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.