Monrovia Faces Bank Pressure To Book $20M By Jan. 31

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.

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22 comments on “Monrovia Faces Bank Pressure To Book $20M By Jan. 31

  1. We, after 25 years in business, have had bank troubles too so I hope only the best for Monrovia and in fact for all of us in the green industry. I for one will, at least, look at my spring 2011 Monrovia order to see what we can do

  2. I find this news about Monrovia not a suprise. They have a national brand that the consumer barely knows, they are a national shipper when our industry is moving in a completely different direction to more local/regional buying and finally they have grown far too many of the same green evergreens that people just don’t want anymore. I wish them the best but it is time to either dramatically scale back their numbers or dance with the big boxes

  3. The industry as a whole is past unhealthy right now based on what we hear from several business owners. There are at least three of very large growers on the brink and countless smaller nurseries and IGC’s. Cost pressure with still climbing expenses and changing banking relationships and requirements are responsible for the crunch. This comment is firsthand from an industry banker that is looking at serious portfolio issues and knows that liquidation is looming for several along the lines of Carolina farms. If customers at every level don’t understand the need to pay more there will be fewer choices soon.

  4. Am I the only one who sees a thinly veiled threat in the letter Monrovia sent to its customers? Monrovia is far from the only nursery facing these problems and anyone who feels Monrovia will not be forced to do business with their similarly sized box-store brethren (regardless of how much you increase your order) are sadly mistaken. The better bet is to support your local, modestly sized, independent grower who, given proper support, will be able to meet the needs of your independent garden center for years to come far better than a large corporate nursery that has little choice but to deal with large corporate retailers.

  5. I don’t see this as a thinly veiled threat. It’s an admission of the reality faced by many growers who have traditionally been supportive of independents. Undoubtedly, it would be a difficult admission to make to so many, so publically. Just like our customers, we have the ability to spend our dollars wherever we choose. Absolutely, support local suppliers where possible. Our industry was built on local growers. Monrovia may be a national supplier, but they are no less important to our industry than the local grower. Monrovia has contributed to our industry on a local and national level, supporting independent projects, education, workshops and more. Few can supply the variety available through them. Fewer have the ability to put new products into production on a level that makes them available to so many. This helps us provide exciting new products and keeps us competitive with the exclusives being offered to the big boxes down the street. For many retailers, the possbility of losing the products and support of this supplier are significant. The ripple effects should not be underestimated.

  6. Whether a thinly veiled threat or not, the fact of the matter is that Monrovia is looking to have their cake and eat it too when it comes to dealing with boxes. When I hear that they expect IGC’S to come to their rescue to the tune of 20 million in such a short time, I say they are setting up impossible standards to meet so they can say “We tried, we couldn’t get the support, we didn’t want to do it, but we were forced to go to the boxes to survive” and expect then the IGC’s not to get upset. In reality, this is all likely a result of some wildly poor inventory decisions, a failed national selling strategy, and a huge corporate entity that has gotten too huge to properly stay in touch with the needs of its customer base.

  7. In the news around here lately we hear more and more about “bullying” and its affect on school children. Hmmmmmmm… Monrovia is not trying to “bully” anyone are they ? “Buy more from us or we’ll sell to the chains”. Are they serious when they say that customers should not cancel product with other growers when they increase their Monrovia order? Let’s be perfectly honest, of course that’s what will end up happening!
    Another thought pops into mind…. “too big to fail” (AIG, GM now Monrovia) and the bail out will come on the backs of Garden Centers, and other growers who will surely be affected.
    During this difficult financial time at Monrovia, has Miles Rosedale offered to take a cut in pay to help the profitability of his company ? Have the top 25 salaried employees at Monrovia offered to do the same?
    The way in which Monrovia has chosen to save itself is not how America was made, and it certainly will not improve the nursery business.

  8. Wait a minute – they’re in trouble because they’ve over-produced? And now they’re asking their customers to bail them out…???? That’s piss-poor management in my opinion. It’s not like business has been good and suddenly has dropped off. It’s been tough for nearly 3 years now,leaving plenty of time for a well-managed company to reduce it’s production to align supply with demand. I’ve has to do it with my nursery. All this does it hurt other growers who have probably already been reducing production, and who haven’t had access to big lines of credit like Monrovia (which allowed them to overproduce in the first place). My advice would be, don’t bail out Monrovia, it will only hurt more small growers, and in the end if those small growers go away you’ll be forced to deal with a company that has gotten way too big and arrogant. I’m sick of the small and mid-size guys paying the price for large companies what kept getting credit while the rest of us have been forced to survive on our wits.

  9. IF Monrovia actually offered anything EXTRAORDINARY, I might understand its pricing.

    However, Monrovia has played hardball against so many smaller I.G.C.’s by demanding that either the IGC buy ALL of their mix from Monrovia or Monrovia would not sell them anything.

    Nonetheless, I do give credit where credit is due. Monrovia did step in and help out several IGC in the Middle Tennessee area that were devastated by the MAY Monsoon floods.

  10. If Monrovia,Green leaf and all the other huge growers wouldn’t have priced there plants outta of the market over the last 10 yrs they wouldn’t need help. For gods sake you’ll sell 3gal plants on a $10 adverge when i bye them all over the southeast from $3.50-7.50…They think about themselves more than there customers. Oh and now they give a deal,,,where were the deals when we needed help paying our bills,,i say screw them..

  11. We, after 25 years in business, have had bank troubles too so I hope only the best for Monrovia and in fact for all of us in the green industry. I for one will, at least, look at my spring 2011 Monrovia order to see what we can do

  12. I find this news about Monrovia not a suprise. They have a national brand that the consumer barely knows, they are a national shipper when our industry is moving in a completely different direction to more local/regional buying and finally they have grown far too many of the same green evergreens that people just don’t want anymore. I wish them the best but it is time to either dramatically scale back their numbers or dance with the big boxes

  13. The industry as a whole is past unhealthy right now based on what we hear from several business owners. There are at least three of very large growers on the brink and countless smaller nurseries and IGC’s. Cost pressure with still climbing expenses and changing banking relationships and requirements are responsible for the crunch. This comment is firsthand from an industry banker that is looking at serious portfolio issues and knows that liquidation is looming for several along the lines of Carolina farms. If customers at every level don’t understand the need to pay more there will be fewer choices soon.

  14. Am I the only one who sees a thinly veiled threat in the letter Monrovia sent to its customers? Monrovia is far from the only nursery facing these problems and anyone who feels Monrovia will not be forced to do business with their similarly sized box-store brethren (regardless of how much you increase your order) are sadly mistaken. The better bet is to support your local, modestly sized, independent grower who, given proper support, will be able to meet the needs of your independent garden center for years to come far better than a large corporate nursery that has little choice but to deal with large corporate retailers.

  15. I don’t see this as a thinly veiled threat. It’s an admission of the reality faced by many growers who have traditionally been supportive of independents. Undoubtedly, it would be a difficult admission to make to so many, so publically. Just like our customers, we have the ability to spend our dollars wherever we choose. Absolutely, support local suppliers where possible. Our industry was built on local growers. Monrovia may be a national supplier, but they are no less important to our industry than the local grower. Monrovia has contributed to our industry on a local and national level, supporting independent projects, education, workshops and more. Few can supply the variety available through them. Fewer have the ability to put new products into production on a level that makes them available to so many. This helps us provide exciting new products and keeps us competitive with the exclusives being offered to the big boxes down the street. For many retailers, the possbility of losing the products and support of this supplier are significant. The ripple effects should not be underestimated.

  16. Whether a thinly veiled threat or not, the fact of the matter is that Monrovia is looking to have their cake and eat it too when it comes to dealing with boxes. When I hear that they expect IGC’S to come to their rescue to the tune of 20 million in such a short time, I say they are setting up impossible standards to meet so they can say “We tried, we couldn’t get the support, we didn’t want to do it, but we were forced to go to the boxes to survive” and expect then the IGC’s not to get upset. In reality, this is all likely a result of some wildly poor inventory decisions, a failed national selling strategy, and a huge corporate entity that has gotten too huge to properly stay in touch with the needs of its customer base.

  17. In the news around here lately we hear more and more about “bullying” and its affect on school children. Hmmmmmmm… Monrovia is not trying to “bully” anyone are they ? “Buy more from us or we’ll sell to the chains”. Are they serious when they say that customers should not cancel product with other growers when they increase their Monrovia order? Let’s be perfectly honest, of course that’s what will end up happening!
    Another thought pops into mind…. “too big to fail” (AIG, GM now Monrovia) and the bail out will come on the backs of Garden Centers, and other growers who will surely be affected.
    During this difficult financial time at Monrovia, has Miles Rosedale offered to take a cut in pay to help the profitability of his company ? Have the top 25 salaried employees at Monrovia offered to do the same?
    The way in which Monrovia has chosen to save itself is not how America was made, and it certainly will not improve the nursery business.

  18. Wait a minute – they’re in trouble because they’ve over-produced? And now they’re asking their customers to bail them out…???? That’s piss-poor management in my opinion. It’s not like business has been good and suddenly has dropped off. It’s been tough for nearly 3 years now,leaving plenty of time for a well-managed company to reduce it’s production to align supply with demand. I’ve has to do it with my nursery. All this does it hurt other growers who have probably already been reducing production, and who haven’t had access to big lines of credit like Monrovia (which allowed them to overproduce in the first place). My advice would be, don’t bail out Monrovia, it will only hurt more small growers, and in the end if those small growers go away you’ll be forced to deal with a company that has gotten way too big and arrogant. I’m sick of the small and mid-size guys paying the price for large companies what kept getting credit while the rest of us have been forced to survive on our wits.

  19. IF Monrovia actually offered anything EXTRAORDINARY, I might understand its pricing.

    However, Monrovia has played hardball against so many smaller I.G.C.’s by demanding that either the IGC buy ALL of their mix from Monrovia or Monrovia would not sell them anything.

    Nonetheless, I do give credit where credit is due. Monrovia did step in and help out several IGC in the Middle Tennessee area that were devastated by the MAY Monsoon floods.

  20. If Monrovia,Green leaf and all the other huge growers wouldn’t have priced there plants outta of the market over the last 10 yrs they wouldn’t need help. For gods sake you’ll sell 3gal plants on a $10 adverge when i bye them all over the southeast from $3.50-7.50…They think about themselves more than there customers. Oh and now they give a deal,,,where were the deals when we needed help paying our bills,,i say screw them..

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