Is the Pot Half Full?
You probably recognize the olive green containers with the familiar Monrovia logo seen at nurseries and garden centers (and not the big box stores). What we know about Monrovia Nurseries is that the plants are uniform, well-grown, often new introductions, and good value. This week’s interview is with Miles Rosedale, the CEO of Monrovia Nurseries in Azusa, California, and the son of the founder of the company.
How is Monrovia coping with, and adapting to the challenges in the garden industry for the 21st century – especially in this economy with the housing crisis? If people aren’t buying new homes, they aren’t putting in new landscapes. In mid-December, Monrovia sent an e-mail to their customers – independent retail garden centers – stating in part, “Our banks have expressed their concern by giving us until January 31 to show significant improvement [$20 million] to our 2011 bookings or face a distressed sale of our inventories.” Monrovia offered an incentive with 35% to 50% discounts to encourage customers to help them make this goal, but also included a comment some retailers read as a threat.
“Candidly, we are being advised by our lenders and their advisors to sell to the big box channel if we are unable to significantly increase our booked orders.”
A group of retailers responded with a letter of support saying that they intended to help Monrovia. Others wondered if they would see even more competition from the box stores, and what increasing orders with Monrovia might do to other, smaller suppliers.
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