Nurserymen's Exchange files for bankruptcy

The California wholesaler will sell 28 acres as part of the restructuring


A voluntary petition under Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed by Half Moon Bay's Nurserymen's Exchange Inc. was heard in a San Francisco courtroom May 25.

Judge Dennis Montali will hear the petition at 11am in the Northern District of California Bankruptcy Court.

Nurserymen's Exchange on Monday announced the petition, and the sale of 28 acres of its land, in an effort to restructure the company. According to Jack Pearlstein, CEO of Nurserymen's, "The past few years have been extremely challenging for everyone in the nursery industry as declines in disposable income translated into reduced consumer purchasing.”

Nurserymen's Exchange is a large wholesaler of indoor potted blooming plants, specialty foliage, and edible plants.  Their product is marketed in the U.S. under the name of BloomRite.

According to a press release issued by the company, the sale of the 28 acres to a Bay Area buyer will bring $8 million to the company as a means to pay down debt.

The company says its offices and greenhouses will remain open during the bankruptcy proceedings.

Nurserymen's Exchange laid off over 100 of its 300 workers less than a year ago as it made internal changes. NEI was subject to a certification attempt by the United Farm Workers, including an election last year. The end result of that election is still pending before the State Agricultural Labor Relations Board.

Included in documents to be viewed by the court is a list of creditors holding $9,472,945 in unsecured claims against NEI.