Over at Garden Rant they have a poll going on. Itâ€™s about your shopping preferences, big box, independents, or a little of both. I want to look at the results after a few days and everyone has had a chance to vote.
Scrolling down the comments we see our friend M Sinclair Stevens comment mentioning that the only place that had tomatoes available this time of year was Home Depot. Part of the comment was â€œThe Home Depot tomato was from a southern grower in Alabama, a family-run place according to their website Bonnie Plants.com. I've never heard of them before but I'm interested in learning more about them since they are family-owned and grow vegetables for southern gardens.â€
Bonnie plants are owned by Alabama Farmers Cooperative, Inc. According to FundingUniverse.comâ€œAFC's next major acquisition came in 1975 when the co-op acquired Union Springs, Alabama-based Bonnie Plant Farm. The business was started in 1918 by Livingston and Bonnie Paulk in Bullock County, Alabama.â€ It continues, â€œAfter AFC bought Bonnie in 1975, Paulk family members, like the Andersons, stayed on to run the business. With AFC's support, Bonnie began to expand rapidly, adding trucks and building new greenhouses to serve an ever-growing market. By 1983 Bonnie marketed to 13 states and annual sales reached $9 million. Expansion was fueled even further by the rising popularity of garden centers by mass market retailers. Bonnie built up its sales staff, constructed more greenhouses, and as a result was well positioned to enjoy great success in the 1990s. In 2000 Bonnie would take in more than $42 million in revenues. As was the case with the Anderson family, one of the Paulks would eventually rise to the top at AFC. In 1996, Tommy Paulk, grandson of Bonnie's founders, became AFC's CEO, the fourth in the co-op's history.â€
Some of the family members have stayed on to help run the business, but this is not the small family run business that Livingstone and Bonnie started in 1918. $42 million in revenues places it in the large size wholesale operation. The main fuel for their growth was in the Box Stores.
I donâ€™t know much about Bonnie other than what M. Sinclair Stevens and FundingUniverse.com have to say. They must be a well run company with good plants to have gotten as far as they have. I guess itâ€™s a matter of what a family run business means? Ford Motor Co. could be considered a family run business since the President of the company is a Ford, or Scotts-Miracle-gro being run by member of the family could be called "family run'. I think most of us have a view of what a family run business is in our own minds. Does Bonnie meet those criteria? What does â€œfamily runâ€ mean to you? Does it even make a difference in your shopping habits? What do you picture when you hear "family run"?