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OT-PLANTS:Michigan Bulb, Gurney's et al.

  • Subject: OT-PLANTS:Michigan Bulb, Gurney's et al.
  • From: "Jeff and Carolyn Walters" <jcwalters@bridgernet.com>
  • Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2001 08:04:34 -0600

> I mentioned Gurney's before I read Greg's last post, wherein Gurney's 
> was listed along with Henry Field's, a rip-off company I had 
> forgotten about.  This is great news!

Walter,

In a way, it is in fact very sad news. In recent years Foster & Gallagher
apparently pursued a policy of buying up long established nurseries with
well known names and reputations in order to milk these assets as vehicles
for their reprehensible business practices. Gurney's, Stark Brothers, and
Henry Field were firms that had long served the horticultural community
faithfully and well. For example, this is the entry for Henry Field in the
1939 AIS Checklist:
"Henry Field Seed Co., Shenandoah, Iowa. One of the largest seed and
nursery firms in the United States. Mr. Field believes in the personal
touch, has his own radio station and has sold seeds since he was a boy." 
And this is the one for Stark Bros. "Wm P. Stark, Stark City, Mo. 1918.
Nursery of Fruit-trees, especially apples, Ornamental plants and where many
celebrated varieties of apples have originated. Later, Governor of the
State."

Michigan Bulb, as far as I know, was always a ripoff. Foster & Gallagher
has done a much greater disservice to gardeners in North America by
sullying the names of once reputable firms and running them into the
ground.

Curiously, I wonder if this policy of acquiring reputable firms in order to
exploit their names, along with the Internet, did not contribute to F&G's
demise. They must have had to plunk down major money up front to acquire
these firms, and the speed by which word was spread via the Internet about
the deterioration in quality of products and service from Gurney's,
Stark's, etc. may have forestalled their efforts to recoup their
investment. If so, it would be no more than poetic justice, but
nevertheless, once worthy businesses have vanished in the process.

Jeff Walters in northern Utah  (USDA Zone 4/5, Sunset Zone 2, AHS Zone 7)
jcwalters@bridgernet.com




















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