Monrovia is asking retailers who buy from the live goods supplier to up their orders with them by 10 percent on a wide variety of reduced-price material to help the company reach a bank-mandated $20 million in bookings, CEO Miles Rosedale told Greenhouse Grower today. The request went out via letter this week, along with a letter of support from 75 independent retailers that are supporting the company.
“We’re not asking them to cancel with other growers to place orders with us,” Rosedale says. “We hope we can all get through this tough period. We hope it will stimulate more sales from consumers by passing on the better pricing next spring.”
Rosedale adds that the business has seen soft sales the past couple of years and produced more material than they’ve been selling for a couple of years now. Add on top of a difficult economy a bank that wants to get out of the green industry, and it invites additional pressures.
“We hope we can find new bank financing,” Rosedale says. “It’s been quite difficult to find a replacement.”
Bank advisors have pushed Monrovia, which has sold exclusively to independent garden centers, to strongly consider selling through the big box channel. And while it’s a last resort, Rosedale says if any material ever does go through the big box channel, it would not have the Monrovia brand on it.
As a show of support, 75 independent garden center owners, managers and buying partners signed a letter pledging their support to Monrovia by increasing their bookings. In the letter, these owners and managers–many of whom are at some of the largest garden centers in the country–are asking other independents to increase their bookings and support Monrovia, as well.
“Monrovia has always been solely dedicated, and the number one support of the independent garden center channels/IGC industry,” the letter states. “If Monrovia does not achieve an increase in sales through raising their spring bookings by $20 million before the end of January, they may be forced to liquidate inventory or the entire company. We, as independent nurseries, cannot afford this to happen.”
Rosedale says it is “very humbling,” to see the letter from those retailers, and says the response has been “quite remarkable.” “We’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response,” he adds. “Some people are concerned for our survival, but most are willing to pitch in to try to help us out.”
To encourage customers to add to spring bookings, Monrovia is offering between 30 and 50 percent off on an extensive list of plants that aren’t selling. Any plants on this list that have already been booked by retailers will reduce to the special price.