Hines Announces New Name & Management Team

Hines Announces New Name & Management Team

Hines Horticulture is now Hines Nurseries, following Black Diamond Capital Management’s purchase of it earlier this year. A new management team is also in place. It includes:

- Bob Sands, president and chief executive officer
–John Krajanowski, chief operating officer and chief production officer
–Claudia Pieropan, senior vice president and chief financial officer
–Mike Trebing, senior vice president of sales and marketing

All four have extensive experience in the industry. Sands most recently served Bordier’s Nursery, another growing operation that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late last year, as president and CEO. He also served Powell Plant Farms in the same roles.

Trebing, who previously worked at Hines for more than 25 years in various sales and marketing capacities, now returns to the operation. Krajanowski and Pieropan are existing Hines employees.

“As a company we are returning to our core values and business philosophies which the company has been built upon over the last 90 years,” Trebing says. “As an outcome of the bankruptcy, Hines has emerged with one of the cleanest balance sheets in the nursery business.  During these challenging economic times, that flexibility will help Hines rebuild its operations and inventory.”

For more information on Hines, visit HinesHort.com

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54 comments on “Hines Announces New Name & Management Team

  1. Unbelievable, this guy is bragging about having one of the cleanest balance sheets in the industry. Wouldn’t we all like to have all our debt just disappear? However, this is at a horrendous cost to suppliers who were just discarded. Are these same suppliers going to do business with them? Experience?? Why should this team, whom all come from companies that they helped bankrupt–Bordiers, Hines, and Powell be expected to do anything different? They can continue doing the same things that bankrupt their respective companies now that their debt load is gone.

  2. I have to agree with the previous comments. Besides, isn’t it a condition of Chapter 11 that you have to maintain a very clean balance sheet?

  3. You can’t blame one person for the bad judgement of a few, But the fact is the same person has run mutible companies and those companies are in restructure? Is there more to this? I have been in the industry for many years and have been fortunate to work for people that make the priority customer service!! Customer service!! And More Customer Service, by the way kinda bugs the crap out of me when I shop, And then take care of the EMPLOYEE, for those that have worked for this co. it was at one time the best of the best, I can honestly say that this in a way is a personal and finacial way was the best time of my life, I guess what I’m saying is that I hate to c as the my kid’s say are good people and JOBS go because of a few bad mistakes or dicision’s. I no better time’s are coming but I never made the bad times.

  4. PA-LEEZE tell me we are being “punked” here. When does Ashton Kutcher jump out from behind that last ridiculous paragraph and say “gotcha”? Do I hear the “Candid Camera” theme song playing? Black Diamond, I hope you are prepared to have your balance sheets cleaned.

  5. And they laughed when Nardelli took over Chrysler… these Equity dudes are just following Cerberus’ business model. Hines should now merge with FIAT.

  6. Black Diamond isn’t interested in the nursery business! They are ONLY interested in the Land that these businesses are on. At least the land that is owned, not the leased portions. My understanding is that Black Diamond is behind: Bordiers and Color Spot (which now includes Powell). These businesses will only be memories in the not so distant future. However, how many other nurseries and suppliers will they take down as they decline.

  7. A great leadership team built on a record of failure.In addition to Bordiers,Hines and Powell, how many other greenhouse operations have closed or filed for bankruptcy since January 1,08? Perhaps, those are the places to look for leadership talent!

  8. They may have a clean balance sheet, that debt did not
    blow in the wind. It takes a hit on the vender balance
    sheet. No one should brag about that.

  9. This must be a belated April Fool’s Joke. The new CEO is a big time loser. The COO is the guy who failed several times in the past for Hines. The CFO was there during all of this trouble, and did nothing. The VP of Sales and Marketing is a castoff from before and a complete fraud. This is a perfect example that just because someone has money it does NOT make them smart…

    Bordier’s Nursery was driven into the ground due to Sands. His record at Powell is just as bad. Who is the idiot that hired this people? My company will NOT sell anything to Hines Nursery. They screwed us once, but not again.

  10. I agree with all of you. What arrogance!! Cleanest balance sheet at the cost of others!!!! This guy should be fired just for that comment alone. Don’t come knocking on our door for a job after you Bankrupt this one too Mike!

  11. There is alot of ignorant comments on here. The previous leadership at hines was by far the main reason for there failure. Not the current one. Arrogance for just stating the facts? Some of these insecure winers on here should realize that the whole nursery industry suffers when the housing market collapts.

  12. Bob Sands and his associates ruined Bordier’s. That’s a fact. Bordiers, (along with Monrovia Nursery) had for many years established the standard by which it’s competitors were measured. Mr. Sands should be ashamed of himself. The way he ran Bordier’s into the ground and more importantly took the suppliers down with him is sickening. What is more sickening is that he deludes himself into thinking he did a great job. What a sad, sick person. I pity him.

  13. They were forced into bankruptcy by Black Diamond, as the senior debt holder, in order to acquire the assets and position themselves for other acquisitions. A smooth move in the business world, but very negatively viewed by the old school nursery industry. There are other nurseries, with even greater arrogance than Hines, who are in similar positions financially and could come under the same umbrella. Consolidation is inevitable at this point, so be careful who you “partner” with in the future. The good old days of integrity and honor may be soon gone in our business.

  14. Bob Sands, president and chief executive officer…indeed…This guy has ruined every nursery he has come in contact with…his style is nothing but self-empowered and arrogant…The Black Diamond guys and the Hines group will see what he really is…Sands is nothing more than a charlatan.

  15. Having Bob Sands at the wheel is like hiring a kamikaze pilot to fly the corporate jet with Trebing on board as a time bomb to ensure the craft goes down. I’ve never seen such egos or complete dependence upon glib tongues, acronyms, the need to demean others, and a committee or consultant to approve toilet visits. What blatant arrogance to speak of clean balance sheets. The article did not mention of Trebing’s stint at Bordier’s during its downturn. Just as it isn’t a requirement that a nursery CEO know how to grow plants, it is also not a requirement that a bakery owner know how to bake. However, it is of great benefit to his busines if he possesses a sense of taste. The “little numbers in little boxes” fixation that rules the life of Bob Sands has left destruction and discarded bodies behind. What a crime! Emplouyees, those both with and without formal education, built Bordier’s into an example of professionalism and product quality envied by the nursery. Their hands, minds, and hearts all strived for quality with the common goal being sucess. Enter the Pale Rider.
    One can blame weather, fire, or economic downturn, but Bob Sand’s fingerprints are on the gaveyard shovel. How very sad. Black Diamond must use the same press release media as did the Lusitania.

  16. Some idiot uttered…

    There is alot of ignorant comments on here. The previous leadership at hines was by far the main reason for there failure. Not the current one. Arrogance for just stating the facts? Some of these insecure winers on here should realize that the whole nursery industry suffers when the housing market collapts.

    You Sir, (or Madam) are awash in the arrogance of those of whom you defend. as a former employee of Bordier’s I witnessed up close the demise brought on by Bob Sands and his ilk. This arrogant S.O.B. even has the guts to sign up as a claimant in the Bordier’s bankrupcy to the tune of $14,000.00 for accrued vacation, even as the charred remains of HUNDREDS of employees smolder in his wake. But now another group of sheep are bleating his name, only to soon be offered up for slaughter.

    Nice knowin’ ya Bob, have fun in Hell you self important gas bag.

  17. Another ignorant comment. Charred remains of hundreds of employees smolder in his wake? Sheep are bleating his name only to soon be offered up for slaughter? What is this guy Adolf Hitler? Put down the bong there is help out there. I am sure there is a support group near you.

  18. If by “previous leadership” you mean Madison Dearborn, Tennant, Rob Ferguson, Dunbar, Krajanowski, Pieropan and the other two dolts Ferguson brought in ’05 & ’06 then you are absolutely correct. This previous leadership is absolutely responsible for the failure of Hines financially and culturally. These people cashed in on all this once great company stood for and achieved to promote themselves. If you will notice two of these people are still here. These two also made significant bonuses in 2008 while Hines avoided paying what they owed to their vendors partners.

    How Circle-K (as Krajanowski is known) ever talked his way into remaining with and positioning himself in his current position (COO and CPO?) at Hines is a mystery to all who know him and his skill level. I guess continuing to blame Dunbar and others for the complete failure of the systems he developed is working. His absolute arrogance and complete lack of operational experience and leadership is exactly what Hines doesn’t need at this time.

    Pieropan has been there for the entire show and failure. It is easy to monitor numbers (as an accountant) if you don’t have to take responsibility or ownership for the failure of the leadership or its strategies. She puts in allot of hours but that is it. I know this is not PC to pick on a nice lady but it is an accurate accounting of her contributions and skill level.

    Pieropan and Circle-K have formed a strange alliance that will continue to inhibit Hines from bringing in leaders with actual Industry experience that could help Hines.

    Unfortunately Trebing was simply stating the company line (Sands/Pieropan/Black Diamond’s) about having the “cleanest balance sheet in the industry”. The rest of us actually have to pay our partner vendors. This is simply stupid public relations and a complete lack of respect for all of us out here that had to write off all that was owed us so that Hines could clean up their balance sheet.

    Black Diamond is as blind to the needs of running a business in this industry as every other investor and financial player who has ever tried in the past. This is obvious by the players they have assembled to try to turn Hines around. Circle-K who is a legend in his own mind, Pieropan who is a hard working accountant and Bob Sands with a long history of failing. This combination of individuals would seem lethal to anyone with an ounce of business acumen or leadership experience. They are incapable of providing any new leadership or concepts needed to turn Hines around. This will be obvious as Black Diamond looks to spin off sites and land to recoup the cost of a foolish purchase

    Don’t be fooled into believing Hines failed because of the current economic conditions. Hines started failing 6-7 years ago- Mr Ferguson. It is public record. Check it out.

    Before too many people respond by throwing stones at Hines be careful, there are many other companies out there that will soon close their doors because of poor performance. Hopefully they will not personally profit, be abusive to their people, abandon common decency and leave others to pay for their debts as Hines has done this past 12 months.

  19. I find the last responder (dated May 7th) to the Hines’ management change article to be rather refreshing by comparison to a lot of the other comments that were made about the piece. I found it to be productive and heartfelt in its content. It still leaves, however, something unanswered: What would any of us propose that Hines do to “get it the right” this time. I have been in this business for perhaps too many years and am fully aware of the changes that have happened in the last number of them to our industry. When one considers the ever shrinking margins, the demands being made by the customer, their lack of real commitment to any ownership of forecasted product and the challenges of the business itself, one must ask “how does one survive in this industry?” Perhaps it is time for us all to understand that our business is changing and certainly driving towards new vistas. These new vistas will obviously create new requirements and demands that have never been a part of this business before. Maybe it’s no that we work together and assess where it is we are as an industry and collectively come up with solutions rather than fighting the inevitable. As Pogo once said “we have found the enemy and he is “us”. Those that develop the things that will help us to survive in the future will be the survivors of the future. I would strongly recommend that we use this and other sites as a forum on how we can “do it right” in the next step of our journey to first survive and then succeed.

  20. As mentioned above, the downward slide of many large growers began in the late 90’s — Hines got to play its role out in the media as a public company. As these companies either crumble or re-emerge better structured for the future, the same mis-informed commentary like much of the above that helped drive those companies downhill will continue to follow them as beacons as to what should be. In line with the May 8th comments, time to tune out the complainers and get behind those that are working to drive our industry to survive and thrive going forward.

  21. It was interesting reading some of the comments contained herein.

    It is obvious that many nursery companies have been undergoing hard times over the past many years. Those years have included economic stresses all over the US and in many industries. Those years also included the ever increasing power of the large retailers like Walmart and Home Depot. Cost management is the main driver for these companies. Their secondary driver is to put their competition out of business with low prices. Hines and many other companies have been hurt in this environment. My point is that individual managers have been fighting a difficult battle for a long time and that it is unfair to blame them solely. I didn’t read anything from any other posters who give me any confidence that they would know what to do.

    Some posters representing suppliers are mad because they didn’t get paid for recent purchases. That is what happens in bankruptcy. Every supplier knew the environment, particularly for a public company like Hines. Terms of sale are always negotiable and cash in advance is always an option. In other words, vendors need to have their eyes wide open at all times. After considering debt load and payroll, there is no reason for anyone to have lost a great deal of money on Hines.

    Some former employees of Hines and other nurseries are mad. This is happening everywhere. Have you heard of 10% unemployment? Have you heard of permanent unemployment? How about pay cuts? There is plenty of pain out there and it is not just in the nursery industry. The heady days of the nineties are over and they are not coming back anytime soon. The world has changed. The economy has changed. We now live in the land of bubbles, deficits, deflation maybe instead of inflation, tax increases, the demise of the housing industry, uncertainty in areas of war and peace and things like fuel supply, and layoffs in the public sector including the threat of bankruptcy in government entities. It is easy to make bad guys out of a few management members, but lets get realistic here.

    The comment from the sales manager about a clean balance sheet is valid. During the nineties Hines and other nurseries got involved in leveraged buyouts which did make some investors wealthy, but also set up the method to expand by acquiring other businesses. With the changed environment all mentioned above, this strategy obviously did not work. The debt incurred by this stategy became too onerous and strangled the company. Employees and vendors got hurt. Other than downsizing and restructuring, what other avenues would have worked? I am sure that over the last ten or more years, current management and prior managements looked diligently for the winning formula. What did they miss? In all likelihood, everything tried made sense at the time. The sands shifted and shifted some more and finally nothing worked. If, in fact, debt levels really are down to a low level, Hines will have a chance to regroup and come out fighting in this increasingly difficult economy. Good luck.

    My big question is, can any large nursery company survive in this new business environment? Hines always stressed high quality of product and continuous improvement, but at the cost of HIGH overhead. I think that they forgot to keep things simple “stupid” and made some things too complicated. When business declined Hines was caught with too many employees, too many high paying employees, expensive systems and processes which no longer could be justified, and a lack of imagination about how to get back on the winning track. The main ingredient to success today is LOW cost. There are plenty of small, regional nurseries who already have low costs and are taking costs lower out of necessity. Passing along cost increases like in the old days is not going to happen. You have got to compete with these guys. During an economy like the one we have today, it is totally justified to take the axe to all cost areas including and especially payroll. Pay levels in all areas should be closer to starting pay rates than not. Even experienced people need to be reevaluated with pay reset at competitive levels. If travel and expensive junkets are still happening, take a closer look. Don’t commit to customer driven cost increases unless the customer will pay for it with a profit on top. The small nurseries will be happy to fill any spots which Hines turns down. If the small companies can make money, watch how they do it and then copy them. I was sorry to read of Hines recent struggles and I hope Hines makes it.

  22. It looks like Hines is going down for a second time in two years. It is their own fault. They should have replaced the CFO two years ago with a financial person that can make the tough decisions. Hines has to much SG&A. They wanted their customers to pay more for the product they sell versus what the competition charges. That is not going to happen. Cost reduction is the only way to make money in this market. With the demise of Hines and a few other nurseries the market will get stronger for the rest of us who made the right decisions in the past several years. Sweet Dreams

  23. I don’t know some of these guys but I do know John K from when he was in the northeast. He’s been called a lot of things (good and not so good depending what side of the room you were on, never something goofy like circle k, I guess some bitter dude has a chip in his shoulder) but he’s an upfront guy that I would work with again anytime. Anybody who has been in a bankruptcy knows that it is full of tough choices. Don’t envy any of them.

  24. Bob Sands and Mike Trebing left Bordier’s high and dry only caring about themselves. They did so in a very sneaky, unprofessional way. How many more lifes are they going to destroy. As long as they have their big salaries, nice cars, and big houses that is all that matters to them. Stay clear of anything they are involved with. Sad the Bordier brothers spent years building a great business and it took them only 5 or 6 years to destroy. Karma is going to come back and bite them in the —!!!

  25. To many anonymous responses. Why not come together to discuss your problems? The sneaking around is how you all get into these problems.

  26. Unbelievable, this guy is bragging about having one of the cleanest balance sheets in the industry. Wouldn’t we all like to have all our debt just disappear? However, this is at a horrendous cost to suppliers who were just discarded. Are these same suppliers going to do business with them? Experience?? Why should this team, whom all come from companies that they helped bankrupt–Bordiers, Hines, and Powell be expected to do anything different? They can continue doing the same things that bankrupt their respective companies now that their debt load is gone.

  27. I have to agree with the previous comments. Besides, isn’t it a condition of Chapter 11 that you have to maintain a very clean balance sheet?

  28. You can’t blame one person for the bad judgement of a few, But the fact is the same person has run mutible companies and those companies are in restructure? Is there more to this? I have been in the industry for many years and have been fortunate to work for people that make the priority customer service!! Customer service!! And More Customer Service, by the way kinda bugs the crap out of me when I shop, And then take care of the EMPLOYEE, for those that have worked for this co. it was at one time the best of the best, I can honestly say that this in a way is a personal and finacial way was the best time of my life, I guess what I’m saying is that I hate to c as the my kid’s say are good people and JOBS go because of a few bad mistakes or dicision’s. I no better time’s are coming but I never made the bad times.

  29. PA-LEEZE tell me we are being “punked” here. When does Ashton Kutcher jump out from behind that last ridiculous paragraph and say “gotcha”? Do I hear the “Candid Camera” theme song playing? Black Diamond, I hope you are prepared to have your balance sheets cleaned.

  30. And they laughed when Nardelli took over Chrysler… these Equity dudes are just following Cerberus’ business model. Hines should now merge with FIAT.

  31. Black Diamond isn’t interested in the nursery business! They are ONLY interested in the Land that these businesses are on. At least the land that is owned, not the leased portions. My understanding is that Black Diamond is behind: Bordiers and Color Spot (which now includes Powell). These businesses will only be memories in the not so distant future. However, how many other nurseries and suppliers will they take down as they decline.

  32. A great leadership team built on a record of failure.In addition to Bordiers,Hines and Powell, how many other greenhouse operations have closed or filed for bankruptcy since January 1,08? Perhaps, those are the places to look for leadership talent!

  33. They may have a clean balance sheet, that debt did not
    blow in the wind. It takes a hit on the vender balance
    sheet. No one should brag about that.

  34. This must be a belated April Fool’s Joke. The new CEO is a big time loser. The COO is the guy who failed several times in the past for Hines. The CFO was there during all of this trouble, and did nothing. The VP of Sales and Marketing is a castoff from before and a complete fraud. This is a perfect example that just because someone has money it does NOT make them smart…

    Bordier’s Nursery was driven into the ground due to Sands. His record at Powell is just as bad. Who is the idiot that hired this people? My company will NOT sell anything to Hines Nursery. They screwed us once, but not again.

  35. I agree with all of you. What arrogance!! Cleanest balance sheet at the cost of others!!!! This guy should be fired just for that comment alone. Don’t come knocking on our door for a job after you Bankrupt this one too Mike!

  36. There is alot of ignorant comments on here. The previous leadership at hines was by far the main reason for there failure. Not the current one. Arrogance for just stating the facts? Some of these insecure winers on here should realize that the whole nursery industry suffers when the housing market collapts.

  37. Bob Sands and his associates ruined Bordier’s. That’s a fact. Bordiers, (along with Monrovia Nursery) had for many years established the standard by which it’s competitors were measured. Mr. Sands should be ashamed of himself. The way he ran Bordier’s into the ground and more importantly took the suppliers down with him is sickening. What is more sickening is that he deludes himself into thinking he did a great job. What a sad, sick person. I pity him.

  38. They were forced into bankruptcy by Black Diamond, as the senior debt holder, in order to acquire the assets and position themselves for other acquisitions. A smooth move in the business world, but very negatively viewed by the old school nursery industry. There are other nurseries, with even greater arrogance than Hines, who are in similar positions financially and could come under the same umbrella. Consolidation is inevitable at this point, so be careful who you “partner” with in the future. The good old days of integrity and honor may be soon gone in our business.

  39. Bob Sands, president and chief executive officer…indeed…This guy has ruined every nursery he has come in contact with…his style is nothing but self-empowered and arrogant…The Black Diamond guys and the Hines group will see what he really is…Sands is nothing more than a charlatan.

  40. Having Bob Sands at the wheel is like hiring a kamikaze pilot to fly the corporate jet with Trebing on board as a time bomb to ensure the craft goes down. I’ve never seen such egos or complete dependence upon glib tongues, acronyms, the need to demean others, and a committee or consultant to approve toilet visits. What blatant arrogance to speak of clean balance sheets. The article did not mention of Trebing’s stint at Bordier’s during its downturn. Just as it isn’t a requirement that a nursery CEO know how to grow plants, it is also not a requirement that a bakery owner know how to bake. However, it is of great benefit to his busines if he possesses a sense of taste. The “little numbers in little boxes” fixation that rules the life of Bob Sands has left destruction and discarded bodies behind. What a crime! Emplouyees, those both with and without formal education, built Bordier’s into an example of professionalism and product quality envied by the nursery. Their hands, minds, and hearts all strived for quality with the common goal being sucess. Enter the Pale Rider.
    One can blame weather, fire, or economic downturn, but Bob Sand’s fingerprints are on the gaveyard shovel. How very sad. Black Diamond must use the same press release media as did the Lusitania.

  41. Some idiot uttered…

    There is alot of ignorant comments on here. The previous leadership at hines was by far the main reason for there failure. Not the current one. Arrogance for just stating the facts? Some of these insecure winers on here should realize that the whole nursery industry suffers when the housing market collapts.

    You Sir, (or Madam) are awash in the arrogance of those of whom you defend. as a former employee of Bordier’s I witnessed up close the demise brought on by Bob Sands and his ilk. This arrogant S.O.B. even has the guts to sign up as a claimant in the Bordier’s bankrupcy to the tune of $14,000.00 for accrued vacation, even as the charred remains of HUNDREDS of employees smolder in his wake. But now another group of sheep are bleating his name, only to soon be offered up for slaughter.

    Nice knowin’ ya Bob, have fun in Hell you self important gas bag.

  42. Another ignorant comment. Charred remains of hundreds of employees smolder in his wake? Sheep are bleating his name only to soon be offered up for slaughter? What is this guy Adolf Hitler? Put down the bong there is help out there. I am sure there is a support group near you.

  43. If by “previous leadership” you mean Madison Dearborn, Tennant, Rob Ferguson, Dunbar, Krajanowski, Pieropan and the other two dolts Ferguson brought in ’05 & ’06 then you are absolutely correct. This previous leadership is absolutely responsible for the failure of Hines financially and culturally. These people cashed in on all this once great company stood for and achieved to promote themselves. If you will notice two of these people are still here. These two also made significant bonuses in 2008 while Hines avoided paying what they owed to their vendors partners.

    How Circle-K (as Krajanowski is known) ever talked his way into remaining with and positioning himself in his current position (COO and CPO?) at Hines is a mystery to all who know him and his skill level. I guess continuing to blame Dunbar and others for the complete failure of the systems he developed is working. His absolute arrogance and complete lack of operational experience and leadership is exactly what Hines doesn’t need at this time.

    Pieropan has been there for the entire show and failure. It is easy to monitor numbers (as an accountant) if you don’t have to take responsibility or ownership for the failure of the leadership or its strategies. She puts in allot of hours but that is it. I know this is not PC to pick on a nice lady but it is an accurate accounting of her contributions and skill level.

    Pieropan and Circle-K have formed a strange alliance that will continue to inhibit Hines from bringing in leaders with actual Industry experience that could help Hines.

    Unfortunately Trebing was simply stating the company line (Sands/Pieropan/Black Diamond’s) about having the “cleanest balance sheet in the industry”. The rest of us actually have to pay our partner vendors. This is simply stupid public relations and a complete lack of respect for all of us out here that had to write off all that was owed us so that Hines could clean up their balance sheet.

    Black Diamond is as blind to the needs of running a business in this industry as every other investor and financial player who has ever tried in the past. This is obvious by the players they have assembled to try to turn Hines around. Circle-K who is a legend in his own mind, Pieropan who is a hard working accountant and Bob Sands with a long history of failing. This combination of individuals would seem lethal to anyone with an ounce of business acumen or leadership experience. They are incapable of providing any new leadership or concepts needed to turn Hines around. This will be obvious as Black Diamond looks to spin off sites and land to recoup the cost of a foolish purchase

    Don’t be fooled into believing Hines failed because of the current economic conditions. Hines started failing 6-7 years ago- Mr Ferguson. It is public record. Check it out.

    Before too many people respond by throwing stones at Hines be careful, there are many other companies out there that will soon close their doors because of poor performance. Hopefully they will not personally profit, be abusive to their people, abandon common decency and leave others to pay for their debts as Hines has done this past 12 months.

  44. I find the last responder (dated May 7th) to the Hines’ management change article to be rather refreshing by comparison to a lot of the other comments that were made about the piece. I found it to be productive and heartfelt in its content. It still leaves, however, something unanswered: What would any of us propose that Hines do to “get it the right” this time. I have been in this business for perhaps too many years and am fully aware of the changes that have happened in the last number of them to our industry. When one considers the ever shrinking margins, the demands being made by the customer, their lack of real commitment to any ownership of forecasted product and the challenges of the business itself, one must ask “how does one survive in this industry?” Perhaps it is time for us all to understand that our business is changing and certainly driving towards new vistas. These new vistas will obviously create new requirements and demands that have never been a part of this business before. Maybe it’s no that we work together and assess where it is we are as an industry and collectively come up with solutions rather than fighting the inevitable. As Pogo once said “we have found the enemy and he is “us”. Those that develop the things that will help us to survive in the future will be the survivors of the future. I would strongly recommend that we use this and other sites as a forum on how we can “do it right” in the next step of our journey to first survive and then succeed.

  45. As mentioned above, the downward slide of many large growers began in the late 90’s — Hines got to play its role out in the media as a public company. As these companies either crumble or re-emerge better structured for the future, the same mis-informed commentary like much of the above that helped drive those companies downhill will continue to follow them as beacons as to what should be. In line with the May 8th comments, time to tune out the complainers and get behind those that are working to drive our industry to survive and thrive going forward.

  46. I don’t know some of these guys but I do know John K from when he was in the northeast. He’s been called a lot of things (good and not so good depending what side of the room you were on, never something goofy like circle k, I guess some bitter dude has a chip in his shoulder) but he’s an upfront guy that I would work with again anytime. Anybody who has been in a bankruptcy knows that it is full of tough choices. Don’t envy any of them.

  47. Bob Sands and Mike Trebing left Bordier’s high and dry only caring about themselves. They did so in a very sneaky, unprofessional way. How many more lifes are they going to destroy. As long as they have their big salaries, nice cars, and big houses that is all that matters to them. Stay clear of anything they are involved with. Sad the Bordier brothers spent years building a great business and it took them only 5 or 6 years to destroy. Karma is going to come back and bite them in the —!!!

  48. To many anonymous responses. Why not come together to discuss your problems? The sneaking around is how you all get into these problems.

  49. It was interesting reading some of the comments contained herein.

    It is obvious that many nursery companies have been undergoing hard times over the past many years. Those years have included economic stresses all over the US and in many industries. Those years also included the ever increasing power of the large retailers like Walmart and Home Depot. Cost management is the main driver for these companies. Their secondary driver is to put their competition out of business with low prices. Hines and many other companies have been hurt in this environment. My point is that individual managers have been fighting a difficult battle for a long time and that it is unfair to blame them solely. I didn’t read anything from any other posters who give me any confidence that they would know what to do.

    Some posters representing suppliers are mad because they didn’t get paid for recent purchases. That is what happens in bankruptcy. Every supplier knew the environment, particularly for a public company like Hines. Terms of sale are always negotiable and cash in advance is always an option. In other words, vendors need to have their eyes wide open at all times. After considering debt load and payroll, there is no reason for anyone to have lost a great deal of money on Hines.

    Some former employees of Hines and other nurseries are mad. This is happening everywhere. Have you heard of 10% unemployment? Have you heard of permanent unemployment? How about pay cuts? There is plenty of pain out there and it is not just in the nursery industry. The heady days of the nineties are over and they are not coming back anytime soon. The world has changed. The economy has changed. We now live in the land of bubbles, deficits, deflation maybe instead of inflation, tax increases, the demise of the housing industry, uncertainty in areas of war and peace and things like fuel supply, and layoffs in the public sector including the threat of bankruptcy in government entities. It is easy to make bad guys out of a few management members, but lets get realistic here.

    The comment from the sales manager about a clean balance sheet is valid. During the nineties Hines and other nurseries got involved in leveraged buyouts which did make some investors wealthy, but also set up the method to expand by acquiring other businesses. With the changed environment all mentioned above, this strategy obviously did not work. The debt incurred by this stategy became too onerous and strangled the company. Employees and vendors got hurt. Other than downsizing and restructuring, what other avenues would have worked? I am sure that over the last ten or more years, current management and prior managements looked diligently for the winning formula. What did they miss? In all likelihood, everything tried made sense at the time. The sands shifted and shifted some more and finally nothing worked. If, in fact, debt levels really are down to a low level, Hines will have a chance to regroup and come out fighting in this increasingly difficult economy. Good luck.

    My big question is, can any large nursery company survive in this new business environment? Hines always stressed high quality of product and continuous improvement, but at the cost of HIGH overhead. I think that they forgot to keep things simple “stupid” and made some things too complicated. When business declined Hines was caught with too many employees, too many high paying employees, expensive systems and processes which no longer could be justified, and a lack of imagination about how to get back on the winning track. The main ingredient to success today is LOW cost. There are plenty of small, regional nurseries who already have low costs and are taking costs lower out of necessity. Passing along cost increases like in the old days is not going to happen. You have got to compete with these guys. During an economy like the one we have today, it is totally justified to take the axe to all cost areas including and especially payroll. Pay levels in all areas should be closer to starting pay rates than not. Even experienced people need to be reevaluated with pay reset at competitive levels. If travel and expensive junkets are still happening, take a closer look. Don’t commit to customer driven cost increases unless the customer will pay for it with a profit on top. The small nurseries will be happy to fill any spots which Hines turns down. If the small companies can make money, watch how they do it and then copy them. I was sorry to read of Hines recent struggles and I hope Hines makes it.

  50. It looks like Hines is going down for a second time in two years. It is their own fault. They should have replaced the CFO two years ago with a financial person that can make the tough decisions. Hines has to much SG&A. They wanted their customers to pay more for the product they sell versus what the competition charges. That is not going to happen. Cost reduction is the only way to make money in this market. With the demise of Hines and a few other nurseries the market will get stronger for the rest of us who made the right decisions in the past several years. Sweet Dreams

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