The Jan. 31 deadline finally came early last week and it went without Monrovia reaching its target of $20 million in incremental sales from independent garden center (IGC) retailers.
Monrovia did secure $12 million in additional sales, but because it fell 40 percent short of a bank-mandated goal, the company was forced to look for alternative ways to move inventory. Monrovia found a solution with Home Depot, which will carry unbranded plants from Monrovia in the Western United States this spring.
Not surprisingly, a number of GreenhouseGrower.com readers have reacted strongly over the last week to the news, forming two distinct camps of readers. One camp is rather understanding of Monrovia’s predicament, taking the stance that the company has the right to take whatever action necessary to ensure it stays in business. The other camp is far less sympathetic, contending Monrovia, like many companies before it, will jump at big box business when the opportunity presents itself.
GreenhouseGrower.com polled its readers last week, asking them whether they were surprised Monrovia is doing business at the box store level now that it did not meet its $20 million target. Of the 125-plus growers who responded, nearly 90 percent indicate they are not surprised. About 4 percent say they are surprised Monrovia is now working with the box stores while the other 6 percent is indifferent.
What’s your take on the development? Let us know in the comments section below. Here’s how a few other GreenhouseGrower.com readers have reacted:
–”Monrovia has a right like everyone else to do what they need to do to remain in business. They went above and beyond what any other company would do by letting us all know what was going on with them financially and how everyone can help. They are continuing to protect their IGC interests by offering non-branded product without the box store discounted rates. Find another company that is that concerned about their credibility and reputation. There isn’t one. They deserve to stay in business and they deserve to have the industry support to do so.”
–”People are correct when they say Monrovia can sell to whomever they want to, but when your claim to fame is that you only sell to IGCs and then turn around and sell to the box stores, your credibility and your business go down [the tube].”
–”I need my job. I appreciate what Monrovia is doing because it keeps me employed. That’s part of the bigger picture people don’t think about. It would be easy to not sell to the box stores because of history and relationships but it could also mean hundreds, if not thousands, of people becoming unemployed. They are still trying to protect the IGCs, but also doing what they can to stay in business. Wouldn’t you do the same for your own company, or would you liquidate it if faced with this difficult decision?”
–”It’s amazing that a company with virtually no real competition for the last few years still ended up in this mess. They asked the IGCs for a bailout, pure and simple. They fell short, and now on to the boxes. Arrogance got them here and it will probably end up doing them in.”
for more reader reaction and scroll to the end of the story for the start of the comments section.