Garden News - OT

Justin Smith
Wed, 18 Aug 2010 15:40:19 PDT
Hi All,
It is certainly most distressing to see a small specialty business bought up by a much larger firm then apparently run into the ground. It is certainly easy to "blame" the large firm for destroying a beloved specialty business. Though if one were to take a look closer look and had access to "the books" that might paint quite a different story. 
There are a lot of people here that run their own business. I dare say that you woefully underpay yourself for the special knowledge you have, the loving care you give your plants and the dedication you give to others like you that you know enjoy bulbs too. If you get sick, retire or decide to move to hawaii and live on the beach who will take over that small specialty business? 
Normally the only group to have funds available to purchase a thriving business is a larger business in the same field. Though some larger firms do sometimes buy into an industry they don't know that is not common. Now, that larger firm, must hire someone who has vast experience, has loving care for the product and dedication to customers. Chances are nobody with those qualifications will apply for the job, especially at the salary that the previous owner paid themselves. 
Also they have to replace the other family members that use to work there. Family is a great source of cheap or free labor. Something the large firm cannot do. 
Salary and benefits will cut into profits quickly especially in today's work world with mandatory benefits, minimum wages, insurance, labor laws, environmental regulations and many other safety rules and such that must be followed. 
Selling a ton of tulip bulbs is much more profitable than selling a dozen Worsleya bulbs. (you must figure in the time required to grow and care for the bulbs along with everything else required)
If every small family business paid themselves what their skills and labor are worth very few family business's would exist, they could not afford to stay in business.
So next time you see a small specialty firm go out of business or get bought up think of this one thing.
"Being a huge money maker is not the reason why it failed or why it was bought up and ruined by that larger firm."
I don't have an MBA so think of them what you will, but thinking MBA's go around intentionally driving their business into the ground is just not factual. The more likely scenario is that they see a small firm for sale and buy it thinking there is a good chance to make it work, but the first they they must do is make it profitable! That usually requires changing what they sell.
Woodville, TX 8b/9a
> From:
> To:
> Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 11:14:07 -0700
> Subject: Re: [pbs] Garden News - OT
> On 17 Aug 2010, at 23:16, James Waddick wrote:
> > Just read that Park Seed and Jackson & Perkins are up for 
> > sale to the highest bidder. These used to be the 'Gold Standard' for 
> > perennials, roses and more, but now have debts well above their face 
> > value...
> >
> > Another sign of the economy.
> > 
> > Support your local growers.
> I'd say it's another sign that the people who run large corporations simply 
> don't know what they are doing. There have been endless reports of such and 
> such well known specialty firm being bought by Giant Humongous Ltd. Pty and 
> being promptly, and irretrievably, run into the ground.
> Another example from the nursery business: Dan Hinkley's Heronswood Nursery, 
> bought by Burpees, who then proceeded to dumb down the offerings to accommodate 
> buyers in the NE states who simply couldn't grow a lot of Heronswood offerings.
> Other, non-horticultural examples:
> 1. The Bon Marche, a PacNW department store, bought by Macy's. Macy's evidently 
> does all their decision making in New York, so they no longer carry the 
> everyday plaid flannel shirts commonly worn in the PacNW. And men's 
> handkerchiefs are now a seasonal item sold only during the run up to Christmas.
> 2. Brier's ice cream, formerly the one ice cream widely available that is (was) 
> made from real ingredients (notably sugar), bought by Nestle. The formulas were 
> immediately reworked to use cheaper ingredients, notably the pervasive high 
> fructose corn syrup, in (I suppose) the belief that no one would notice. I 
> notice the price of Brier's hasn't gone down, but I don't buy their ice cream 
> anymore.
> The list is endless.
> Corporations seem to take a one-size-fits-all approach, so any kind of business 
> they get involved in that demands real attention to, and care for, their 
> customers goes to the dogs overnight. Behind this I detect whiffs of the lie 
> taught to MBA students, that any MBA can manage any business.
> Sayonara, Parks. Sayonara, Jackson & Perkins.
> -- 
> Rodger Whitlock
> Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
> Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate
> on beautiful Vancouver Island
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