Now that Monrovia has hired Mike Trebing, the former Hines Nurseries senior vice president for sales and marketing, growers and retailers are concluding that Monrovia will ultimately wind up working with box stores.
We’ve taken a few of the most insightful comments on GreenhouseGrower.com and our sister magazine’s website, TodaysGardenCenter.com, and repositioned them here. Some of the content has been edited for clarity and the majority of the comments have been made anonymously. Here’s what growers and retailers are saying about Monrovia now:
“Monrovia is a great nursery. There are many other great nurseries. Many already sell to the box stores. While I see the symbolism that this change might bring, I have to ask: Is Monrovia really that important to us? Every other major brand, from Blooms of Bressingham to Proven Winners to Smith and Hawken have built their brand on the backs of independents and then given the benefits to the boxes. That is likely how it will always be. Everybody starts small and hopes to make the big time someday. All the more reason to build your own brand around your own garden center and carry the best, cheapest plants you can find regardless of where they come from.”–RGC, TodaysGardenCenter.com
“I believe it is rather disingenuous for [Monrovia CEO Miles] Rosedale to say that Mr. Trebing was hired ‘to explore the box store channel.’ I think it is highly unlikely the box stores are going to wait until the end of January to see if the independent garden centers (IGCs) rally around Monrovia before placing orders. I believe it likely they have very elaborate marketing plans that are well underway, including Monrovia product. It is also my belief that once Monrovia heads down this path they won’t be able to turn back. The box stores will become an ever-increasing percentage of business for Monrovia. They (Monrovia) will never be able to walk away from them.”–Anonymous, TodaysGardenCenter.com
“One thing I can see as a small garden center: There is a change coming. Small garden centers have got to find products and companies that do not sell to box stores. The writing is on the wall with Monrovia. We have carried them for years. I guess that will end now because Home Depot and the like will have them. I know that when I attend trade shows I ask the vendors if they deal with the box stores. If they do, I move on.”–Anonymous, GreenhouseGrower.com
“Given the current conditions of the economy and a long slog for the next three years or so, I believe Monrovia will have no alternative but to move into the box stores. The other choice would be to scale down radically, give up their dominance, be a new smaller company and stay with the independents. I just don’t see that happening. The creditors will not be satisfied that this one time bailout with sustain the company through this awful building recession. They simple have no choice.”–Nick Hudson, TodaysGardenCenter.com
More growers and retailers are sharing their two cents on Monrovia’s decision to hire Trebing. Check out what they’re saying at GreenhouseGrower.com and TodaysGardenCenter.com, and let us know what you think.