Zelenka Farms, which has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, says LM Farms, which owns Gardens Alive!, has purchased the company and all of its assets.
BFN Operations LLC and its affiliated entities, d/b/a Zelenka Farms, operated one of the largest wholesale nurseries in the U.S. Its products include shrubs, trees, perennials, roses, and groundcovers.
The owners of Gardens Alive! have successfully purchased several other companies from bankruptcy and are experienced nursery managers. Niles Kinerk, Chairman of LM Farms, stated that “the opportunity to purchase Zelenka Farms assets and to continue the turnaround that is well underway is exactly the kind of opportunity that we look for. We understand the efforts of the management team led by Eric Ek and others have been successful, and we will support the management team in the coming months and years.”
Zelenka Farms operates its six facilities across the key growing regions in the U.S. in Oregon, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Michigan, North Carolina, and Texas. With approximately $130 million in annual sales, Zelenka Farms represents approximately 6% of the $2.2 billion wholesale nursery products industry and is one of only five competitors exceeding $100 million in sales.
Zelenka Farms’ scale remains critical to national home improvement and club retailers. Zelenka Farms markets products under its own brand and through a broad line of licensed brands in the industry. Big box retailers are currently the primary buyers of plants from Zelenka Farms, with Zelenka Farms’ key customers including Lowe’s, Kmart, ShopKo, Rural King, Home Depot, and Meijer. Zelenka Farms produces approximately 5,000 stock items (distinct container grown plants), which are grown in multiple climates to serve customers coast to coast. Zelenka Farms distributes products directly to retail stores and handles complex inventory and distribution logistics for customers.
Before its purchase by Berry Farms, Zelenka was a major supplier to independent garden centers. Gardens Alive! intends to develop products and programs designed specifically for independent garden centers and to rebuild this business, providing competitive pricing on more than 5,000 plant varieties currently grown on its farms. Additionally, Gardens Alive! will introduce many varieties for exclusive sale to Independent Garden Centers only.
“Independent garden centers provide a great service to their local communities,” says Kinerk. “I feel that a well-run independent garden center is a wonderful cultural resource which makes its surrounding community a better place in which to live.”
Zelenka Farms plans to keep substantially all of the assets associated with its business and will continue to serve all of its customers under the Gardens Alive! trademark. “Gardens Alive! has begun a critical analysis of all business operations, and the company will develop a business that can operate profitably for the benefit of all stakeholders,” says Kinerk.