Monday

Park Seed Company Files for Chapter 11



The Park Seed Company has been providing garden seeds to American gardeners since 1868. So, it is a little bit scary to learn that they filed for Chapter 11 last Friday. Geo. W. Park Seed Company, Inc., Park Seed Wholesale Company, and the Jackson & Perkins Company plan to restructure and don't expect that customers will be affected.

Here's the press release made available to me by Park Seed.

On Friday, April 2, 2010, the Geo. W. Park Seed Company, Inc., Park Seed Wholesale Company, and the Jackson & Perkins Company voluntarily filed to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the District of South Carolina. Customers should not be affected by the filing. Park Seed/J&P’s Greenwood, SC, business office, Garden Center, Call Center, and websites are open and functioning normally. Shipping and receiving areas are continuing their daily operations, delivering products to gardeners around the country as their hardiness zones open for the Spring.

According to a company spokesperson, “The horticulture industry is challenging and highly seasonal in the best of times. As the general economic situation declined starting in 2008, demand for luxury, non-essential purchases dropped sharply. All of our brands experienced significant decreases in sales for core products, including roses, perennials, and garden-inspired gifts. This created cash-flow issues that worsened with each passing season. Despite deep cost-cutting and numerous attempts to execute supplier payment programs on our own, we simply could not meet our short- and long-term operating cash requirements. Seeking court protection and restructuring is clearly our best option for returning to a position where we can focus on delighting our customers and resuming sound relationships with our supply chain partners.”

The companies are currently functioning as a “debtor in possession,” under the leadership of a court-appointed Trustee. The companies have 120 days following the filing to prepare a plan that contains a new capital structure for the company and that treats all creditors equitably. The Park Seed Company/Jackson and Perkins management team is confident that this experience will ultimately strengthen the business and lead to long-term success.

# # #
The Geo. W. Park Seed Company, Inc. (ParkSeed.com) has been providing innovative, top-quality gardening products to generations of American gardeners since 1868.

Founded in 1872, Jackson & Perkins is America’s premier name in roses and garden-inspired gifts (JacksonandPerkins.com).

Park Seed Wholesale has everything needed to run a small to medium-sized greenhouse, nursery, or growing operation. Since 1870, Park Seed Wholesale (ParkSeedWholesale.com) has been known for delivering world-class products with downhome, friendly service.


I for one am rooting for them because it would be a shame for such an old seed house to go under. Especially when you consider how many new gardeners have taken up gardening in recent years. Although, it isn't surprising to learn that there's a decline in purchase of "luxury" goods when it related to gardening. It isn't just a symptom of the recession but a discernible movement within gardening.

Update: Carri brings up a good point below. On my Facebook page the conversation on this post took an interesting turn. I brought up last year's USA TODAY article about the increase in seed sales due to all the new gardeners and the recession. Carri pointed out that in that article Park Seed reported a 20% increase in seed sales compared to 2008. So, indeed: why is Park seed in trouble?

Update #2: In bad times, seed sales grow. hat tip: Carri via Facebook.

Update #3: I signed up with Google's Affiliate program through the MrBrownThumb blog. Moments ago I received an Email from them informing me the Jackson & Perkins affiliate program was being terminated effective tomorrow, April 7 "due to bankruptcy." It informs me that all links and banners belonging to Jackson & Perks have to be removed. If you're a blogger who has signed up for an affiliate program through sites other than Google you should check the status of the Jackson & Perkins and Park Seed programs you are part of.



11 comments:

  1. Not surprising.
    Gardens Alive bought Thompson & Morgan last fall and Value Seeds died in January. Times, they are a changing.
    http://directmag.com/catalogretail/news/garden-alive-thomson-morgan-0928/

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  2. Tina,

    The consolidation is something that worries me about the seed companies. I hope more and more regional seed companies/groups/collectors emerge to counter this.

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  3. There are promising signs. The Hudson Valley Seed Library started up just last year.

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  4. This baffles me- at a time when most seed companies are claiming business is booming- these guys are filing bankruptcy?! Is it because of poor management of funds?! I'd like to see an explanation from them as to why they are struggling before I start rooting (haha) them on for a successful recovery.

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  5. Xris,

    I follow them on Twitter and am a 'fan' on Facebook. I've never ordered from them but I have a deep affinity & respect for what those guys are doing. I gave them a couple of pics they could use in their catalog and I'm hoping to get a seed pack or two to profile on this blog because they are pretty rad.

    Carri,

    I think if they were just a seed house they may not be in this problem. But since they're tied up with J&P who sells "garden inspired gifts" that people aren't buying anymore their situation is worse than just the stand alone seed houses experiencing seed sale booms.

    I'm rooting for them so they don't end up getting sold off to another company where it will just get swallowed up.

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  6. I got some seeds from them, will be starting them soon (yeah, I know I'm late!).

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  7. MrBrownThumb, you've got it right. Seeds jumped up big in the last two years but before that it had been declining to a quite small percentage of the overall business. When the economy was going well, people were buying plants, from veggie 6-packs to 2-gallon trees. Adding a company with live plant gifts & premium roses made sense. When the tables turned, although seed sales went way up there was no way it could cover the costs associated with the other parts of the company. I look forward to seeing what happens next, and like you I am pulling hard for them to succeed.

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  8. Merging with J&P may have been a better move if they'd just LOWERED the prices to something most people would be willing to pay, rather than catering to folks with more dollars than sense. I hope Park makes it out alive!

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  9. I have ordered from them in the past. This year I ordered annuals and when it came time to plant they were not here. When I asked where they were they told me there was such a demand that they had to replant the seeds and it would be 6 more weeks b4 my plants were shipped which would be June. I asked for a refund and was told it would take 30 days. I has been almost 4 months and still no refund but they continue to sell daily. When you order they don't tell u if u r not satisfied it will be months b4 u get your money back. I am still waiting for my $129.00

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  10. Charley Perkins always said "If it doesn't grow, let me know." These guys say "If it doesn't grow, it's your fault."

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