Hilliard OH- Dümmen Orange announces the acquisition of the portfolio of Florexpo Costa Rica, a leading specialist in the production of perennials, herbs and annuals. The acquisition includes the move of top Florexpo talent and management to Dümmen Orange’s newly modernized production site in Antigua, Guatemala: Antigua Flowers. Dümmen Orange will adopt Florexpo’s unique model of using a select group of brokers for its perennial sales.
Jonathan Bardzik teaching a cooking demo
in at a Washington, D.C., farmer's market. DOWNERS GROVE, IL – All-America Selections has stepped forward with another first when promoting AAS Winners, this time in the form of cooking videos using vegetables/edibles that have performed extremely well in the AAS Trials. These days, a love of gardening is directly related to a passion for cooking. Tying the two together is a natural when marketing joys of cooking with fresh vegetables from the garden and farm market.
After 82 years of conducting trials where only the best performers are declared AAS Winners, the organization now has more than 325 individual varieties that have been “Tested Nationally & Proven Locally.” It is some of these many varieties that culinary storyteller, entertainer, and horticulture industry veteran Jonathan Bardzik will use in a series of five videos demonstrating cooking techniques with AAS Winning herbs and vegetables.
“I am excited to partner with All-America Selections to show people across the country that AAS Winners perform as well in the kitchen as they do in the garden,” Bardzik said. “Combining my passion for cooking with garden- and farm-fresh ingredients with recipes specially developed for AAS winning varieties will help people have more fun cooking at home and sharing that joy with friends and family."
The vegetables and produce for the AAS videos are being raised by Arcadia Farms, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable local food system in the Washington, D.C. area. Through this partnership, Arcadia will also introduce a new generation of gardeners to AAS Winners during their summer farm camps, where kids have fun discovering where their food comes from through hands-on farming, cooking, and eating.
As a bonus, some AAS Winners from the ornamentals trial will be used as décor and props in the video backgrounds.
All five videos will be released and available for distribution by the end of 2015. All-America Selections will prepare an online resource where garden retailers can download the videos and related materials to help supplement sales of AAS Winners in their respective stores.
For more information, contact Diane Blazek, All-America Selections at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by booth #1527 at Cultivate’15.
WASHINGTON and COLUMBUS, OH – The Horticultural Research Institute, the research affiliate of AmericanHort, today announced the launch of the Grow Wise, Bee Smart website. This resource is a key component of the Horticultural Industry’s Bee and Pollinator Stewardship Initiative, which was created to provide leadership and guidance to the industry on pollinator health. The site serves as the communications hub for the latest research and developments related to the role horticulture plays in supporting pollinator health.
Grow Wise, Bee Smart features information on the importance of bees and pollinators, threats to their health, and steps everyone can take to improve habitat and forage. Links to the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge and Pollinator Partnership further guide retail and landscape firms and their customers on how to plant and register new gardens and habitats for pollinators.
As the Grow Wise, Bee Smart stewardship program for plant production is launched, and as funded and directed research yields results and guidance, the site will feature timely new information and insights.
The Horticultural Industry’s Bee and Pollinator Stewardship Initiative has three goals:
• fund and guide research to answer urgent questions regarding impact of pest management practices and bee and pollinator attractiveness of major plants we grow and sell;
• develop a plant production stewardship program based on best practices; and,
• partner with other interested groups to improve and expand pollinator habitat and forage.
Great progress is being made on all fronts. The Horticultural Research Institute has directly funded five related research projects totaling $160,100. AmericanHort and HRI helped to secure another $272,000 for a priority project that received special Farm Bill funding. A grower and scientist task force has developed key components for the stewardship program. And, AmericanHort was one of eight founding partners of the National Pollinator Garden Network, which in early June launched the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge.
“Horticulture, the health of pollinators, and the success of our industry are intertwined,” said Harvey Cotten, past president of the Horticultural Research Institute and a leader in the Bee and Pollinator Stewardship Initiative. “We are the original green industry, and our plants and expertise can make a difference for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators,” he added.
Funded by hundreds of green industry philanthropists and businesses, HRI provides solutions for horticultural businesses. Supporting research and guiding efforts that form best practices is exactly how HRI helps build prosperous businesses, advance the green industry, and fulfill its core vision. For more, www.hriresearch.org.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Last fall, more than 3,500 K-12 students across the country participated in the Wyland Foundation’s annual ‘Water is Life’ mural and art contest. Students were challenged to create a mural depicting the 2014 theme, “Our Ocean.” The contest also encouraged students to study issues and events that impact our oceans and waterways. Artwork was submitted from over 40 states and 12 have been selected to have their work featured in a 2015/2016 calendar available in July.
There are multitudes of reasons for selling a business. But the common denominator in any sale: it takes a lot of time and an exceptional amount of paperwork. This account follows Jim Snyder, a nurseryman who spent five years planning the sale of his business. This was not, by any means, a so-called fire sale. And his advice applies only to the premeditated sale.
After nearly 25 years of operating Riverbend Nursery in Riner, Va., Snyder and his wife Julie started seriously thinking about their future. Did they want to continue to work in the nursery they built together six or seven days a week for years to come? If not, what would they do with some free time? After some serious discussion, the husband-and-wife team decided they wanted to generate some flexibility and travel extensively, Snyder recalls.
“So we started developing an exit strategy, and my goal was to slow my work pace by age 55 to do some traveling for months at a time,” he says.
The plan from start to finish took five years. Once the decision was made to sell, Snyder identified a group of key people to help answer questions.
“We did that five years before the sale,” he says. “In our case, it was a couple of people we knew who had already sold their businesses.”
Next they contacted attorneys, an accountant and a banker whose business they did not use for their nursery or personal banking. They talked to people outside the industry about selling a business. Snyder also asked business brokers what they looked for in a business.
“I asked them, ‘What can I do today to prepare myself to sell in a few years?’”
For anyone in the preliminary stages of contemplating a sale, Snyder says to ask yourself, “Am I really committed to this?”
“It takes a phenomenal amount of work. It was at least two to three times more work than I ever thought,” he says. “Once the decision to sell was made and the broker was chosen, our broker asked a lot of questions and asked for a lot of financial background information.”
Selling a business is not as simple as turning over a few years of financials, he adds.
“First, you must put your financials in a clear, businesslike manner. The typical small- or medium-sized grower doesn’t necessarily follow general accounting principles. If that’s the case, you have to redo or reformat your financials into a known, understandable format. And that takes a lot of work,” he says.
He also suggests having a price threshold in mind.
“But you have to peel out the emotion from that process,” he warns.
Understand that it’s an emotionally draining process, he adds.
“It’s mentally, physically and emotionally draining, especially if you started the business or have been involved in it for a long time,” he says. “This process may nag at you because you’re doing things behind closed doors and not telling employees.”
At the beginning of the five-year planning and selling process, Snyder considered what would happen if a buyer wanted to keep him on as CEO.
“It’s important to a prospective buyer that the business stands on its own. But it’s also important to relay what you bring to the business if you stay on with the company,” he says.
Three years prior to selling, he made sure the business was in a position that was already attractive and marketable. For some sellers, that means changing your viewpoint on profitability, he says. It also means presenting the nursery’s point of differentiation, as well as proving that you have a strong staff.
Choosing a broker
About a year before the nursery officially went on the market, Snyder interviewed three or four brokers to handle the sale. He asked each of them to describe the primary buyer to which they market. He gave each prospective broker three years of financials and asked them to provide a fair-market value.
“We got answers all over the board,” he says. “One had some ag experience, but the operation was much larger and it was part of a distress sale. But they all looked heavily at our current earnings and our EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) and tried to project future earnings.”
After the interview process, Snyder gravitated toward a broker who asked a lot of detailed questions and “seemed like they truly wanted to learn about the nursery,” he says.
One of the biggest lessons to keep in mind during this process: The fee or the highest selling price is not necessarily the best considerations when choosing a broker.
What to expect
During the buyer’s due diligence, they examine everything.
“Be prepared to discuss things that could be uncomfortable,” he says. “Of course, if you’ve disclosed everything, you have nothing to worry about.”
Create an accurate asset list. Find contracts and titles. Document everything.
“A buyer can look at anything and say, ‘Prove it,’” he says.
Snyder says he can’t stress enough the amount of work and time it takes to sell a business. Also expect compromises throughout the entire process. There are a few things he says he wished he’d known from the beginning.
“The buyer wants to set up the sale for his tax benefits, and the seller wants to set up the sale for his own tax benefits. You must understand the tax implications going in to this. I wish I knew more about that when I started.
“Ask an accountant and your attorney – ones who are well-versed in mergers and acquisitions – to explain the tax implications. Expect lots of legal fees. And I wish I would have asked to look at a boilerplate of a typical seller’s agreement. I may have had fewer surprises that way,” he explains.
A done deal
Superior Street Partners LLC, a private equity firm focused on the lower-middle market, purchased Riverbend Nursery in 2014. And Snyder remained with the company as CEO after the sale.
His role hasn’t really changed, although he’s transitioning away from the daily operational duties and direct reports, and moving toward the role of strategic vision and business development. He’s on the board of directors with three of the owners.
“The group of owners who purchased the company has helped me grow professionally,” he says. “They all bring business aspects to the table that I clearly didn’t have. I now have a wealth of knowledge to pull from.”
After the sale
Once the sale was complete, Snyder told the nursery staff.
“We waited until the day we closed. We had a meeting and the first thing we did was apologize for not saying anything,” he says. “Then we explained that it wasn’t a fire sale and we laid it all out there. We didn’t lose one employee.”
Snyder enacted an appreciation bonus for anyone who stayed on for a year after the sale.
“We took some of our proceeds and invested them back into our staff because they helped build this business. They helped make this possible for my wife and I, and we want them to share in the happiness.”