A recent report from OregonLive.com noted that boom years experienced by the state’s green industry have been followed by a historic slump.
Clackamas Greenhouses ceased operations in Oct. 2011 after filing for Chapter 12 Bankruptcy in March 2009. President David Niklas said the company went under after being unable to obtain financing.
“The nursery industry is still a category most banks don’t want to be in,” Niklas said in the OregonLive.com report.
Safeway made contracts with him to stock Clackamas Greenhouses products in August 2010, and though he says he tried eight banks in eight weeks, he couldn't find a line of credit by an Oct.31 deadline.
As of January 2011, the company began a five-year lease to IFA Nurseries.
Teufel Nursery, a 120-year-old Portland business, emerged from bankruptcy in February 2010 after filing for Chapter 11 in June 2009. The company employs about 250, down from more than 500 before Chapter 11.
Hines Nursery once operated locations in four states, but now the business runs three sites–one in Forest Grove and two in California. Hines filed for Chapter 11 in Oct. 2010, exiting bankruptcy in April 2010.
Means Nursery in Scappoose is “nowhere near bankruptcy,” according to bookkeeper Mary Cooley, though the company laid off nearly 100 employees in 2010 and now has just 13.
D. Wells Industries, a 200-acre nursery based in Aurora, filed for Chapter 12 bankruptcy in November 2009. It's now out of business, though Diane and Daniel Wells, the husband-and-wife team behind the nursery, help their two sons Dylan and Darren run a seasonal operation called Autumn Harvest.
“It just doesn't look like there's going to be anything out there for awhile,” said Daniel Wells.
International Garden Products – parent company of Iseli Nursery in Boring –liquidated in May 2011, after Iseli filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Oct. 2010. The nursery was acquired by Gardens Alive, Inc. in May.
Last Thursday, Oregon Pacific Bank began a 5-day liquidation sale at Oregon Coast Garden Center—a 52-year-old family owned business.
“Every year, sales dropped,” owner Jack Eriksen said. “We went from $1 million in sales and dropped 40 percent in four years. I knew it was over this spring when it rained so much. The first six months we were down 22 percent from the year prior, which was down probably 25 percent from the previous year. In July – August, we were down 42 percent over 2010.”
With the line of credit was coming due, Jack Eriksen and wife, Mary, sat down with their accountant. “He said we would have to double our sales to come through this,” Mary Eriksen said. “That made the picture crystal clear. That was the defining moment that we knew.”
Last month, the bank called to ask what the couple planned to do. They had no answer. Three days later, three bank employees showed up at the center, and Mary and Jack Eriksen walked away from the property that five years ago appraised at $1.5 million.
“We had hoped it was going to be our retirement," said Jack Eriksen. "That was going to be our exit plan.”
Today, both are collecting unemployment and trying to figure out how to start fresh.