Molbak’s Opts To Close Production Facility, Focus On Retail

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In a statement released July 3, 2012, CEO Jens Molbak announced that Molbak’s would be suspending growing operations and stop production at the company’s 40-acre Sammamish Valley production facility in Redmond, Wash., at the end of 2012. Molbak says the company will continue to focus on its retail business.

“I’ve been looking at this for many years. We made the decision that we want to focus on retail and not growing,” Molbak says. “Our retail store was profitable and it was paying for our growing operation for the past three years.

Molbak’s, which was unique in that it offered customers a wide assortment of plants in small qualities, grew 30 percent of what was sold at retail. The other 70 percent came from a network of growers in the Midwest.  

“From the growing side, I see a series of smaller specialty growers with unique plants. You need a large number of customers to be diversified. You cannot be dependent on one player. Or you need to grow big, big numbers of standard varieties that sell to a lot of people. If you are in between, it is difficult to make a profit.”

The plan is to lease the growing facility to another local grower looking to expand. Molbak expects to find someone within the next six to 12 months.

Karli Petrovic is associate editor of Greenhouse Grower and Today's Garden Center. You can eMail her at kapetrovic@meistermedia.com.
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    One comment on “Molbak’s Opts To Close Production Facility, Focus On Retail

    1. Warren E Empey

      Molbaks has always been one of the best growing/retail operations in the country. Retailers who have their own growing facilities have a distinct advantage over those retailers who are buy and sell operations. They are able to control the quality, variety and price. With 40 acres of production facilities supplying just 30% of what is sold at retail does not make any sense to me. Plants grown and sold at the local level are far superior to plants being trucked great distances. The various wholesale growers supplying Molbaks are making a profit. If they are able to do it, certainly Molbaks with their years of experience should be able to do it even better. I certainly hope Molbaks reconsiders closing their growing operations and revisits why they cannot make growing operations work.For years I was associated with Lexington Gardens and we were one of the premier growing/retail operations on the East coast. It works provided you have the right mix of personnel and plants to be grown. I wish you the best.