Rough Brothers Adds Two Product Lines

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In the past year, Rough Brothers Greenhouses, a high-end structures supplier, has broadened its product offerings through acquisition, purchasing the assets of both X.S. Smith and Golden Pacific Structures. The strategy serves a couple of purposes for the company, says Commercial Manager Tom Vezdos.

“We wanted to be able to cover the U.S. with sales reps. Now we’re able to cover the southern parts of the country we were never able to effectively get to before,” he says. “And we want to be able to provide a structure to everybody in the greenhouse business.”

X.S. Smith and Golden Pacific traditionally offered lighter, less expensive greenhouse structures, so adding these product lines gave Rough a more complete spectrum of offerings.

“Somebody might just want a Quonset, or they may want a poly arch or an A frame. On the higher end, someone may want a Venlo or an open-roof structure. Quite often, a customer might have all three levels in their operation, so we want to offer all three,” he says.

Those new structure types are important as Rough looks to move south. X.S. Smith’s structures were built with round tubing, which is a little less robust, but also less expensive. They’re a good complement to the sturdier square-tubing structures used by Rough and Golden Pacific.

“The farther south you go, the lighter the structure you’re more likely to sell because they don’t have the same snow load requirements. That’s why we had to do these moves in conjunction,” Vezdos says. “We had to expand the market we wanted to touch geographically, but we also had to expand our products to get into that lighter-weight structure.”

Vegetables, Too

That’s half of the strategy Rough is pursuing these days. The other half is focusing on internal growing systems for the vegetable market. The economic conditions of the last four or five years have created a slowdown for structures suppliers on the floriculture side.

“There’s consolidation going on with growers in the floriculture market. Deals are being made, land is being bought, and with that land comes greenhouses. I think it’s putting people a little more in a renovation mindset than a build mindset,” Vezdos says. “The vegetable market  is one of the areas of the market that’s growing. We’re working on vegetable projects that are from 25 acres down to a half acre.”

The end result for Rough Brothers should be a higher profile nationally and a wider segment of growers to work with.

“People in the Southern states are going to be seeing us a lot more. And I think some people didn’t consider Rough Brothers in the past because they thought we sold only the Cadillac and didn’t sell a Chevy,” Vezdos says. “So now we have new customers, we have new products to offer existing customers, and you have the whole new market with vegetables that’s entering into the greenhouse business.”

Richard Jones is the group editor for Greenhouse Grower and Today's Garden Center magazines.
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