Monrovia Falls Short Of $20 Million Target

Monrovia failed to reach a target of $20 million in incremental sales by the end of January. As a result, the company has accepted an order to deliver unbranded Monrovia plants to Home Depots in the western United States this spring.

“No, we did not meet our goal. If we had, we would not have sold plants to Home Depot,” says Bob Smiland, chief sales and marketing officer for Monrovia.”

Including the Home Depot order, the company achieved $12 million in additional sales, Smiland says. “We still have a lot of plants for sale.”

Following the economic downturn and a significant three-year slump in sales, Monrovia was required by its banks to meet certain financial targets for this spring. The company’s leadership had asked its independent retail customers to place an additional $20 million in orders by the end of January or face the prospect of having to move inventory in other ways, namely selling its product through box store channels.

“For those independents who increased their orders, we are extraordinarily grateful,” Smiland says. “Some of them placed significant orders.

“We grew these plants in 2006, 2007 and 2008. 2011 was scheduled to be the biggest year in our company’s history. We were very excited about the prospects. We had no idea what would happen starting in ’08.”

The Home Depot order is the only one Monrovia has from box stores to this point, and that order will be spread across the western half of the country, Smiland says. For the consumer, there will be no identification to let them know they are buying Monrovia material at Home Depot.

“These plants will be delivered in black pots with a plain, generic label. There will be no mention of Monrovia anywhere, and they will not be delivered in Monrovia-branded trucks,” he says.

Smiland also points out that the material will not be sold through pay by scan, and the pricing will be the same as that offered to Monrovia’s independent customers placing large orders.

“The Monrovia brand absolutely remains an independent exclusive. The benefit the box stores will be able to sell isn’t the brand. They will be able to promote this material as a premium quality plant,” he says. “We are very pleased to have this order from Home Depot.”

As for whether Monrovia will continue to offer material to box stores past this spring, Smiland said the future is still uncertain.

“We don’t know at this point. We already have plants grown for 2012 and 2013, and we have to meet our financial targets. We can’t keep throwing away plants. It’s all speculation at this point, but some signs point to a shortage of plants next year. And we are optimistic about this spring, particularly compared to the last two years.”

The goal, he says, it to get through this spring, meet the company’s financial requirements and regroup to determine future directions.

“This was not our first choice of channels, and it certainly is not the way we have done things historically,” Smiland says. “We have financial targets to meet our bank covenants and this will help. We’re very grateful for the order.”

Leave a Reply

34 comments on “Monrovia Falls Short Of $20 Million Target

  1. not a big surprise – didnt we all think that this would be the case when they hired Mike Trebing who cut his teeth on box stores with Hines

  2. Monrovia has a right like everyone else to do what they needed to do to remain in business. They went above and beyond what any other company would do by letting us all know what was going on with them financially and how everyone can help. They are continuing to protect their IGC interests by offering non-branded product without the box store discounted rates. Find another company that is that concerned about their credibility and reputation. There isn’t one. They deserve to stay in business and they deserve to have the industry support to do so..anything less is childish petty jealousy, The more we all work together the stronger our industry will be.

  3. I need my job. I appreciate what Monrovia is doing because it keeps me employed. That’s part of the bigger picture that people don’t think about. It would be easy to NOT sell to “the box stores” because of history, relationships, etc., but it could also mean 100’s, if not 1000’s of people becoming unemployed. They are still trying to protect the IGC’s, but also doing what they can to stay in business. Wouldn’t you do the same for your own company or would you liquidate it if faced with this difficult decision? Maybe if people thought about it more they would have a bit more understanding.

  4. I wish them the best they did what they had to do but don’t think for one min that the retail public will not find out oneway or the other where depot’s plants came from which sucks for the independent garden centers. I work for both a wholesale grower & an independent garen center

  5. It’s amazing that a company with virtually no real competition for the last few years still ended up in this mess. They asked the IGC’s for a bailout, pure and simple. Fell short and now on to the boxes. Arrogance got them here and it will probably end up doing them in.

  6. “For the consumer, there will be no identification to let them know they are buying Monrovia material at Home Depot.

    “These plants will be delivered in black pots with a plain, generic label. There will be no mention of Monrovia anywhere”

    How can their tags not list Monrovia? Truth in advertising laws require who grew them and where they were grown to be printed on the tag, as well as container size, etc.

  7. Wow! like we are so stupid not to see the wrighting on the wall? Nice try in sugar coating this. Again the big box stores win. We have bought from Monrovia for years. Don’t tell me this will not hurt the small IGC’s. Iv’e been in business for thirty years. We have seen things like this many times. When a company sells to the box stores labled or not it hurts the small guy. We are only buying products from companies that DO NOT SELL TO BOX STORES. We have even gone as far as to stop buying from distributors like commerce corp. They sell to box stores under another name.

  8. Having worked as a vendor to Depot for over 15 years I might suggest that after a couple of years of doing business with them, Monrovia had better watch out. Depot will grow and grow with them to the extent that they [Depot] will begin to monopolize their crops…then begin to tell them how much they [Depot] will pay. NEVER let Depot be responsible for more that 40% of your business. Under no circumstances let your independents suffer for this.

  9. I totally understand what it takes to put a key in the door and I hope Monrovia realizes its the independents who got them where they are today. Although Monrovia has always had a snobbish attitude, they do produce quality material. I think it was in poor taste that Monrovia ask IGC to increase there orders. Although i’m a retailer, how would it look if I put an ad in the newspaper asking the public to buy more from me? Sort of tacky, don’t you think. One thing I don’t think Monrovia realizes is that the box stores have put many vendors in financial stress or out of business. If your an independent, I need not mention names because you know who they are.
    Very Disappointed Customer.

  10. It’s always nice to have your cake and eat it too.
    People are correct when they say Monrovia can sell to who they want to, HOWEVER, when your “claim to fame” is that you ONLY sell to IGC’s and then turn around and sell to the box stores your credibility and your business go down the you know what…. I have a feeling a lot of the IGC’s that prebooked their orders may turn around and cancel them. If Monrovia couldn’t cut the mustard before Home Depot they definately won’t afterwards. Just wait to read chapter 2 – I mean 7…. :)

  11. First I must say if you are going to comment you should at least be up front enough to pur your name on your comment. That said Montrovia did what it had to do to survive. Being strictly wholesale ourselves and relying on the IGC’s like Montrovia we know how they feel. Yes, the boxes have put stress and other’s out of business but maybe some of them needed to be out of business. Working with IGC’s day in and day out and listening to them complain about the boxes but then do NOTHING to win back the customers they lost to the boxes. It isn’t always about price; I think most of the times it’s about convenience. Most homeowners do not anything about plants they see something pretty and buy it. If the IGC’s are not open when people are shopping, evenings when people get out of work, or do not keep their displays nice they are no better or no worse that the stuff that the boxes sell. People will go to the boxes because they are open when they shop and usually they can find something to buy. Why go to “joe” down the street when he closes at 5 when most people are getting out of work when he can go to the box store buy his nails/hammer what ever and get his plants at the same time after dinner (7 or 8. The IGC’s are going to go by the way of the Dinosaur if they don’t wake up and do something to draw customers in, YES Buy from me; what do you think you do when you put an add in the paper or on the radio, you are asking for the public to buy from you instead of somebody else, Montrovia just did it personally to their customers that they already had. This industry needs to wake up! it isn’t the 90’s any more you have to create a want to get people to buy your material, there is just way too many other things for people to do in this day and age with their expendable income.

  12. Can we all stop bashing Home Depot for a while … there are a lot of wonderful, hard working people working there and they need their jobs just as much as the next person does. Give it some thought.

  13. What deeply disturbs me, more than any of Monrovia’s current actions, is that they had debt to begin with. Why on earth would a 100+ year old company have any debt? I’m not naive: I understand the concept of a business line of credit and how important it is for a business to have access to cash so that it can meet it’s current financial obligations. However, the last few years have seen a lot of very intelligent people make incredibly foolish choices. Welcome to 2011… If you don’t understand how to manage debt, I don’t think you ought to be in business.
    Perhaps I’m overly cautious, but I don’t ever want my business to take on so much debt that a bank could jeopardize my existence. That’s just dumb.
    Whether you are an IGC, a wholesale grower, a retail grower, or a big box buyer, if you are reading this, I hope you learn from Monrovia’s mistake. Namely, they forgot the old proverb that “The borrower is servant to the lender”. Debt kills. I sincerely hope that Monrovia survives, but more importantly, I hope that our wonderful, diverse, beautiful industry learns from the numerous mistakes of the 2007 – 2010 era, and that we enter a new paradigm of responsible financial management that ensures our future existence.
    It would be tragic if a few poor decisions about debt, cash flow, and risk management destroyed our livelihoods. Let’s be intelligent and manage our businesses wisely, taking opportunities as they arise while protecting ourselves from foolish people.

  14. Not unlike what Proven Winners did to the IGC a few years ago. The IGC builds the brand but can’t support the growth of the brand

  15. absolutely correct Paul, dept might be incurred when a company is in it’s infancy years, but give me a break, after 100 years? Mismanagement comes to mind. And then come calling for a bailout? sounds like the auto industry all over again. As far as the IGC vs Box , we too have stayed away from the box stores and have been loyal to the independents, but it needs to be a two-way street. Many independents over the years have formed buying groups and thrown loyalties out the window as well. They purchase in mass the bread and butter items and leave you the left overs. This has been very frustrating to some growers and eventually they need to look at alternative markets as well. All being said though, walk a day in their shoes and the soul of their action becomes evident.

  16. Yesterday I was looking at Monrovia’s webe site and saw where a customer could find a retailer for Monrovia’s site. Guess what? My competitors were on there but we weren’t. I called Monrovia and was told that we didn’t sell enough of their product to be recognized. We purchased $8000 worth of product from them in the spring or 2010.
    I suggested to this gentleman that this is not good for Monrovia or me. Are they going to recognize the Home Depot in my same town. Not a good way to do business. I’m thinking about buying less from them this year.

  17. not a big surprise – didnt we all think that this would be the case when they hired Mike Trebing who cut his teeth on box stores with Hines

  18. Monrovia has a right like everyone else to do what they needed to do to remain in business. They went above and beyond what any other company would do by letting us all know what was going on with them financially and how everyone can help. They are continuing to protect their IGC interests by offering non-branded product without the box store discounted rates. Find another company that is that concerned about their credibility and reputation. There isn’t one. They deserve to stay in business and they deserve to have the industry support to do so..anything less is childish petty jealousy, The more we all work together the stronger our industry will be.

  19. I need my job. I appreciate what Monrovia is doing because it keeps me employed. That’s part of the bigger picture that people don’t think about. It would be easy to NOT sell to “the box stores” because of history, relationships, etc., but it could also mean 100’s, if not 1000’s of people becoming unemployed. They are still trying to protect the IGC’s, but also doing what they can to stay in business. Wouldn’t you do the same for your own company or would you liquidate it if faced with this difficult decision? Maybe if people thought about it more they would have a bit more understanding.

  20. I wish them the best they did what they had to do but don’t think for one min that the retail public will not find out oneway or the other where depot’s plants came from which sucks for the independent garden centers. I work for both a wholesale grower & an independent garen center

  21. It’s amazing that a company with virtually no real competition for the last few years still ended up in this mess. They asked the IGC’s for a bailout, pure and simple. Fell short and now on to the boxes. Arrogance got them here and it will probably end up doing them in.

  22. “For the consumer, there will be no identification to let them know they are buying Monrovia material at Home Depot.

    “These plants will be delivered in black pots with a plain, generic label. There will be no mention of Monrovia anywhere”

    How can their tags not list Monrovia? Truth in advertising laws require who grew them and where they were grown to be printed on the tag, as well as container size, etc.

  23. Wow! like we are so stupid not to see the wrighting on the wall? Nice try in sugar coating this. Again the big box stores win. We have bought from Monrovia for years. Don’t tell me this will not hurt the small IGC’s. Iv’e been in business for thirty years. We have seen things like this many times. When a company sells to the box stores labled or not it hurts the small guy. We are only buying products from companies that DO NOT SELL TO BOX STORES. We have even gone as far as to stop buying from distributors like commerce corp. They sell to box stores under another name.

  24. Having worked as a vendor to Depot for over 15 years I might suggest that after a couple of years of doing business with them, Monrovia had better watch out. Depot will grow and grow with them to the extent that they [Depot] will begin to monopolize their crops…then begin to tell them how much they [Depot] will pay. NEVER let Depot be responsible for more that 40% of your business. Under no circumstances let your independents suffer for this.

  25. I totally understand what it takes to put a key in the door and I hope Monrovia realizes its the independents who got them where they are today. Although Monrovia has always had a snobbish attitude, they do produce quality material. I think it was in poor taste that Monrovia ask IGC to increase there orders. Although i’m a retailer, how would it look if I put an ad in the newspaper asking the public to buy more from me? Sort of tacky, don’t you think. One thing I don’t think Monrovia realizes is that the box stores have put many vendors in financial stress or out of business. If your an independent, I need not mention names because you know who they are.
    Very Disappointed Customer.

  26. It’s always nice to have your cake and eat it too.
    People are correct when they say Monrovia can sell to who they want to, HOWEVER, when your “claim to fame” is that you ONLY sell to IGC’s and then turn around and sell to the box stores your credibility and your business go down the you know what…. I have a feeling a lot of the IGC’s that prebooked their orders may turn around and cancel them. If Monrovia couldn’t cut the mustard before Home Depot they definately won’t afterwards. Just wait to read chapter 2 – I mean 7…. :)

  27. First I must say if you are going to comment you should at least be up front enough to pur your name on your comment. That said Montrovia did what it had to do to survive. Being strictly wholesale ourselves and relying on the IGC’s like Montrovia we know how they feel. Yes, the boxes have put stress and other’s out of business but maybe some of them needed to be out of business. Working with IGC’s day in and day out and listening to them complain about the boxes but then do NOTHING to win back the customers they lost to the boxes. It isn’t always about price; I think most of the times it’s about convenience. Most homeowners do not anything about plants they see something pretty and buy it. If the IGC’s are not open when people are shopping, evenings when people get out of work, or do not keep their displays nice they are no better or no worse that the stuff that the boxes sell. People will go to the boxes because they are open when they shop and usually they can find something to buy. Why go to “joe” down the street when he closes at 5 when most people are getting out of work when he can go to the box store buy his nails/hammer what ever and get his plants at the same time after dinner (7 or 8. The IGC’s are going to go by the way of the Dinosaur if they don’t wake up and do something to draw customers in, YES Buy from me; what do you think you do when you put an add in the paper or on the radio, you are asking for the public to buy from you instead of somebody else, Montrovia just did it personally to their customers that they already had. This industry needs to wake up! it isn’t the 90’s any more you have to create a want to get people to buy your material, there is just way too many other things for people to do in this day and age with their expendable income.

  28. Can we all stop bashing Home Depot for a while … there are a lot of wonderful, hard working people working there and they need their jobs just as much as the next person does. Give it some thought.

  29. What deeply disturbs me, more than any of Monrovia’s current actions, is that they had debt to begin with. Why on earth would a 100+ year old company have any debt? I’m not naive: I understand the concept of a business line of credit and how important it is for a business to have access to cash so that it can meet it’s current financial obligations. However, the last few years have seen a lot of very intelligent people make incredibly foolish choices. Welcome to 2011… If you don’t understand how to manage debt, I don’t think you ought to be in business.
    Perhaps I’m overly cautious, but I don’t ever want my business to take on so much debt that a bank could jeopardize my existence. That’s just dumb.
    Whether you are an IGC, a wholesale grower, a retail grower, or a big box buyer, if you are reading this, I hope you learn from Monrovia’s mistake. Namely, they forgot the old proverb that “The borrower is servant to the lender”. Debt kills. I sincerely hope that Monrovia survives, but more importantly, I hope that our wonderful, diverse, beautiful industry learns from the numerous mistakes of the 2007 – 2010 era, and that we enter a new paradigm of responsible financial management that ensures our future existence.
    It would be tragic if a few poor decisions about debt, cash flow, and risk management destroyed our livelihoods. Let’s be intelligent and manage our businesses wisely, taking opportunities as they arise while protecting ourselves from foolish people.

  30. Not unlike what Proven Winners did to the IGC a few years ago. The IGC builds the brand but can’t support the growth of the brand

  31. absolutely correct Paul, dept might be incurred when a company is in it’s infancy years, but give me a break, after 100 years? Mismanagement comes to mind. And then come calling for a bailout? sounds like the auto industry all over again. As far as the IGC vs Box , we too have stayed away from the box stores and have been loyal to the independents, but it needs to be a two-way street. Many independents over the years have formed buying groups and thrown loyalties out the window as well. They purchase in mass the bread and butter items and leave you the left overs. This has been very frustrating to some growers and eventually they need to look at alternative markets as well. All being said though, walk a day in their shoes and the soul of their action becomes evident.

  32. Yesterday I was looking at Monrovia’s webe site and saw where a customer could find a retailer for Monrovia’s site. Guess what? My competitors were on there but we weren’t. I called Monrovia and was told that we didn’t sell enough of their product to be recognized. We purchased $8000 worth of product from them in the spring or 2010.
    I suggested to this gentleman that this is not good for Monrovia or me. Are they going to recognize the Home Depot in my same town. Not a good way to do business. I’m thinking about buying less from them this year.

More From Marketing...

March 31, 2015

Manufacturers Are Taking Biologicals To The Next Level

Through acquisitions and new products, many crop protection companies are making firm commitments to the future of the biocontrols industry.

Read More
Aquaponics At Brogue Hydroponics

March 30, 2015

10 Things You Need To Know About Aquaponics

Are you curious about expanding into aquaponics? From pest control to equipment, Bob and Jesse Kilgore of Brogue Hydroponics offer 10 factors you need to consider.

Read More
Aquaponics At Brogue Hydroponics

March 30, 2015

Aquaponics Is Making A Splash At Brogue Hydroponics

The owners of Brogue Hydroponics explain why they expanded into aquaponics, and how the shift has helped them uncover a new market opportunity.

Read More
Latest Stories
Rose rosette on Knockout rose, April 2012. Photo credit: Alan Windham, University of Tennessee

March 25, 2015

$58 Million In APHIS Farm Bill Funding Will Support Hor…

Nearly $58 million as been allocated by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to support the industry's Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program, under Farm Bill Section 10007. The program will support mitigation efforts for specialty crops, including providing research and other funding to address plant pest and disease priorities for the specialty crop industry, including floriculture and nursery crops.

Read More
National Floriculture Forum 2015 029

March 18, 2015

2015 National Floriculture Forum Focuses On Marketing I…

The 2015 National Floriculture Forum, held March 6 to 7 in Minneapolis, Minn., zeroed in on the topic of marketing in horticulture and included visits to Gertens Greenhouses and Garden Center, Bailey Nurseries, Bachman’s Floral, Home and Garden and Tangletown Gardens. The annual meeting allows greenhouse and floriculture faculty, graduate students and industry partners to meet and share updates on current research, issues and initiatives.

Read More

February 18, 2015

Range Of Nursery Inspections To Protect Patented Plants…

Plant patents are under protection, and breeders are fighting for their rights to keep growers from illegally propagating protected varieties. It's something you don't want to take a chance on, because the risk is far higher than the reward. More than 300 inspections were carried out last year from New York to British Columbia and from Ontario to Florida to protect plant patents, Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) and branded programs.

Read More

February 4, 2015

TPIE 2015: An Electrified Industry Vibe Boosts Cool New…

The general feeling at the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association's 2015 Tropical Industry Exhibition (TPIE) was upbeat and positive. Attendees were inspired by exciting new products and varieties, as well as creative new displays and innovative ideas and left energized for the season ahead.

Read More
Costa Farms Website

January 21, 2015

Costa Farms’ Launches New Interactive Website

Costa Farms is making efforts to educate consumers while pushing horticultural digital marketing forward with the re-design of its website. The new website features a fresh design and improved navigation, as well as a plant finder that gives gardeners easy access to plant information.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Growers Are Successfully Marketing The Benefits Of Pla…

Growers who are already marketing plant benefits and gardening as a lifestyle say they think this could be the best angle for the floriculture industry to promote our products.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Plants Love You Campaign Raises Plant Benefits To Foref…

Plants make us feel good. It’s a no-brainer, backed by numerous studies, but there’s more to the story. And it’s one the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) hopes its Plants Love You campaign will tell in such a way that it will inspire people to make plants a part of their life, and on a bigger scale. COHA is an alliance between the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA), the Fédération Interdisciplinaire De L’Horticulture Ornementqale Du Québec (FIHOQ) and Flowers Canada Growers (FCG). Inspiration for The Plants Love You campaign came from COHA’s research, which revealed that 96 percent of consumers surveyed have a favorable attitude toward plants. When COHA delved deeper into the numbers, one thing stood out loud and clear. “It quickly became apparent that while consumers like plants because they are pretty and make them feel good, few understood the environmental and health benefits plants offer.” says Frank […]

Read More

December 9, 2014

New Website For PanAmerican Seed

PanAmerican Seed's new website is mobile-friendly and has a fresh look and enhanced navigation.

Read More
What’s a pumpulent? It’s a pumpkin planted with succulents, and it’s also one of the ways Altum’s is catching customers’ attention with new products and modern marketing.

December 1, 2014

9 Digital Marketing Resolutions For 2015

Whatever your experience with digital marketing, here’s some advice for keeping your business progressing into the new year.

Read More

November 25, 2014

Conley’s Launches New Website

Conley’s Manufacturing and Sales recently launched its newly designed website, which was redesigned to create a user-friendly digital environment for customers to explore Conley's products.

Read More

November 17, 2014

Canada’s Plants Love You Campaign Educates Consum…

In a cooperative effort to promote the benefits of plants to consumers, the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) recently launched its Plants Love You campaign to make consumers more aware of the health, environmental and economic benefits of plants.

Read More
Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum™ Petunia from Proven Winners

November 11, 2014

Plantbid Offers New Tool For Growers, Plant Buyers

Plantbid is touted as a revolutionary new tool that allows plant buyers to purchase their whole plant list at one time, from growers who provide their complete availability online. According to the company, this new offering could change the way growers and landscapers do business.

Read More
Dahlia Dahlinova Temptation Lavender from Dummen Fides Oro

November 10, 2014

Bas Pellenaars Takes On New Role As Brand Manager For D…

Dümmen group announces the transition of Bas Pellenaars from area manager to brand manager.

Read More

October 28, 2014

Zombie Adventures Are Back: GGS Releases Premiere Of Ne…

What's good for plants, but bad for zombies? GGS structures. The company released a new promotional video to get growers in the spirit of Halloween. GGS Structures ran a series of zombie movies last year, and this year, something new was released October 24.

Read More
Suzanne McKee

October 27, 2014

Use Your Data To Make Smarter Marketing Decisions

Learn which marketing metrics are important to your business, measure successes and learn where changes are needed.

Read More
Sara Tambascio

October 2, 2014

How To Measure The Success Of Your Digital Marketing

Take a look at these metrics in your digital marketing to see if you’re connecting with your audience or just adding to the clutter.

Read More

September 26, 2014

How To Get The Digital Generation Into The Garden: Gard…

Capture millennials’ gardening interests with these marketing tips.

Read More
The Joseph Shinoda Memorial Scholarship Foundation

September 9, 2014

Shinoda Foundation Contributes Nearly $15,000 In Schola…

Based in California, the Joseph Shinoda Memorial Foundation's mission is to encourage educational opportunities for young people interested in entering the industry. Since 1965, the foundation has awarded $790,000 to more than 660 undergraduate floriculture students.

Read More