Making Sense Of Monrovia’s Request

Monrovia’s goal of reaching a bank-mandated $20 million in bookings is drawing a mixed reaction from growers, retailers and others in the industry. Some people sympathize with Monrovia and its dilemma while others are more skeptical of its request, concluding that the company will eventually serve the box stores in some form.

Almost everyone has an opinion online, whether on GreenhouseGrower.com, our Fresh Air Forum or our sister magazine’s website, TodaysGardenCenter.com. Here’s what a few readers have to say:

Monrovia Supporters Speak

“Monrovia is a great company. We have to support people like this to keep our industry strong.”–Andy Bittner, Greenwell Plant Farm

“I have always been pleased with the product and service Monrovia provides. Yes, they grow a few things as a convenience that could be bought cheaper elsewhere, but their quality has always exceeded my expectations. And they grow many unique varieties that help set the independents apart from the box. I looked over my spring booking with them, and the new pricing, and will certainly be increasing some items and adding others. Some awesome opportunities exist there.”–Erik Friedli, Flamingo Road Nursery

“I have done a lot of business with Monrovia over the years and have been pleased with the quality and always had exceptional service. The problem is logistics. In this day and age of just-in-time inventory practices, it is tough to count on a supplier from the West Coast or South to resupply a garden center in the northern plains. I wish Monrovia the best and hope to be able to buy from them again some day.”–Jim Schroer, Plant Place Inc.

“We, after 25 years in business, have had bank troubles, too. 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.” – Anonymous

Box Stores Are Next

While some growers and retailers are supportive of Monrovia in its effort to remain with independent garden centers, others believe it’s inevitable Monrovia will eventually serve the box stores. Here’s what a few others have to say about Monrovia’s future:

“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) is 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.” – Anonymous

“The fact of the matter is Monrovia is looking to have their cake and eat it too when it comes to dealing with boxes. When I hear that they expect IGCs 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 IGCs 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.” – Anonymous

“I find this news about Monrovia not a surprise. 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.”–Anonymous

Want More?

For more information on Monrovia and how its bank is pressuring it to secure $20 million in additional sales by Jan. 31, read our story from earlier this month. Additional reader comments are at the bottom of that page. Reader comments can also be read online at Fresh Air Forum.

Leave a Reply

4 comments on “Making Sense Of Monrovia’s Request

  1. Most every wholesale nursery is feeling the pressure from banks and lenders right now. A lot of us are in the same boat. When I saw the letter from Monrovia I was disappointed that it had come to that and feel sorry for the smaller wholesale nurseries that just had a chunk of their pie for spring significantly reduced by some IGCs in order to help Monrovia. I too feel that they will be selling to the box stores come spring and hope it doesn’t come back and bite the IGCs when they are all trying to sell the same product but SURPRISE…the box has it for less.

  2. This past year has been bad for all of us.But asking others to bail out your money troubles doesn’t surprise me, and shouldn’t surprise anyone else. When $$$$’s are the issue Monrovia or any business will do what it has to do to stay solvent.It’s not like they are the only game in town.Look around and there are plenty of good quality growers that can pick up the slack.Your IGC shouldn’t be reliant on what it says on the pot anyway. That’s what I thought set us apart from the Big Box stores in the first place.If Monrovia sells to the BIG BOYS so be it.I really don’t believe it is the end of the world as we know it!

  3. Most every wholesale nursery is feeling the pressure from banks and lenders right now. A lot of us are in the same boat. When I saw the letter from Monrovia I was disappointed that it had come to that and feel sorry for the smaller wholesale nurseries that just had a chunk of their pie for spring significantly reduced by some IGCs in order to help Monrovia. I too feel that they will be selling to the box stores come spring and hope it doesn’t come back and bite the IGCs when they are all trying to sell the same product but SURPRISE…the box has it for less.

  4. This past year has been bad for all of us.But asking others to bail out your money troubles doesn’t surprise me, and shouldn’t surprise anyone else. When $$$$’s are the issue Monrovia or any business will do what it has to do to stay solvent.It’s not like they are the only game in town.Look around and there are plenty of good quality growers that can pick up the slack.Your IGC shouldn’t be reliant on what it says on the pot anyway. That’s what I thought set us apart from the Big Box stores in the first place.If Monrovia sells to the BIG BOYS so be it.I really don’t believe it is the end of the world as we know it!

More From Finance/Operations...

January 15, 2018

Missouri Greenhouse Grower John Tomasovic Dies

The patriarch of Tomasovic Greenhouses & Nursery, Inc. in Des Peres, MO, was a legend in the plant industry, and widely involved in many associations.

Read More

January 15, 2018

Perennials Icon Louis Stacy Dies

The founder of the former Stacy's Greenhouses in York, SC, passed away on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

Read More
Charlie Hall Feature Image

January 9, 2018

AmericanHort Launches New Video Series on Profit Margin Management

This week, AmericanHort is kicking off a four-part video series that offers perspectives on managing profit margins from AmericanHort’s Chief Economist, Dr. Charlie Hall.

Read More
Latest Stories

January 15, 2018

Missouri Greenhouse Grower John Tomasovic Dies

The patriarch of Tomasovic Greenhouses & Nursery, Inc. in Des Peres, MO, was a legend in the plant industry, and widely involved in many associations.

Read More

January 15, 2018

Perennials Icon Louis Stacy Dies

The founder of the former Stacy's Greenhouses in York, SC, passed away on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

Read More
Charlie Hall Feature Image

January 9, 2018

AmericanHort Launches New Video Series on Profit Margin…

This week, AmericanHort is kicking off a four-part video series that offers perspectives on managing profit margins from AmericanHort’s Chief Economist, Dr. Charlie Hall.

Read More
Tax-Money

January 9, 2018

What You Need to Know About the New Tax Bill

The United Fresh Produce Association, which represents the needs and interests of fruit and vegetable growers, recently updated its members on how the recent passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act might affect their businesses. Many of the insights provided by United Fresh also apply to greenhouse growers and nurseries.

Read More
Doug Cole, Owner of D.S. Cole Growers

January 4, 2018

D.S. Cole Growers Blazes Its Own Path to Growth

Known for its commitment to sustainability and innovation, this grower is one of the pioneering trailblazers changing the way horticulture does business.

Read More

December 31, 2017

Ag Exemption for New Trucking Regulation Still Under Re…

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s trucking electronic logging device mandate, which took effect on December 18, includes an Hours of Service exemption that may or may not apply to greenhouses and nurseries.

Read More
Tillandsia Air Plants (Plantiflor)

December 15, 2017

Bonsall Nursery Devastated By California Wildfire

Rainforest Flora lost its main greenhouses and outdoor growing property in the Lilac Fire in San Diego.

Read More

December 9, 2017

Southern California Wildfires Narrowly Miss Most Grower…

Here’s an update on horticulture businesses in the areas affected by the California wildfires.

Read More

December 5, 2017

Skagit Horticulture Builds New, Inclusive Business With…

By merging two large-scale producers, Skagit Gardens and Northwest Horticulture, the new company has realized its strengths through focused divisions that emphasize efficiency and success.

Read More

December 4, 2017

Raker-Roberta’s Young Plants Debuts as Roberta’s Finali…

On December 1, Eric Wallien of Roberta’s Inc. in Waldron, IN, officially purchased C. Raker & Sons in Litchfield, MI. The new identity of the company is now Raker-Roberta’s Young Plants, according to a Dec. 1 letter to Raker’s customers, suppliers, and business partners from Vice President Susie Raker-Zimmerman. “There have been minimal changes in management and we will be providing the same products and services on which we have built our reputation in the industry,” Raker-Zimmerman said in the letter, which also announced the name change and new logo. The sale of C. Raker & Sons was announced in September . A series of events affecting Raker’s financial situation caused the need for the operation to find an alternate solution. Roberta’s had been a customer of Raker’s since 2011, and the fourth generation, family owned grower-retailer was a fan of Raker’s commitment to quality. The agreement to purchase C. […]

Read More

October 10, 2017

Sharpen Your Skills in Cost Management and Profitabilit…

The University of Florida is offering a new online course on costing and profitability. The course will take growers through the process of how to accurately evaluate cost of production, labor efficiency, pricing, and equipment investment decisions.

Read More
Willoway Nurseries Team

October 1, 2017

How Willoway Nurseries Gets Its Staff Engaged in The Co…

Willoway Nurseries in Avon, OH, is creating a culture with people who think, act, and feel like owners. Learn how its team is taking the business to the next level.

Read More

September 21, 2017

Horticulture Is All About Connections

The beauty of our industry is that we are more than willing to reach out and help those around us. What connections can you make today to help your business, and what can you offer to help another grower?

Read More
Worker taking cuttings at Vivero Internacional.

September 11, 2017

Vivero Internacional Elevates Clean Cuttings to New Hei…

One of the last independent cutting operations, this fast-growing company raises the standard for delivering clean, high-quality unrooted cuttings.

Read More
Selecta Sponsor bed at Raker trial gardens

September 5, 2017

C. Raker & Sons Acquired By Roberta’s Unique Garden…

Ownership will change hands in December, and Raker will supply young plants for the 2018 season. Beyond that, leadership of the two operations say they are excited to move forward with a partnership that will continue to supply the industry, and gardeners, with top-quality plants.

Read More

August 1, 2017

MPS Honors D.S. Cole Growers for 10 Years of Sustainabi…

At Cultivate’17, a ceremony to mark a 10-year milestone since D.S. Cole Growers became involved with More Profitable Sustainability (MPS), as the first U.S. grower to achieve MPS certification, took owner Doug Cole by surprise. Separate celebrations also recognized Metrolina Greenhouses and Dümmen Orange for achieving MPS certification.

Read More
Nexus greenhouse construction for Knox Cannabis Facility

July 27, 2017

Ornamental Growers Will Revolutionize Cannabis Industry…

Professional growers have much to offer the emerging cannabis market, according to the co-owner of Knox Medical, one of the licensed cannabis producers in Florida.

Read More
Ball ColorLink logo

July 11, 2017

Get Guidance on Running Your Business from Ball ColorLi…

Representatives from Ball ColorLink will be on-hand at Cultivate’17 to answer questions and present business-building tools and industry insights to growers.

Read More