According to The Mercury News, Nurseryman's Exchange “the biggest wholesaler of indoor potted plants in San Mateo County and a major Coastside employer, announced Monday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The family-owned company intends to remain on the coast but is in the midst of ‘restructuring,’ according to CEO Jack Pearlstein." It’s big news as I grew up near this place, and met my wife in Half Moon Bay. It was a landmark along the coast. San Mateo County is known as the greenhouse capitol of California. According to Rivian Bell a spokesperson for a PR firm representing Nurseryman’s Exchange, “Nurserymen's revenue was $62.7 million in 2010 and $51.1 million so far in 2011, according to financial documents. Bell said the company posted a loss in 2010 but would not say how large it was. Wells Fargo has agreed to loan the company up to $5 million to take care of its remaining debts this summer.”
“Half Moon Bay flower farmer and City Councilman John Muller said he was sad, but not surprised, to hear about the struggles at Nurserymen's Exchange. ‘The nursery business has really changed,’ Muller said. ‘The shipping costs of moving products across the county are really high.’ Most of the greenhouse nursery industry is now based in East Coast states such as Georgia, North Carolina and New Jersey, he added.”
What’s slated to be built on the site? “The grassy parcels, four in all, are zoned for housing subdivisions.” Mr. Muller is correct, the nursery business has really changed. Just what Half Moon Bay needs more of, homes instead of employers. It has gone from a working person's town, to a suburb of San Francisco, inhabited by those who can afford the high costs of living there. Kind of a shame, but the way it is.