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OT:Catalogs - Lone Star Iris Gardens

  • Subject: OT:Catalogs - Lone Star Iris Gardens
  • From: "Ruth Simmons" <ruth@sonetcom.com>
  • Date: Tue, 2 Feb 1999 23:30:30 -0600


Dear Customer:

This is a letter that I have dreaded writing, and have put off as long as
possible hoping to write you a personal letter rather than resort to a form-
letter. It is not easy for me to admit that Lone Star Iris Gardens can no
longer continue to operate, or perhaps it is more appropriate to say did not
survive the 1998 shipping season.
The extreme heat and drought conditions experienced in 1998 took a very heavy
toll on the garden. We had several failures in our automated irrigation system
which played a large part in losing so many plants. These malfunctions
combined with the fact that my full-time job kept me traveling constantly made
for a disastrous combination. To further compound the problems mandatory
watering restrictions were also implemented when pumps failed and water
pressure levels became so low that the city could not pump enough water to
meet the demand There was simply not enough of me, plants or water to go
In 1998 all the stops were pulled out. Our first-ever full-color-catalog was
a source of great pride, and expense. People responded very well to the catalog and
advertising by sending a record number of orders. The loss of plants did not
allow us to fill enough orders to cover the cost of the catalog. I won't begin
to discuss the watering expense in 1998.
So, now you know a bit more what 1998 was like for us at Lone Star. In no way
does this excuse the fact that it has taken us so long to respond. I can only
apologize for the poor way in which I handled correspondence and telephone
calls. I have always tried very hard to offer my customers the very best in
service and plants. In 1998 we did not come close to meeting those goals. For
this, I am truly sorry and hope that you can understand how heartfelt my
apology is.
The future of the business is still not clear. It will take three to five
years to re-grow the plants that were lost. We will continue to handle my new
releases and those of the Pryors, Dorman Haymon, and the late Joe
Mertzweiller. We are concerned as to the cost effectiveness of doing only
introductions. After losing so much money in 1998 my pockets are turned inside
out. A price list will be made available and published in the SLI Newsletter
or mailed out - perhaps both. The loss of trust in Lone Star may be
irreparable. This will be evaluated along with the many other decisions that
will determine if Lone Star Iris Gardens is to rise from the ashes.
I want to thank you for being so supportive in the past, and hope this letter
in some way helps you understand what went wrong in 1998. I wish that I could
say that my work schedule  for 1999 would allow me to have as much time as I
once did for the garden, but in fact it is going to be even more hectic than
it was in 1998. Many of you may not have realized that in addition to the
garden I do have a regular full-time job.


J. Farron Campbell

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