Monrovia Brand Will Be In Lowe’s

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Monrovia will begin selling its branded plants in Lowe’s stores in 2013. As a result of an exclusive agreement with Lowe’s, Monrovia plants, currently sold in Home Depot in plain pots, will pull out of Home Depot.

The new relationship differs significantly from what the industry expects of a mass merchant agreement. The Monrovia plants will not be sold to Lowe’s at a deep discount, and Lowe’s will not have access to exclusive varieties.

“They will have the standard trade discount that applies to all our customers. So, no additional sideline pricing for Lowe’s,” says David Kirby, Monrovia’s new vice president of sales.

Kirby says that Lowe’s agreeing to maintain the premium brand image, partly through pricing, was key to Monrovia making the agreement.

Until 2010, Monrovia had sold exclusively to independent garden centers.

In late 2010, Monrovia’s lenders demanded the grower prove its current business mode was viable by selling $20 million worth of product to its current customers by January 31, 2011. When Monrovia fell short of that benchmark, the grower agreed to begin selling its non-branded plants in Home Depot.

“We came to the position where we had just so much material on the ground and a limited customer base. We had literally put ourselves in the position where we had independents as our one and only channel,” Kirby says.

Kirby says Lowe’s will not be selling an exclusive line or special brand of plants. “We will be offering plants in our Monrovia branded container with our Monrovia info-label,” Kirby says. Independents, however, will be the only channel with access to 2013 introductions in 2013.

The Monrovia/Lowe’s relationship will roll out gradually. Monrovia will be in only 120 to 150 Lowe’s stores in spring 2013; Lowe’s has more than 1,700 stores.

“It’s a relationship that is necessary for Monrovia in order to diversify our customer base. We feel it is important, long term, to have these types of relationships. And key points for us are that Lowe’s does want to honor the Monrovia brand through premium retail and a premium product offering,” Kirby says.

Carol Miller is editor of Today's Garden Center. You can eMail her at clmiller@meistermedia.com.
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    6 comments on “Monrovia Brand Will Be In Lowe’s

    1. Katherine Smith

      For many years, we carried Monrovia product in our Texas store. Then, a few years ago, it became very difficult for us to do business with Monrovia — no service from any sales reps, huge freight costs and such high minimum orders that we finally gave up on trying to carry the brand. We are a very large independent, with a very long history with Monrovia. I'm not surprised that they could not reach their sales goal to independdents with the type of service we received in the past few years.

    2. RON EDWARDS

      YA KNOW, A BUSINESS JUST HAS TO DO WHAT IT HAS TO DO TO STAY ALIVE. IT SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD VENTURE BETWEEN THE TWO COMPANIES. I WONDER IF LOWE'S HAS TALKED MONROVIA INTO (SCAN & PAY)———-100% GUARANTEED ON SALE LIVEABLILITY OF PRODUCT??? !!! I HAVE ALSO HEARD AND SEEN WHERE SOME OF THE BEDDING PLANT GROWERS HAVE EVEN PUT THEIR OWN PEOPLE IN AT THE RETAIL LOCATIONS TO WATER, CARE FOR, AND SO MUCH AS WAITING ON CUSTOMERS !!!!!!!!!!!! HUMMMMMMMMMMM ! WHATS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE????

    3. John

      As the story goes two Aggies were going in the watermelon business. They loaded the truck with melons that they paid #5.00 apiece for. They found them a prime spot and put up a big sign WATERMELONS $5.00 each. By the end of the day they had sold out. But after calculating all their expenses right down to the dime, they found that they had made nothing. In fact they had lost money. They sat scratching their heads trying to figure out how to keep from going broke. Then the smarter one said "I know, we need a bigger truck!" As with landing a customer like Lowe's, getting a "bigger truck" is not the answer. If Monrovia was going broke before, simply selling more product with the same business model isn't going to help. And I guarantee you Lowe's is getting a reduced price, more services, "scan & pay", or some other form of additional value for their dollar. And that's just going to cut into Monrovia's bottom line even more. All too often I've seen a wholesale nursery's products show up at the big box stores one year and see them go out of business the next year. I hate to see this happen to a great company like Monrovia.

    4. Anton Fearn

      I dont see Monrovia making any profit in a Retail situation. They have great producks but are very expensive.Homeowners are pinching pennys these days and I do not think they will be able to pay a premium price for anything.

    5. anon

      scan and pay or vmi is killing this industry. many of us have gone chapter 11 because of it. our plants disappear and are not cared for by the stores or hired third party. if monrovia is doing scan and pay with lowes they will surely go under. monrovia is clearly desperate and lowes will make them do what they have to do. poor guys. they were once mighty. now they are going to get screwed by the boxes. the big boxes always win but soon will have no vendors.