Jerry Halamuda of Color Spot Nurseries Retires

Jerry Halamuda and Michael Vukelich

Jerry Halamuda, who co-founded Color Spot Nurseries with Michael Vukelich in 1983, has announced his retirement as CEO and President of the business, effective immediately. Halamuda will continue as Chairman of the Board and help with the transition of leadership.

“For close to 40 years, I have been privileged to do what I love and work with a group of people who are just as passionate as I am about the nursery industry,” said Halamuda in a letter dated March 28, 2017. “We’ve grown from a single location to become the largest nursery operator in the country. I want to thank the Vukelich family for allowing me to be part of this incredible team and life long journey. I also want to thank [the team] for making Color Spot such a beautiful company.”

Halamuda has selected a successor as CEO: Paul Russo, who has been working with Color Spot Nurseries via Black Diamond, the company’s investment group, which also has a controlling interest in Hines Nursery. Russo served as Chief Operating Officer of the operation a few years ago, and is very familiar with the business.

“Paul has spent his career leading companies through changing markets and challenging times,” Halamuda said in the letter. “He gained a strong appreciation for our retail partners through his years in senior management at the Stanley Works (now Stanley Black and Decker), and has a good understanding of Color Spot from his years as a board member and time as a member of management. Please give him the same strong support you have shown me over the years.”

Color Spot Nurseries is No. 1 on Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 Top 100 list. The operation, totaling 19,000,000 of environmentally controlled space, 204 acres of shade house production, and 2,703 acres of outdoor production, serves more than 2,000 retail and commercial customers, specializing in the production and distribution of bedding plants, vegetables, herbs, shrubs, blooming potted plants, groundcovers, woody ornamentals, and more. Color Spot operates 16 production facilities in California, Arizona, Oregon, and Texas, and ships to 26 states.

The operation also provides in-store merchandising, displays, planning, and reordering services to customers including The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, Kmart, Rite-Aid, Kroger, and Orchard Supply, according to its website.

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12 comments on “Jerry Halamuda of Color Spot Nurseries Retires

  1. I will always be thankful to Jerry for taking a chance on a young man to help build a program and then see it through its successful implementation, and then to be fortunate to helm a facility or two. His passion and understanding of the industry is second to none. Enjoy your retirement Jerry!

    Dave Holley
    Moss Greenhouses

  2. Jerry is a class act. He and I have been close friends for over 40 years. We met at San Diego Nursery in 1975. I was just starting out as an electrician for IBG. Over the years we have stayed close. A few years ago when I was facing a huge medical challenge, he would come and sit by my hospital bed for hours at a time, even though I had no idea he was even there.

    They don’t come any better. Good luck Jerry.

    Tom Piini

    Micro Grow Greenhouse Systems

  3. Jerry is an icon in our business. He is a fierce competitor and a great businessman. Jerry is a great friend and mentor. He always asks about your family before ever discussing business. I wish to make one tenth the impact on the horticulture industry that Jerry has made.

  4. Jerry is the unique embodiment of being the proper glue that calmly kept the business together through the tough times and guided the ship in the right direction in the good times. A people person, his reality checks kept the focus on achievable plans in an industry that is so difficult to predict and creating new industries such as merchandising the box stores. He is a good friend and a good human being who will continue to be a voice in this industry. Congratulations!

  5. Congratulations on your successful career. Thank you for your support of brother Tom McGregor. Our family will always be grateful.

  6. Wishing Jerry a long and prosperous retirement, and his family all of the best life has to offer. Thanks for all you have done for the industry.

  7. Jerry has been for many years an innovator and risk taker with great levels of success, from product development to the development of store merchandising systems. Jerry also has a unique ability to identify people that fit the Color Spot mold along with finding value and buying companies that grow the Color Spot brand, clearly one of a kind.

  8. Jerry Halamuda is to the nursery industry what Walt Disney was to the entertainment industry.
    Creative, Bold, Disciplined, smart and inspiring.
    He and his partner Mike accomplished what no one else has done in the nursery industry. Iv’e been a friend of the family and business partner with Jerry for over 40 years.. He is the best of the best and better than the rest! Now we will have time together to smell the roses! Ken Cook

  9. I was blessed to start with Jerry back in 1984 at the old Green Thumb Nurseries in El Cajon. He gave me the opportunity back then to be the first sales rep for Southern California and had the good fortune of his mentoring through the years. He opened up his home to me during difficult time, he listened, he supported me when some others did not. A true friend is someone who has your back, is in your corner and I always felt the love from Jerry. I would not have achieved the success if for not Jerry and look back fondly knowing was part of something special. Enjoy you’re many days ahead my friend, stay well and healthy. Mitch.

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