Commerce Corp. Update: Former Employees React; Rivals See New Opportunities

As Today’s Garden Center reported on Dec. 31, 2012, there are conflicting stories regarding Commerce Corporation’s potential closing. While some say the garden supply distributor has begun massive layoffs to keep the company afloat, others insist Commerce is closing its doors. Green industry companies like BFG Supply and Ceramo Company are taking advantage of Commerce Corporation’s uncertain future.

Rivals Snap Up Employees, Customers

BFG Supply announced it has hired a former Commerce sales manager and nine sales reps. In a press release, Rob Glockner, president and CEO, explained the company may also continue to hire additional employees who have been laid off by Commerce.

“We really believe in hiring good people who will always put the customer first. These 10 individuals not only came highly recommended from Commerce’s senior management but are respected by their customers for the service they’ve provided over the years,” Glockner says.

“We took a significant step in expanding our footprint in the lawn and garden space when we acquired Wetsel 18 months ago, so being able to bring on even more high-character and knowledgeable people as a result of Commerce closing its doors will help us expand our position within the market even further,” he says. “We were successful in hiring these 10 new employees, but we’re still having active conversations with several other Commerce sales reps; this is an exciting time for BFG Supply.”

Meanwhile, A.M. Leonard has created a page on its webiste appealing directly to former Commerce customers. Touting its established relationships with industry suppliers, the distributor posts:

“In response to the recent news regarding the Commerce Corporation closing, we would like to offer our help to all our customers who might have placed orders with Commerce. AML offers many of the same products carried by Commerce. If we don’t have those products, many times, we can offer similar products.”

Border Concepts May Acquire Contract For Good Tidings And Michael Carr Designs

Border Concepts has submitted a letter of intent to acquire the contract for Good Tidings, which supplies holiday goods, and Michael Carr Designs, known for its pottery, says an anonymous source associated with Border Concepts. Commerce Corp. has had an exclusive with the two companies until now. Border Concepts is awaiting approval from the bank. “It’s not a done deal yet,” the source says, “but we expect to have everything in place soon.”

Commerce Customers Receive Buying Offers

Ceramo Company is offering to help former Commerce customers fill their orders by offering special buying deals. In a press release, the company announced it would extend its early buying program to “any retailers who are facing uncertainty about the status of their pottery orders resulting from the closing of Commerce Corporation.” The program also offers a variety of discounts, freight deals and extended dating for qualified orders.

“We understand the critical importance to the retailer of having pots on the shelves to sell as the season opens,” says Ceramo President Vernon Kasten. “And we’ve got a huge inventory on-hand and ready to ship to garden centers that may be concerned about receiving their pottery in time for early-spring business.”

Employees, Industry React To Alleged Commerce Closing

Following Today’s Garden Center’s story, many people commented on the state of Commerce Corp. Some of the comments came anonymously from people claiming to be former Commerce employees and vendors. Read on to see what they had to say.

“I was a direct shipper for Commerce and saw something like this coming when I got word of that West Coast shutdown. They wanted us to continue to ship product, have us collect payments from the retailers and still give them their cut. Not happening… As a side note, I have worked with several of the former Commerce reps, and they definitely did not deserve the treatment they got. If you are a Commerce rep and looking for a new gig, several of the major distributors will be happy to chat with you. I know Wetsel/BFG have picked up about 10 Commerce road warriors. We work with those guys too, and they are solid.”–John Doe Vendor

“I am one of many employees who was laid off on Friday. Baltimore team members were called into an office one by one while Grand Rapids team members were called in to a conference call and told, ‘If you are listening to this call you are laid off effective immediately.’ Our health insurance ran out on Dec. 31. That was nice for those who have their families on their insurance policies. The lack of communication from Richard and the executives was a low blow to the people who have worked hard for this company!” – Jane Doe

“Again, I am a former employee that was let go Friday without any type of respect. Thanks for speaking out to all. Commerce has done the former employees, vendors and customers wrong. It is a sad, sad, sad business.” – Jane Doe 2

“Sadly, I also am a former team member of Commerce. Richard laid all of us off except a very few whom he felt he could still ‘use’ to help reduce the inventory. We were all kept in the dark about everything going on and were told, ‘Commerce was going to get a great Christmas present by the Friday before Christmas,’ even though all the rumors sounded bad.” – John Doe

“There is no way retailers are going to have an confidence in placing any orders with Commerce. They are already contacting other distributors to get early orders placed. Distributors are going after Commerce retailers with force…” – A

“I received an eMail from my sales rep. on Dec. 22 with all my spring orders attached saying as of Dec. 28, Commerce Corp. was shutting their doors. The attachment was to help me try to place my orders elsewhere.” – Andi

Topics:

Leave a Reply

More From State of the Industry...
Biocontrols in a Greenhouse

November 3, 2017

Take Greenhouse Grower’s 2018 State of the Industry Survey

Growers and others associated with the greenhouse business often ask the Greenhouse Grower editorial staff where we get ideas for stories. The Answer: You! That's why we're asking you to please take some time to answer our annual State of the Industry survey.

Read More

November 1, 2017

Technology Is Changing the Game for Growers

Technology is sexy. There’s a fervor associated with buying the latest go-go-gadget — and a fear of missing out if we don’t. We all want that latest, most advanced smartphone, home assistant, or wearable tech, no matter the cost. And jobs associated with technology? Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter — offer some of the most competitive and coveted positions on the planet. Just look at the stir Amazon made when it announced it would build a $50 billion second headquarters, with cities from all over North America clamoring to be the one chosen, considering the significant economic potential. Technology and tech jobs are it — and it’s no wonder growers don’t feel jobs in horticulture can compete. But what if they can? If tech jobs are the future and the future of horticulture depends on technology, then we have a real opportunity to seize. Millennials who have grown up […]

Read More

May 23, 2017

USDA-APHIS Bulletin on Unauthorized Distribution of Genetically Engineered Petunias

On May 2, 2017, USDA-APHIS was informed that an orange petunia variety was potentially genetically engineered and had been imported and moved interstate without required authorization by APHIS. This led to testing of numerous petunia varieties, which confirmed this particular variety and several others are genetically engineered, and meet the regulatory definition of a regulated article under APHIS regulations. APHIS continues to work with the industry to ensure unauthorized GE petunias are not distributed in the United States.

Read More
Latest Stories
Biocontrols in a Greenhouse

November 3, 2017

Take Greenhouse Grower’s 2018 State of the Indust…

Growers and others associated with the greenhouse business often ask the Greenhouse Grower editorial staff where we get ideas for stories. The Answer: You! That's why we're asking you to please take some time to answer our annual State of the Industry survey.

Read More

November 1, 2017

Technology Is Changing the Game for Growers

Technology is sexy. There’s a fervor associated with buying the latest go-go-gadget — and a fear of missing out if we don’t. We all want that latest, most advanced smartphone, home assistant, or wearable tech, no matter the cost. And jobs associated with technology? Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter — offer some of the most competitive and coveted positions on the planet. Just look at the stir Amazon made when it announced it would build a $50 billion second headquarters, with cities from all over North America clamoring to be the one chosen, considering the significant economic potential. Technology and tech jobs are it — and it’s no wonder growers don’t feel jobs in horticulture can compete. But what if they can? If tech jobs are the future and the future of horticulture depends on technology, then we have a real opportunity to seize. Millennials who have grown up […]

Read More

May 23, 2017

USDA-APHIS Bulletin on Unauthorized Distribution of Gen…

On May 2, 2017, USDA-APHIS was informed that an orange petunia variety was potentially genetically engineered and had been imported and moved interstate without required authorization by APHIS. This led to testing of numerous petunia varieties, which confirmed this particular variety and several others are genetically engineered, and meet the regulatory definition of a regulated article under APHIS regulations. APHIS continues to work with the industry to ensure unauthorized GE petunias are not distributed in the United States.

Read More

March 2, 2017

Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry Whitepaper Avai…

This year’s survey featured a record 975 respondents and tackled topics such as sales trends, technology, major industry challenges and opportunities, and much more.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry Webinar

February 27, 2017

State of the Industry Webinar Available for On-Demand V…

The half-hour presentation includes an analysis of Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 State of the Industry survey, along with insights from horticulture industry leaders.

Read More

February 11, 2017

Poinsettia Survey Reveals Growers Increased Poinsettia …

On average, growers responding to Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Poinsettia Survey said the poinsettia season was “good,”Here’s a glance at the outlook for poinsettias in the marketplace.

Read More

January 25, 2017

59 New Members of Congress Need to Hear from You, SAF S…

Retailers, wholesalers, suppliers, and growers coming to the Society of American Florists' (SAF) 37th Annual Congressional Action Days, March 13-14 in Washington, DC, have a lot of explaining to do. There are 59 new congressmen and senators on Capitol Hill, and this freshmen class needs a lesson about floriculture.

Read More
bouldin-lawson-pro-sticking-line-at-north-creek-nurseries

January 25, 2017

State of the Industry 2017: Growers are Ready to Invest…

Greenhouse Grower's 2017 State of the Industry Survey revealed that grower investment in technology is imminent due to the cost and availability of labor, to improve efficiency, expand their growing operations, and allow employees to concentrate on higher value jobs that are less labor-intensive.

Read More

January 24, 2017

Growers are an Aging Demographic, 2017 State of the Ind…

Owners and upper management of growing operations in the horticulture industry, not unlike others in agriculture, are aging, according to Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 State of the Industry Survey.

Read More
Biocontrols and beneficials absolutely can be used in outdoor production, with the use of banker plant systems

January 24, 2017

Growers Becoming More Sustainable but Most Think Climat…

Greenhouse Grower's 2017 State of the Industry Survey revealed that growers are adopting biocontrols and organic production, yet 58% of growers said they don't believe humans can control climate change.

Read More

January 24, 2017

State of the Industry Survey Says 2017 Will be a Year o…

Growers, suppliers, and researchers who took Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 State Of The Industry Survey say they are ready to drive change and profitability in horticultural businesses.

Read More
Moana plant yard

January 4, 2017

Green Industry Poised for Continued Economic Growth in …

Positive economic indicators point to 2017 being a year of modest growth for the green industry, according to economist Charlie Hall.

Read More

January 3, 2017

Growing Optimism for the Horticulture Industry in 2017

With a new administration and a new Congress, AmericanHort's Craig Regelbrugge says the horticulture industry has reason to be cautiously optimistic that regulatory relief could be on the horizon.

Read More
Bees on flowers

October 11, 2016

Bees Endangered? Here’s The Rest Of The Story

Recently, mainstream media reported that certain bee species have been placed on the endangered species list, but the situation isn’t as dire as one might think.

Read More
cuttings-facility

September 27, 2016

How Global Suppliers Of Unrooted Cuttings Are Working T…

The world’s top vegetative producers discuss how they continue to evolve to overcome challenges and embrace opportunities to help growers and the varieties supply chain.

Read More
OSU ATI Greenhouse

September 21, 2016

Your Support Is Essential For Current And Future Studen…

September is back to school time, and that means renewed opportunity to support the young people who are electing to pursue careers in horticulture. I continue to hear from growers of all sizes, from all over the country, that there just are not enough qualified graduates of two- or four-year horticulture programs. We also need to be active in promoting careers in horticulture to those who are not aware of the opportunities available. There have been some great success stories in this area recently. At University of Florida (UF) last fall, Anna Ball and Dr. Marvin Miller of Ball Horticultural Co. joined UF’s Dr. David Clark in an introductory environmental horticulture couse that’s open to any major. After the class, the line of students waiting to talk with Ball, Miller, and Clark was out the door. It is so important, Ball says, for each of us, individually and collectively to […]

Read More
young-plants

September 20, 2016

The Top Young Plant Growers, And Four Critical Challeng…

In Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Top Young Plant Growers Survey, growers discuss the latest challenges and opportunities in fulfillment, shipping, labor, and crop protection.

Read More

August 13, 2016

Plants Sales Are Up For Fourth Straight Year, According…

Growers declared spring 2016 to be a success in Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 State Of The Industry: Spring Crops Recap Survey.

Read More