February 27, 2008

Hybrid Truck Qualifies For Tax Incentive

Purchasers of certain Kenworth medium duty hybrid vehicles in the United States are eligible for a tax credit of up to $12,000, under a qualified hybrid motor vehicle credit available from the federal government. The U.S. Department of Treasury’s heavy manufacturing and transportation group recently certified the tax incentive eligibility of both the Kenworth T370 Class 7 and Kenworth T270 Class 6 hybrid models in two applications. A $12,000 credit, the maximum for Class 7 hybrids, is available for the T370 hybrid in both utility boom and pickup and delivery vehicles when equipped with a PACCAR PX-6 engine and an Eaton hybrid system. A $6,000 credit is the maximum for Class 6 hybrids, and it’s available for both the Kenworth T270 hybrid utility boom and pickup and delivery vehicles. It’s only available, though, when equipped with a PACCAR PX-6 engine and an Eaton hybrid system. “These federal tax credits serve […]

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February 27, 2008

Pike Nurseries Up For Auction

Atlanta’s leading garden center chain Pike Family Nurseries went on the auction block yesterday, a little more than three months after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The outcome of the auction is not public yet, but at least five bidders have expressed interest in the 50-year-old family business founded by the Pike family and more recently owned by venture capitalists, Roark Capital Group, a private equity firm that bought Pike in 2004. Any final bid for the company must be approved by the bankruptcy judge. The next step is a public hearing tomorrow in federal bankruptcy court in Atlanta, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The newspaper also published an extensive interview with Pike’s CEO Scott Schnell, who joined the company a year ago. He comments on the factors that led Pike to bankruptcy and prospects for the future. Read the article here. The blogosphere also has been […]

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February 20, 2008

New Industry Blog Focuses On Economics

Ag economist Charlie Hall, who holds the Ellison Chair in International Floriculture at Texas A&M, is posting regular commentary on his new blog, “Making Cents Of Green Industry Economics.” Regarding the launch of the blog, Hall says, “We in the green industry are facing uncertain times over the course of the next 18 months. As a means of addressing the major i ssues facing the industry (e.g. potential recession, low pricing, reduced profitability, a maturing marketplace, water shortages, etc.), there is a need for careful economic analysies in order to make more informed managerial decisions regarding the strategies needed to survive and compete profitably.” Recent postings ponder how consumers will spend their tax rebates and how to combat falling consumer confidence. Check out the latest postings at http://ellisonchair.blogspot.com This is one you’ll want to bookmark or receive RSS feeds from.

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February 6, 2008

Langeveld International Goes Out Of Business

Believe it or not, it was banking and currency issues that ended up putting bulb and perennial broker Langeveld International out of business. In December, due to the strength of the euro and a large overhead in Holland, Langeveld was moving its production and warehouse facilities to the United States while filing for bankruptcy in Holland. In the United States, Langeveld was owned by a capital investment company called Oryx capital in Chicago. Because the new entity had no credit history, vendors of the former Langeveld Bulb Co. needed bank guarantees for them to start shipping product again. According to sales representative Frank Riteco, Oryx and the banks were not processing guarantees quickly enough and Langeveld’s buyers in Holland advised growers not to ship product until they would receive the guarantees. “Our buyers didn’t want our growers to take the risk that they might never get paid for their product […]

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January 9, 2008

Bell Expands Into Virginia

Bell Nursery has expanded its market footprint into Virginia and North Carolina after acquiring Virginia Growers in Montpelier, Va. Virginia Growers was founded in 1985 by Neil Van Wingerden and has been owned and operated by Jonathan and Andy Van Wingerden and Brett Guthrie. The operation has more than 12 acres of outdoor production space and 325,000 square feet of greenhouse space. This marks the second big acquisition for Bell Nursery within the past two months. Based in Burtonsville, Md., Bell Nursery supplies plants to Home Depot and others in the mid-Atlantic region, as well as Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio, after acquiring Ulery Greenhouse Co. in Springfield, Ohio.   “We are very excited about this additional expansion in Virginia,” says, Gary Mangum of Bell Nursery. “Virginia Growers have built a strong reputation based on a quality and a well-run family business.” He adds the first difference consumers will notice […]

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December 5, 2007

VIEWS: More On Pricing

Richard Wilson of Colorama Wholesale Nursery in California chimes in on last week’s discussion related to the ability of manufacturers to set retail pricing. “On the subject of the article, ‘Can manufacturers establish retails?’ they are already doing so,” he says. “One of the big seed companies has sold some of its products to a major big box. They provided the retail with the cost breakdown going back to the grower. In this particular instance, the cost analysis came out to where we were still making a decent net profit. But who is to say in the future when they (big box) will tell you what you will charge them because XYZ seed/vegetative producer has sold them on a new ‘loaf of sliced bread’ and we have to live with the cost analysis of someone who might not know the entire picture, especially if it is a national program.” We […]

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December 5, 2007

Pleasant View Optimizes Shipping

Pleasant View Gardens (PVG) in Loudon, N.H. has introduced a Mode Optimization Shipping Program to choose the best mode of delivery for each customer. Transportation logistics for all PVG orders are now determined by the company’s shipping department with customers’ needs in mind. “The transportation landscape has changed so much over the past few years,” says PVG’s President Henry Huntington. “FedEx has so many more options now, and with disposable pallet and carton options, there are so many ways to send and receive shipments. The idea with the Mode Optimization Shipping Program is to leave all our customers’ freight concerns up to us.” He says PVG will take into consideration each customer’s unique situations when determining the best way to ship. Are they close to an airport? Is ground transportation cheaper, easier and faster? When does it need to arrive? What are the weather conditions? “We’ll optimize each customer’s shipment […]

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November 28, 2007

VIEWS: A Shift In Pricing Power

Can manufacturers establish retail pricing? A U.S. Supreme Court ruling has sparked an interesting discussion between grower Tom Culak of Good Earth Greenhouse in Lockport, Ill., and Jim Ralles, who represents a few horticultural manufacturers through ARI in Belmont, Calif. Culak told Ralles about the Supreme Court ruling over the summer that overturned a 96-year-old antitrust precedent, by stating manufacturers and distributors could agree with retailers on minimum prices for products. Before, manufacturers and distributors could only suggest retail prices or withhold products from noncomplying stores, according to Bloomberg News. The original 1911 decision in Dr. Miles vs. Park made vertical minimum price agreements illegal, regardless of the impact on competition. In the new decision split between the justices, who voted 5 to 4, the majority said price-floor agreements should be evaluated under the “rule of reason,” a legal doctrine that assesses restraints on trade by looking at the impact […]

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November 21, 2007

Growers Top Pike’s List Of Creditors

Whenever there is a big Chapter 11 filing in the industry, one of the most unsettling aspects is the ripple effect that can hurt other companies. According to bankruptcy court records, Pike Nursery Holding LLC in Atlanta owes nearly $5.6 million to its 20 largest unsecured creditors. At least half of these companies are growers. At the very top of the list is Monrovia in California, which is owed $716,779. Next is Wight Nurseries in Atlanta, Ga., which is owed $689,289. On the greenhouse growing side, Wenke Greenhouse in Kalamazoo, Mich., and sister division Sunbelt Greenhouses in Douglas, Ga., are owed more than $500,000 for summer and fall crops. Owner Dennis Wenke says he met with officers of Pike last Monday before the bankruptcy filing, so he knew it was coming. Pike will be paying cash on delivery for poinsettias. “As of now, I’m not concerned about our poinsettia crop,” […]

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November 14, 2007

Bell Nursery Buys Ulery Greenhouse

Bell Nursery, based in Burtonsville, Md., announced that it has acquired Ulery Greenhouse Company in Springfield, Ohio. This marks an expansion for Bell Nursery, which currently supplies plants to Home Depot and others in the Mid-Atlantic region. Now Bell will be able to supply plants to retailers in the Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio area. “The Bell business model is well suited to an acquisition of a company like Ulery which is a well established and respected business in Central Ohio,” says Gary Mangum of Bell Nursery. “The Ulery physical plant as well as their strong employee base offers a great platform for business expansion. Quality is extremely important, and the Ulery name and heritage is associated with quality production.” “Today marks a new chapter for us,” said Bryan Ulery, “Bell Nursery is an outstanding company with great leadership, setting the standard for excellence in quality and service in our industry.” Bryan […]

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November 7, 2007

Glass Corner Greenhouses Closes

Last week Glass Corner Greenhouses in Grand Rapids, Mich. announced it has shut down its operations and transferred its young plants business to Neal Mast & Son Greenhouses. In a letter to brokers and sales representatives dated Oct. 31, owners Rick and Joyce Mast wrote:” “It is with great sadness and deep regret we must inform you that Glass Corner Greenhouses will cease operations as of this date. Due to five years of continuous setbacks and extraordinary circumstances, we are unable to meet our debts and financial obligations, therefore forcing us to close our business. After exhausting all financial possibilities and investing everything both personally and professionally to save the company, it is impossible for us to remain in operation as Glass Corner Greenhouses.”  Related to transferring the young plants business to Neal Mast & Son, the couple wrote: “Only the name is different; everything else you have been accustomed […]

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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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