in pollinator populations. Pages 47 through 52 specifically address pesticides and pollinators. The report calls out plant production, native plants, mosquito control and all urban uses in its Pollinator Action Plan. RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) says it supports the goals of improving pollinator health and habitat contained in the White House Pollinator Task Force’s release of its National […]

Read More
Latest Stories
people-of-Battlefield

May 13, 2015

Battlefield Farms Receives MPS-A Qualification

Battlefield Farms, Inc., in Rapidan, Va., has been awarded the MPS-A qualification after becoming a participant for MPS-ABC in 2010. After four years of showing effort and improvement, the company has been awarded the qualification.

Read More
Barry_Sturdivant_columnpic

May 8, 2015

How To Survive Succession Planning And Resolve Conflic…

If you work in agriculture, you most likely work with family-owned businesses. This is especially true within the greenhouse industry. I’m fortunate to work for a company that specializes in financing and supporting such businesses. Family-owned businesses often have a level of commitment and support that helps during lean times. This is important for a company exposed to seasonality and events that are sometimes beyond management’s control. Business owners and management are constantly looking for solutions to the unique issues faced by these small but complex businesses. Specifically, how these issues affect the transition from one generation to the next. There are many family enterprise success stories, cases of harmony, health and longevity. Yet it’s no secret that family businesses can struggle with governance, leadership transitions and even survival. According to the Family Business Institute, only 30 percent of family businesses last into the second generation, 12 percent remain viable […]

Read More

April 30, 2015

North Creek Nurseries Welcomes Nikki Drake As New Finan…

Nikki Drake will fill the role of new financial administrator at North Creek Nurseries, with responsibility for the accounting department. She will also serve on the strategic planning committee.

Read More
Andy Huntington Pleasant View

April 29, 2015

Pleasant View Gardens Promotes Andy Huntington to Natio…

Pleasant View Gardens recently announced that Andy Huntington will be the company’s National Sales Manager. Huntington, who has years of horticulture industry experience, will oversee national territory and inside sales departments, while fostering strong partnerships with customers. “Our relationships with customers are central to all that we do at Pleasant View,” Huntington says. “In my new role, I am excited to work with a broader base of broker, grower and retail partners to understand their business needs. Pleasant View’s goal is to be so in tune with our customers that we are able to anticipate their problems before they arise.” Huntington has a history of growing sales and forming long-lasting relationships with a diverse customer base. For the past two years, he has been working as a territory account manager for Pleasant View Gardens, responsible for young plant liner sales in New England and New York. Prior to that, Huntington was […]

Read More
PittMoss on Shark Tank

April 22, 2015

PittMoss Wins On Shark Tank

Mont Handley, president and CEO of PittMoss, appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank on April 17 to try to get the “sharks” to invest in his peat moss alternative. Three investors from the TV show contributed $600,000 to PittMoss for a 35 percent stake in the company. Check out this clip from ABC’s website in which Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec discuss getting on board with the product. PittMoss is an alternative to sphagnum peat moss, made up of a mix of proprietary additives and recycled paper rescued from landfill space. Handley founded the Pittsburgh-based company in 1994. What started as a small experiment grew into a full-fledged business with the help of funding provided by an EPA SBIR grant and Pittsburgh’s Idea Foundry. Today, PittMoss is available to commercial greenhouses and nurseries from Michigan to Maine to North Carolina, with plans to grow. To learn more, visit PittMoss’ website, or check it […]

Read More
Syngenta logo

April 15, 2015

Syngenta Names Chris Freeman Senior Key Account Manager…

Chris Freeman is the new senior key account manager for Syngenta Flowers, Home & Garden's Commercial Sales business in the Americas, effective March 2015. Freeman, who joined Syngenta in 2006, carries more than 25 years of experience in the agriculture and floriculture business.

Read More
Lake Buchanan_LCRA

April 10, 2015

USDA Designates Areas Of West And Southwest As Drought …

The ongoing drought has resulted in disaster area designations in counties across nine Western and Southwestern states, including Texas, where some reservoirs are at or near historically low levels.

Read More

April 9, 2015

Altman Plants’ Online Cactus Shop Shows Strong Sa…

Altman Plants recently opened its new Cactus Shop, an online retail store that sells a variety of cactus and succulents. The store is a take-off of Altman’s original wholesale business, as the company started as a mail order catalog.

Read More
Dummen

April 8, 2015

Dümmen Group Welcomes Jim Devereux And Andrew Konicki T…

Dümmen group recently announced the addition of Jim Devereux and Andrew Konicki to its team. They are the newest members of the Key Account and Broker Support team for Dümmen, and will be responsible for building, developing and maintaining current broker and grower customer relationships.

Read More
Gov._Jerry_Brown_California

April 8, 2015

California Institutes First Ever Statewide Mandatory Wa…

California Gov. Jerry Brown announced April 1 that, for the first time in state history, action will be taken to implement mandatory water restrictions, with the ultimate goal of reducing water usage by 25 percent. As Californians are pushed to conserve more, growers will need to think about how demand for products will be affected.

Read More
DNA-logo

March 31, 2015

DNA Green Group Will Acquire Rijnplant

DNA Green Group and Riknplant have finalized DNA Green Group's acquisition of Rijnplant, meaning that the breeding and propagation activities in pot and cut anthurium, bougainvillea and heliconia will transfer to DNA Green Group.

Read More
AFE scholarship_Ryan Dickson

March 25, 2015

AFE Educational Grant And Scholarship Application Deadl…

Apply now for American Floral Endowment (AFE) scholarships or educational grants. Applications can be found online. For educational grants for 2015-2016, applications must be submitted no later than June 1. Scholarship applications are due May 1. AFE will award $40,000 in scholarships for 2015.

Read More

March 23, 2015

UF/IFAS Appoints Joseph Albano As Director Of Mid-Flori…

The University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) has a new directors for its Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (REC) on Apopka, Fla. The role has been filled by Joseph Albano, a research horticulturist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture with more than 25 years of experience.

Read More

March 17, 2015

Pike Nurseries Implements Employee Stock Ownership Plan

Independent garden retailer Pike Nurseries has announced it will become an employee-owned company. Pike Nurseries management has combined with its sister corporation in California, Armstrong Garden Centers, to operate under an established Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

Read More
GrowIt! App Wins Gold At Design100 2014 US Mobile & App Design Awards

March 10, 2015

GrowIt! Mobile App Now Available For Android

The mobile app GrowIt! Garden Socially can now be used by gardeners with Android-based smartphones. Now available on the Google Play Market, GrowIt! helps users find plants to fit their lifestyle and connect them with other local gardeners.

Read More

March 4, 2015

Second Annual GreenhouseConnect Will Bring Growers and …

Following a successful inaugural event in Tampa last fall, Greenhouse Grower has announced the dates of its second annual GreenhouseConnect: October 26-29, 2015. Representatives of an expected two dozen leading greenhouse operations from across the U.S. will join senior-level suppliers at Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego for several days of one-on-one strategic meetings, a growers-only roundtable, informational sessions and a variety of networking events.

Read More

March 4, 2015

Maryland Green Industry Associations Unite

The Maryland Nursery and Landscape Association recently announced that it is expanding its reach to include the greenhouse industry, meaning it has become The Maryland Nursery, Landscape and Greenhouse Association (MNLGA). The change comes as a result of the planned dissolution of the former Maryland Greenhouse Growers Association and the invitation for those members to join the existing and renamed association.

Read More
IPPS Sharing Plant Production Knowledge Globally Logo

February 25, 2015

International Plant Propagators Western Region Sets Ann…

The annual meet for the International Plant Propagators' Society (IPPS) Western Region has been set for this September. It will take place September 23 to 26 in Modesto, Calif., and will include learning sessions, tours to local nurseries, a research poster display and poster presentations, various networking opportunities and an awards banquet to close the event.

Read More