Brookdale buys Valleybrook’s Ont. site
By Dave Harrison
June 14, 2017, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. – Brookdale Treeland Nurseries Ltd. has purchased Valleybrook Gardens (Ont.) Ltd.
John Schroeder, founder and CEO of the Valleybrook Group of companies, announced the sale of the company’s Niagara-on-the-Lake location.
The shares of the company were purchased by Brookdale Treeland Nurseries Ltd., a family owned nursery corporation headquartered in Ontario.
This transaction affects only the Ontario-based nursery; the original nursery in British Columbia continues to be owned and operated by the Schroeders as before.
“When my wife Kelly and I started the Ontario nursery almost 30 years ago on a little plot of rented land in Vineland, we didn’t know what the future held,” said Schroeder.
‘HIGHEST QUALITY PLANT MATERIAL’
“What we did know was that we would only be satisfied by producing the highest quality plant material, and that innovative marketing and branding was going to be a key to success.”
He said that in this day and age of brand proliferation, even in the nursery industry, it may be hard to remember how unusual plant branding was in the 1980’s.
“I’ll never forget the puzzled looks and comments other growers and retailers had about our trademarked blue pots and the Heritage Perennials® name. I’m pleased that the industry has matured, and the value of a strong brand is well recognized today.”
PLANT BRANDING SUCCESS
Heritage Perennials, the blue pots, Jeepers Creepers®, Colour Craze™ and Garden Gladiators™ are some of the plant brands that both the Abbotsford and Ontario nurseries produce under licence from Valleybrook International Ventures, Inc. Valleybrook Gardens Ontario will continue to produce and sell these products under license to independent garden centers going forward.
Brookdale Treeland Nurseries Ltd. (BTN) is one of the largest and most respected growers of garden plants in Canada. Servicing garden retailers, landscape contractors, municipalities and golf courses throughout Canada and the Northern United States, Brookdale grows on over 700 acres of land spanning British Columbia, Ontario and New Brunswick. It specializes in growing shade trees, fruit trees, flowering shrubs, evergreens, broadleaves, climbing vines, grafted standards, perennials, annuals and more.
When Schroeder was asked ‘why now,’ he replied: “The nursery has an excellent reputation, an outstanding management team, a loyal workforce and customer base, and excellent performance on all levels.
“Knowing this combination made an attractive acquisition target, my goal was to find a buyer who understood the industry, valued our brands, and would keep the existing staff in place.
“I also wanted a buyer who would commit to maintaining the focus on high quality and service as the way to grow into the future. I believe we have succeeded with that.”
MARKET LEADING PRODUCTS
The addition of Valleybrook Ontario provides BTN the opportunity to service a more diverse market and will offer current and new BTN customers easier access to market leading products. The acquisition signals BTN’s continued commitment to both their customers and position as market leader.
“We are excited to bring the teams at BTN and Valleybrook together to provide a greater selection of products to a wider range of retailers across Canada and the U.S.,” said Jeff Olsen, president and CEO of Brookdale Treeland Nurseries.
“We understand and respect the unique relationship that Valleybrook has with each of their customers. We also hope to welcome new customers to BTN as a result of this larger offering. It is important to us that our customers and stakeholders can trust that we will always strive to bring them the very best.”
The acquisition is viewed as collaborative in nature “and we are certain that shared best practices will result in greater strength across both organizations,” said Joe Abi-Ad, vice-president of finance. “We value the strong reputation that Valleybrook has in the industry and as such will be working to ensure absolute consistency in quality and service. We are pleased to be welcoming their entire management team to Brookdale Treeland Nurseries and look forward to working alongside them.”