November 28, 2007

VIEWS: A Shift In Pricing Power

Can manufacturers establish retail pricing? A U.S. Supreme Court ruling has sparked an interesting discussion between grower Tom Culak of Good Earth Greenhouse in Lockport, Ill., and Jim Ralles, who represents a few horticultural manufacturers through ARI in Belmont, Calif. Culak told Ralles about the Supreme Court ruling over the summer that overturned a 96-year-old antitrust precedent, by stating manufacturers and distributors could agree with retailers on minimum prices for products. Before, manufacturers and distributors could only suggest retail prices or withhold products from noncomplying stores, according to Bloomberg News. The original 1911 decision in Dr. Miles vs. Park made vertical minimum price agreements illegal, regardless of the impact on competition. In the new decision split between the justices, who voted 5 to 4, the majority said price-floor agreements should be evaluated under the “rule of reason,” a legal doctrine that assesses restraints on trade by looking at the impact […]

Read More

November 21, 2007

Growing Green In The Northeast

Interested in steps you can take toward sustainability? UMass Extension and University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension have partnered to host a one-day “Growing and Marketing Green Program” on Dec. 14. The program at the Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center in Sturbridge, Mass, will cover: Organic certification requirements Principles of organic growing media and fertilizers for greenhouse production Managing insects and mites with biocontrol and pesticides for organic greenhouse growers Using biofungicides for diseases in greenhouses Choosing and using biodegradable pots Local sustainable biodegradables, cow pots Recycling plastics for greenhosues and garden centers, film and containers Using biofuels, on-sitre biodiesel production and use Marketing green panel: retail organic products for pests, nutrition and weeds for home gardens Energy conservation, seasonal thermal storage and solar options Growing and marketing green panel on greenhouse water conservation. Growers include Paul Barnes of Geremia Greenhouses, Sal Gilbertie and Bill Smith of Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens […]

Read More

November 21, 2007

Growers Top Pike’s List Of Creditors

Whenever there is a big Chapter 11 filing in the industry, one of the most unsettling aspects is the ripple effect that can hurt other companies. According to bankruptcy court records, Pike Nursery Holding LLC in Atlanta owes nearly $5.6 million to its 20 largest unsecured creditors. At least half of these companies are growers. At the very top of the list is Monrovia in California, which is owed $716,779. Next is Wight Nurseries in Atlanta, Ga., which is owed $689,289. On the greenhouse growing side, Wenke Greenhouse in Kalamazoo, Mich., and sister division Sunbelt Greenhouses in Douglas, Ga., are owed more than $500,000 for summer and fall crops. Owner Dennis Wenke says he met with officers of Pike last Monday before the bankruptcy filing, so he knew it was coming. Pike will be paying cash on delivery for poinsettias. “As of now, I’m not concerned about our poinsettia crop,” […]

Read More

November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Promotions From Organic Bouquet

Organic Bouquet in San Francisco is running a “Thanks-for-Giving” campaign promoting its autumn gift collection along with organic wreaths, charitable bouquets and gourmet gift baskets. Cause-related marketing has been a great hook. America’s Second Harvest (ASH) charitable bouquet supports the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the United States. ASH secures and distributes nearly 2 billion pounds of food and grocery products through its network of more than 200 regional food banks and food-rescue organizations. Priced at $49.95, 5 percent of each sale is donated to ASH. The bouquet is long-lasting Esperance roses with light green and cream tones and pink edges. For more trendy organic and cause-related floral gifts, visit www.organicbouquet.com.

Read More

November 14, 2007

Bell Nursery Buys Ulery Greenhouse

Bell Nursery, based in Burtonsville, Md., announced that it has acquired Ulery Greenhouse Company in Springfield, Ohio. This marks an expansion for Bell Nursery, which currently supplies plants to Home Depot and others in the Mid-Atlantic region. Now Bell will be able to supply plants to retailers in the Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio area. “The Bell business model is well suited to an acquisition of a company like Ulery which is a well established and respected business in Central Ohio,” says Gary Mangum of Bell Nursery. “The Ulery physical plant as well as their strong employee base offers a great platform for business expansion. Quality is extremely important, and the Ulery name and heritage is associated with quality production.” “Today marks a new chapter for us,” said Bryan Ulery, “Bell Nursery is an outstanding company with great leadership, setting the standard for excellence in quality and service in our industry.” Bryan […]

Read More

November 7, 2007

San Diego Fire Damage Totals Are In

The San Diego County Department of Agriculture has set the preliminary damage figures from all the fires the week of Oct. 22 to be in excess of $42 million for agriculture. Of that total, about $15 million is specific to ornamental horticulture. These totals are specific to crops and do not include irrigation systems, equipment or buildings. In ornamentals dollar wise, trees and shrubs sustained the most damage–$7,258,290.8 on 185 acres. Cut flowers sustained the most damage acreage wise, ecompassing nearly 230 acres and more than $5.2 million worth of damage. Indoor flowering potted and foliage plants represented $2,149,890.4 in damage on just 5 acres. Total–All Fires in San Diego County Commodity Acres Damaged Estimated Dollar Loss Avocado 1722.4 $24,121,347.4 Berries 0.5 $13,717.6 Corn 2.0 $8,291.2 Cut Christmas Tree 8.5 $92,184.2 Cut Flowers 228.8 $5,205,570.9 Fig 6.0 $10,290.4 Grape 6.0 $4,623.1 Grapefruit 70.0 $307,001.8 Guavas 20.0 $281,678.2 Indoor Flowering & […]

Read More

November 7, 2007

Glass Corner Greenhouses Closes

Last week Glass Corner Greenhouses in Grand Rapids, Mich. announced it has shut down its operations and transferred its young plants business to Neal Mast & Son Greenhouses. In a letter to brokers and sales representatives dated Oct. 31, owners Rick and Joyce Mast wrote:” “It is with great sadness and deep regret we must inform you that Glass Corner Greenhouses will cease operations as of this date. Due to five years of continuous setbacks and extraordinary circumstances, we are unable to meet our debts and financial obligations, therefore forcing us to close our business. After exhausting all financial possibilities and investing everything both personally and professionally to save the company, it is impossible for us to remain in operation as Glass Corner Greenhouses.”  Related to transferring the young plants business to Neal Mast & Son, the couple wrote: “Only the name is different; everything else you have been accustomed […]

Read More

October 31, 2007

San Diego Growers Assess Fire Damage

While hot spots are still smoldering, we are pleased to report most of the growers in San Diego County are out of harm’s way. This week, local grower associations and University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) are working with growers to assess damage and get them back on their feet again. “There are still some burning hotspots, but they are in remote wildland areas and people, homes and nurseries are not threatened,” says Eric Larson, executive director of San Diego County Farm Bureau. “The county department of agriculture has reported there are 11,428 acres of agriculture with the footprints of the burn areas of the several large fires. That is not to say it was all destroyed. The random nature of the fires left many things untouched within the footprints. Of that acreage, 800 were outdoor cut flowers, 45 greenhouses and 750 acres of nursery stock. From my observations and […]

Read More

October 24, 2007

Two Young Growers Buy Boven’s

Grower Larry Boven of Boven’s Quality Plants in Kalamazoo, Mich., has sold his business to two enterprising young growers. The 14-acre Van Boven’s greenhouse facility was sold to grower employee Nirmal Shah, who grew up in India and came to this country to pursue a career in horticulture at Penn State University, earning his degree in horticulture and business. He joined Boven’s fresh out of school six years ago. The sale closed in August and Shah has changed the name of the business to Plants Unlimited. He specializes in growing blooming potted plants and hanging baskets and is a contract grower for Masterpiece Flower Co., which serves Meijer and Home Depot. The original seven-acre Boven’s facility six miles away was purchased by another grower employee, Kris Van de Streek. He is retaining the name Boven’s Quality Plants. Boven’s daughter, Laurie, still works in the office. Van de streek’s customers are […]

Read More

October 24, 2007

San Diego Growers Flee Wildfires

Growers and their employees are among the hundreds of thousands of people evacuating their homes in the greater San Diego area this week. Wildfires blown by fierce desert winds have reduced hundreds of Southern California homes to ashes, the Associated Press (AP) reports. The fires began Monday in Northern San Diego County and exploded to 145,000 acres. Winds gusted to 70 mph and scattered embers onto dry brush, sparking more fires. At least 14 fires were burning in Southern California from San Diego to Malibu, AP reports. More than 250,000 residents were told to flee San Diego County alone. The Del Mar Fairgrounds on the coast was turned into an evacuation center. San Diego boasts one of the world’s largest concentrations of commercial flower growers and is the leading horticultural county in the United States. The variety of crops grown includes: cut flowers and cut foliage, indoor flowering plants, green […]

Read More

October 24, 2007

Management Changes At Walters Gardens

Dave Walters, president of Walters Gardens in Zeeland, Mich., has retired after 40 years of service. Evan Elenbaas, who has been vice president of sales for 15 years, has been promoted to president, and industry veteran Niles Riese has joined Walters as the new vice president of sales. Dave Walters is the eldest son of Dennis Walters, who started the family business in 1946. He worked his way up from pulling weeds in the field to president of the perennial growing operation. In the office, he entered orders and made shipping labels on a manual typewriter and lead the transition to a “paperless” office in the 1990s. He started the first computer system used in the office and was the company’s first sales manager. In his retirement, he says he’s looking forward to spending more time with his wife and family. As the new president Elenbaas says he plans to […]

Read More

October 17, 2007

Ecke Family Honored By Local Charity

Paul Ecke III and his family were the first recipients of Community Resource Center’s (CRC) Community Star Award for more than 80 years of dedication to improving the lives of children and families in Encinitas, Calif., and beyond. The gala fundraiser held Sept. 29 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds Sports Club raised a record quarter million dollars for programs that shelter abused women and children, provide vital assistance to low-income families and help the homeless transition off the streets. “Paul Ecke III put the spotlight on CRC, sponsors invested in CRC at higher levels and individual supporters came through for us at the event,” says CRC Executive Director Laurin Pause. “This record fundraising level is a new benchmark for us and the positive impact it will have on people who need our help is incalculable.” Loren Nancarrow of 10News introduced the honoree, Paul Ecke III, who shared the award with […]

Read More