October 24, 2007

Management Changes At Walters Gardens

Dave Walters, president of Walters Gardens in Zeeland, Mich., has retired after 40 years of service. Evan Elenbaas, who has been vice president of sales for 15 years, has been promoted to president, and industry veteran Niles Riese has joined Walters as the new vice president of sales. Dave Walters is the eldest son of Dennis Walters, who started the family business in 1946. He worked his way up from pulling weeds in the field to president of the perennial growing operation. In the office, he entered orders and made shipping labels on a manual typewriter and lead the transition to a “paperless” office in the 1990s. He started the first computer system used in the office and was the company’s first sales manager. In his retirement, he says he’s looking forward to spending more time with his wife and family. As the new president Elenbaas says he plans to […]

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October 24, 2007

Two Young Growers Buy Boven’s

Grower Larry Boven of Boven’s Quality Plants in Kalamazoo, Mich., has sold his business to two enterprising young growers. The 14-acre Van Boven’s greenhouse facility was sold to grower employee Nirmal Shah, who grew up in India and came to this country to pursue a career in horticulture at Penn State University, earning his degree in horticulture and business. He joined Boven’s fresh out of school six years ago. The sale closed in August and Shah has changed the name of the business to Plants Unlimited. He specializes in growing blooming potted plants and hanging baskets and is a contract grower for Masterpiece Flower Co., which serves Meijer and Home Depot. The original seven-acre Boven’s facility six miles away was purchased by another grower employee, Kris Van de Streek. He is retaining the name Boven’s Quality Plants. Boven’s daughter, Laurie, still works in the office. Van de streek’s customers are […]

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October 17, 2007

Ecke Family Honored By Local Charity

Paul Ecke III and his family were the first recipients of Community Resource Center’s (CRC) Community Star Award for more than 80 years of dedication to improving the lives of children and families in Encinitas, Calif., and beyond. The gala fundraiser held Sept. 29 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds Sports Club raised a record quarter million dollars for programs that shelter abused women and children, provide vital assistance to low-income families and help the homeless transition off the streets. “Paul Ecke III put the spotlight on CRC, sponsors invested in CRC at higher levels and individual supporters came through for us at the event,” says CRC Executive Director Laurin Pause. “This record fundraising level is a new benchmark for us and the positive impact it will have on people who need our help is incalculable.” Loren Nancarrow of 10News introduced the honoree, Paul Ecke III, who shared the award with […]

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October 10, 2007

Ivy Acres Names New President

Ivy Acres, a wholesale grower of annuals and perennials in Calverton, N.Y, and Vineland, N.J., recently promoted Brian Sullivan to president. Sullivan had been Ivy Acres’ vice president of sales and marketing since 2002. Prior to joining the company he was vice president of sales at Fernlea Flowers Ltd. in Delhi, Ontario. Before joining the greenhouse floriculture industry, Sullivan has been part of the team at Florida Power & Light that won “The Deming Prize”–Japan’s highest award for management excellence in 1989 and was the first non-Japanese company to be considered. He also spent eight years as a consultant to various industries in theUnited States, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and other countries. Three Australian clients won the Australian Quality Award and two U.S. clients won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Ivy Acres owner Jack Van de Wetering says, “I’m very excited to have Brian at the helm. He brings […]

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September 19, 2007

Wal-Mart On Sustainability

Wal-Mart’s Senior Horticultural Buyer Ron Coben shared the retail giant’s corporate vision for sustainability and what it means to growers last week at Grower Talks’ Greenhouse Experience in Cleveland. Wal-Mart already has started working with growers and our industry at large on sustainable initiatives. Examples Coben shared, both related and unrelated to Wal-Mart, include: The rollout of Earth Essentials as the Wal-Mart exclusive version of Ball Horticultural Co.’s Circle of Life program for independent garden centers. The Wal-Mart biodegradable pots are green versus brown. The program was in select markets this year. Partnering with Ball on getting growers certified for sustainable practices through Veriflora. Fairview Greenhouses in Missouri using turkey beaks and feet as fuel from a nearby turkey farm. Growers and the University of Florida using Smart Grow pad made of human hair in China in the tops of nursery pots to reduce the need for watering, fertilizing and […]

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September 12, 2007

Pallet Shipper Saves Freight

Northwest Horticulture’s new Pallet Shipper has helped the perennial propagator pass freight savings onto its grower customers. Based in Mt. Vernon, Wash., the company ships nationally from the Northwest corner of the United States and is always looking for ways to drive down delivery costs. Ranked at No. 21 on our Top 25 Young Plant Growers, Northwest Horticulture produces perennials, groundcovers and landscape roses in more than a million square feet of greenhouse space and 600 additional acres of outdoor production. The company’s new Pallet Shipper program has made truck shipping a viable option for growers looking for high quality plugs at a cost-effective price. The crush-resistant packaging system is stacked on pallets, delievering dormant trays to growers’ doors. “The Pallet Shipper stacking system allows air to circulate through the plants during shipping,” says Richard Gigot, Northwest Horticulture’s director of sales and marketing. “Traditional boxed shipments don’t allow this.” Since […]

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August 15, 2007

Wisconsin Energy Incentives

Tropical Gardens, a 70,000-square-foot greenhouse operation in Mosinee, Wis., is saving thousands of dollars in fuel costs after undergoing an energy audit and installing a thermal energy curtain. The free energy assessment was conducted by Focus On Energy, which works with Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Tropical Gardens received $3,500 in financial incentives to install the curtain, which saved nearly $11,000 in energy costs the first year. The payback period for this installation was less than two years. For more information, visit Focus On Energy’s Web site.

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July 11, 2007

Higham on Transportation & Merchandising

One of the most frequent issues that comes up in my discussions with growers is how to connect two important parts of the supply chain–transportation and merchandising. As Vinny Naab mentions in Greenhouse Grower’s July issue, more growers are having to merchandise their own products in stores or hand it off to a third party. For growers delivering their own material, this may not be so bad. But when you have to use common carrier trucks and third party merchandisers, it can be a disaster. For more, visit: http://www.greenhousegrower.com/blogs/higham.html

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July 5, 2007

Wal-Mart Tries Earth-Friendly Pots

Wal-Mart Canada is testing sales of empty Biopots in 227 discount stores, seven super centers and six Sam’s Clubs. The 4-inch and 6-inch grower pots will be sold to consumers empty off the shelf and placed beside plastic pots. This was sold by and supplied through Toronto distributor John G. Hofland Ltd. For more information, visit: http://www.biopots.com and http://www.hofland.com.

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June 20, 2007

Tim Higham On Cross Docking

One of the things being tried by several growers and big box stores is worth noting–cross docking material and delivering one full truck to a store. So rather than five small deliveries, the store gets one delivery–a full truck with a variety of material on it. This is common with many other products but has never worked on a wide scale with plant material, and many have tried. For more, visit: http://www.greenhousegrower.com/blogs/higham.html

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June 13, 2007

Vinny Naab On Service Programs

Over the last six to eight years, third-party nursery service has developed extensively in the mass-market arena, particularly at The Home Depot and Lowe’s. More recently, as in this year, Wal-Mart has begun to test the concept in select markets and will be studying the results to see if the program bears expanding, maintaining or is deemed unnecessary. For more on this topic, visit: http://www.greenhousegrower.com/blogs/vinny.html

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June 6, 2007

Urban Garden Centers

Edgy clothing retailer Urban Outfitters will open a prototype for an urban garden center in Philadelphia next year. While the clothing stores target Generations X and Y, this new concept store will be for Boomers. Today’s Garden Center has the story at http://www.todaysgardencenter.com/blog/page.php?page=news#urban

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