Suppliers Comment on Plant Genetics’ Fate After EuroAmerican Propagators’ Bankruptcy

John Rader of Proven Winners’ EuroAmerican Propagators talks about Basil ‘Balsamic Blooms,’ winner of the Editor’s Choice award
John Rader of EuroAmerican Propagators accepted the honors for Basil ‘Balsamic Blooms,’ winner of the Editor’s Choice award, during Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 Evening of Excellence ceremony.

News broke a few weeks ago that Bonsall, CA-based EuroAmerican Propagators would be closing its doors after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Jan. 23, 2017.

The young plant and finished plant grower produced plants for more than 20 breeders. Situated on 55 acres of land in Southern California, the operation was founded in 1992.

The operation’s closing was attributed by industry sources to EuroAmerican Propagators co-owners John Rader and Jerry Church parting ways. Church was looking to get out of the business, but a new partner for the business was not forthcoming. Timing dictated that the business file Chapter 7 and liquidate the business.

According to the California Southern Bankruptcy Court, EuroAmerican Propagators filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy with $50,000 or less in assets and up to $10 million in liabilities. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case does not involve the filing of repayment as in other chapters. Instead, the bankruptcy trustee gathers and sells non-exempt assets and uses the proceeds of such assets to pay creditors in accordance with the Bankruptcy Code, according to the U.S. Courts. Certain exempt property can be kept, but the trustee will liquidate the debtor’s remaining assets.

A statement on EuroAmerican Propagators’ web site says, “At this time we would like to say, thank you. We have appreciated all of our customers’ business over the past 26 years. We have received an outpouring of understanding and hopeful comments from many customers. We understand that this is not ideal and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We are concerned for our employees, suppliers, growers, and all those we have affected at this time. Unfortunately, this was the only option for EuroAmerican Propagators. We hope for the best.”

Since the bankruptcy filing, suppliers associated with EuroAmerican Propagators have updated Greenhouse Grower on what the operation’s bankruptcy means for them, and how it will impact grower customers.

HGTV HOME Plant Collection

The alliance between HGTV HOME with EuroAmerican Propagators served to provide easy ordering and better production management for licensed growers in the program.

The HGTV HOME partnership with EuroAmerican Propagators was announced prior to the 2016 California Spring Trials, where HGTV HOME highlighted the benefits of having one open liner source. Where previously material was shipped from a number of sources, the brand was hopeful the streamlined shipping solution through EuroAmerican would allow growers to improve production management with all combo kit components, and branded pots and tags shipping and arriving at the same time.

“The HGTV HOME Plant Collection is still in full force. The only difference is that EuroAmerican is not a liner source now,” says Sarah Rolfes, an Account Manager with Agricola Management Group, LLC, the exclusive licensee of HGTV HOME Plant Collection. “The program continues to be available through our licensed grower network.”

Currently HGTV HOME is working on solidifying a supplier for the open liner network, Rolfes says. Meanwhile, the licensed growers in the HGTV HOME program are able to buy live inputs from rooting stations working with Dümmen Orange, Rolfes says.

Where previously it planned to participate at EuroAmerican Propagators’ California Spring Trials (CAST) location, the HGTV HOME program will not have a display this year. In years past, it participated in the Dümmen Orange Edna Valley Vineyards location during CAST. Instead HGTV HOME Plants representatives will travel and observe during CAST this year to see what its partners are doing, Rolfes says.

Last year, EuroAmerican moved its California Spring Trials back to its Bonsall headquarters, providing an in-ground trial meant to simulate real growing conditions with real-life challenges in the garden.

Soiree catharanthus

Suntory Flowers

With changes in the supply chain, including the closing of EuroAmerican Propagators, Suntory Flowers is making moves to allow more growers to produce its genetics.

“Effective July 1, both Senetti pericallis and Soiree catharanthus will be open to the entire market as unrooted cuttings and as rooted through our Suntory root-and-sell grower network in 2017-2018,” says Delilah Onofrey, License Manager for Suntory Flowers, North America.

Previously, Suntory Flowers worked with just a few licensed rooting stations, with EuroAmerican Propagators playing a leading role launching each of the brands.

Proven Winners

Proven Winners’ founding partners were (Top, from left) Henry Huntington, John Rader, Tom Smith and Jeff Huntington. (Seated) Sharon Smith and Jerry Church.

With the news of EuroAmerican Propagators’ closing, and because of its most commonly known association as a founding member and licensed grower for Proven Winners, growers sourcing young plants from EuroAmerican immediately took action to find out what would happen to their spring orders of Proven Winners annuals and perennials liners.

Although it was a scramble, says Proven Winners Executive Director Mark Broxon, all annuals liner orders were able to be filled through Proven Winners licensees Four Star Greenhouses in Carleton, MI, and Pleasant View Gardens in Loudon, NH; many perennial orders were filled through Walters’ Gardens in Zeeland, MI; and shrub liners were already being filled through Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, MI.

“All of the propagators are working really hard right now to fulfill orders moved from EuroAmerican Propagators, but I’m confident we’ll be fine,” Broxon said in late January.

While the closing of EuroAmerican Propagators is unfortunate, and the timing was not ideal due to the beginning of the spring season, when growers were expecting their liners, Broxon says, the other Proven Winners licensees are more than capable of covering all Proven Winners orders thanks to expanded facilities and existing transportation lines from each of the operations’ facilities that already ship liners to customers all over the country. No additional licensees are planned to be added on the West Coast.

EuroAmerican Propagators had been diverting slightly from the Proven Winners business in recent years, and had already been selling less volume of both Proven Winners annuals and Proven Selections annuals than Pleasant View Gardens and Four Star Greenhouses, Broxon says.

“While the grower and retailer audience is important, the consumer is another key focus of the Proven Winners brand,” Broxon says. “Consumer awareness of the brand has never been higher.”

Other Breeders

It is still unclear what will happen with some of the different genetics, such as the Celestial Gems succulents and Savvy Succulents lines. Perhaps a new business will emerge in the future.

Meanwhile, industry sources tell us the land and facilities, which are still owned by Church, are currently being rented out for other ventures.

Topics: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

More From Finance/Operations...
SNA Logo

June 19, 2017

SNA, MANTS Plan to Co-Locate Their Events in 2018

There is crossover appeal for participants of both events, according to show organizers, and this cooperation will bring value and potential new business opportunities for both audiences.

Read More
Heat Safety App

June 18, 2017

Protect Your Employees from Heat-Related Illnesses with This Updated App

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have released an updated app for smart phones that can help workers stay safe when working outdoors in hot weather.

Read More

June 1, 2017

Reimagining a Brand: How Did We Do With Greenhouse Grower?

Changing the design and content strategy of a brand isn't easy, but we think the new Greenhouse Grower will help carry our innovative industry forward and allow us to better serve your information needs.

Read More
Latest Stories

April 11, 2017

Jerry Halamuda of Color Spot Nurseries Retires

The co-founder of Color Spot Nurseries has retired, effective immediately, and has named a replacement.

Read More

March 21, 2017

How Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Can Prepare for a Prod…

The United Fresh Produce Association is holding a Recall Ready Workshop in April that is designed to help growers properly manage a recall, from liability to communications.

Read More

March 14, 2017

Expanded Customer Footprint, E-Commerce, Succession Key…

Costa Farms' acquisition of indoor foliage producer Delray Plants rocked the industry, but the story behind Delray Plants' sale is the same as for many growers struggling with succession planning. For Costa Farms, the strategic purchase expands its customer footprint and also fast tracks its foray into e-commerce.

Read More

March 10, 2017

Costa Farms Expands With Purchase of Indoor Houseplant …

Costa Farms annnounced March 10 that it has acquired Delray Plants, one of the leaders in the indoor houseplant industry. The two operations are committed to the same values, principles, and goals to grow the industry, and will fit well together to accomplish this, say Randy Gilde, CEO of Delray Plants, and Joche Smith, CEO of Costa Farms.

Read More
Ken and Deena Altman

March 7, 2017

Altman Plants in Escrow to Purchase EuroAmerican Propag…

Ken Altman, a co-owner of Altman Plants based in Vista, CA, has confirmed that the operation is currently in escrow to purchase EuroAmerican Propagators, the Bonsall, CA-based young plant and finished plant grower that filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy on Jan. 23, 2017. Ken and Deena Altman are co-owners of Altman Plants and The Plug Connection, along with their son Matthew, who has recently bought into the family business. The 55 acres of land and all of the facilities on it, which were previously owned by Jerry Church, a partner in EuroAmerican Propagators, are part of the purchase agreement currently in escrow, Altman says. However, it would not be absorbed by Altman Plants, which in 2016 was number 3 on Greenhouse Grower’s Top 100 Growers list with more than 11 million square feet of environmentally controlled greenhouse production, 62 acres of shade production, and 400 acres of outdoor field production. Altman Plants’ property […]

Read More
EuroAmerican Propagators Greenhouses

February 14, 2017

Suppliers Comment on Plant Genetics’ Fate After EuroAme…

Since the operation’s bankruptcy filing on January 23, 2017, suppliers associated with EuroAmerican Propagators have updated Greenhouse Grower on what the operation’s bankruptcy means for them – and how it will impact grower customers.

Read More
Stephanie Whitehouse

January 17, 2017

Stephanie Whitehouse Takes Her Passion for Plants to Di…

Stephanie Whitehouse, who has spent the last seven years as the Sales and Marketing Director for Peace Tree Farm in Kintnersville, PA, recently joined Dickman Farms Greenhouse and Garden Center in Auburn, NY, as the company’s new Retail General Manager.

Read More
Laura Drotleff

December 6, 2016

Are You Driving Young Growers Away? [Opinion]

In a time when the industry is facing a critical shortage of both labor and skilled, educated growers, it's important that grower operations don't unwittingly turn candidates off to a career at their business or in the industry in general. Take a closer look at your hiring practices to ensure you are being inclusive and not breaking any laws.

Read More
Trays move on an overhead conveyor to the end of the production line, where workers carefully pack the cleaned, sized, graded, counted and sorted Calla tubers

November 29, 2016

Texas Judge Halts Overtime Rule; Here’s What It Means F…

According to Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort, the injunction against the overtime rule is welcome news for horticulture.

Read More
Craig Regelbrugge, senior vice president of AmericanHort - Feature image

October 25, 2016

Contribute To HRI To Help Honor Industry Advocate Craig…

In honor of Craig Regelbrugge's extraordinary contributions to the horticultural industry, AmericanHort and the Horticultural Research Initiative created a special HRI endowment fund in his name: "The Craig Regelbrugge - Advocates for Horticulture Fund."

Read More
Lucas Greenhouses Shipping

October 6, 2016

Greenhouse Shipping Costs Down, But Concerns Remain

Lower gas prices have led to lower shipping costs for some growers, but many continue to seek out ways to become more efficient.

Read More
Pansy ‘Cool Wave Blue Skies’ (Wave)

September 20, 2016

PanAmerican Seed Settles Alleged Trade Sanction Violati…

PanAmerican Seed, a division of Ball Horticultural Co., has been charged with violating trade sanctions to Iran over a number of years. According to a release from the U.S. Treasury department, PanAmerican Seed made 48 indirect sales of seeds to two Iranian distributors. The company shipped the seed to consignees based in countries in Europe and the Middle East. PanAmerican Seed’s customers then arranged for the re-exportation of the seeds to Iran. The release states that the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) determined PanAmerican Seed did not voluntarily self-disclose the alleged violations to OFAC, constituting an egregious case. “We believe that the settlement was extreme; however the alternative was to litigate with the U.S. government, which would take months, if not years,” says Todd Billings, Chief Financial Officer for Ball Horticultural Co. When asked what Ball Horticultural Co. has done to ensure that violations to trade sanctions do not […]

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
Cavicchio Greenhouses

September 6, 2016

Cavicchio Greenhouses Wins Inaugural Sustainability Awa…

The Sudbury, MA, growing operation sustains more than 250 acres of annuals, perennials, and nursery stock, with a number of practices to mitigate its impact on the environment.

Read More
Charlie Hall Feature Image

September 6, 2016

10 Insights From Charlie Hall’s Green Industry Economic…

With the uncertain current economic climate, Texas A&M economist Charlie Hall says now may be the perfect time to invest — as long as you do it smartly.

Read More
Penn State Plant Bud

August 23, 2016

AmericanHort Is Helping Plant Importers Adjust To New R…

A report from Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort says the government is implementing a streamlined system for imports, in which all required data will be submitted electronically through a single window.

Read More
Plug Connection Assortment

August 9, 2016

AmericanHort’s Plug And Cutting Conference Will Feature…

This year’s conference, which takes place Sept. 19-21 in Carlsbad, CA, features discussions on water, pest and disease control, and production inputs, as well as a biocontrols workshop and tour of local cuttings facilities.

Read More
Cannabis In Greenhouse

July 27, 2016

The Top 5 Myths About Cannabis Production Cleared Up

There is a lot of misleading information going around about growing cannabis. Industry insider James Lowe makes sure you know the truth about cannabis production.

Read More