Q&A: Thigpen On Rebuilding Hines

Hines Nurseries announced last week it’s leasing its locations in Arizona and Texas to Color Spot Nurseries. Hines’ Arizona location includes 40 acres of nursery and 400,000 square feet of greenhouse space. Its Texas location includes 420 acres of nursery and 800,000 square feet of greenhouse space.

CEO Steve Thigpen shares a few thoughts over the weekend on the deal Hines Nurseries made with Color Spot to sell assets and lease those Arizona and Texas facilities.

GG: How long had Color Spot been in discussions with Hines and what factors came together to make a transaction possible?

ST: Color Spot had been interested in leasing these facilities for several months but chose not to participate in the court-ordered asset sale. Once we emerged out of bankruptcy, they expressed interest to attempt to move forward with the asset purchase and leases to support their expansion.

GG: These have been a trying few years for Hines. What has been the most challenging part of the journey for you and your colleagues, Steve? Do you anticipate this transaction strengthening Hines’ focus to the point that it once and for all puts to bed any further discussion of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, auctions, etc.?

ST: The dramatic drop in demand for basic green foundation shrubs has been enormously challenging. Also, the limited number of banks willing to support the industry right now had imposed limitations on our ability to execute a turnaround.

After we emerged from bankruptcy, we are a much stronger company and plan to pursue a disciplined approach to rebuild the company that will keep us financially healthy and put these trying times behind us.

GG: Do you see the existing Hines locations in California and Oregon as growth opportunities now? Potentially big growth opportunities for Hines?

ST: We have significant additional acreage at each of our facilities to pursue a long-term growth plan for Hines. However, we will be cautious to align our production plans closely with the demands of our customers. Our goal is to be a financially successful, long-term supplier, not the biggest or fastest growing company.

GG: How has Hines fared so far this spring?

ST: We are off to a good start in California and the Southwest region and looking forward to the more northerly markets opening up with the somewhat delayed spring. 

GG: What’s next for Hines?

ST: Getting back to basics, taking care of customers, producing quality products and rebuilding the company.

Read more about the transaction in Greenhouse Grower’s Q&A with Color Spot President Jerry Halamuda. Learn more about Hines and Color Spot online at www.hineshort.com and www.colorspot.com, respectively.

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