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January 18, 2013
Lawn & Landscape

Blue Ridge celebrates two decades by donating trees
WINCHESTER, Va. – Blue Ridge Landscape and Design (BRLD) is celebrating 20 years in business this year by donating 20 trees to the Winchester Parks Foundation for installation around fields at Jim Barnett Park.

The donation kicked off the “Plant a Tree, Watch it Grow” campaign for Winchester, Va.

BRLD has installed some prominent scenery in their own town, including the streetscape on Cameron Street in downtown Winchester, planting more than 250 trees in the downtown area, helping with the historical plantings at John Handley High School, and will continue the relationship this fall by finishing the 10-month Amherst Street enhancements with ornamental trees.

Beyond their zipcode, BRLD enhances many federal sites. One of their earliest projects was at the Kennedy Center, installing above-ground structure landscaping. Last year, they installed nearly 200 planters on Constitution Avenue for the EPA.

They have also become a contractor for National Cemetery enhancements, realigning headstones and upgrading the turf while respectfully honoring each site.

Updating their website and focusing staff on business development, the company is priming their next 20 years.

“We have thrived through recent economic times, focusing on relationships and maintaining customer satisfaction in everything we do,” said Owner Carl Thomas.

BASF completes Becker Underwood acquisition

LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany – BASF has completed the acquisition of Becker Underwood from Norwest Equity Partners, a U.S.-based private equity investment company, for a purchase price of $1.02 billion.

BASF has also expanded its product portfolio in the areas of biological crop protection, turf and horticulture, animal nutrition and landscape colorants and coatings. The move was originally reported on September 20.

“The acquisition fits very well with our long-term growth strategy. It will provide our customers with an even broader range of innovative solutions for agriculture,” said Dr. Andreas Kreimeyer, member of BASF’s board of executive directors responsible for the agricultural solutions segment, and research executive director. “And it also provides our new colleagues with access to BASF’s global R&D platform as well as new markets and customers.”

A detailed integration plan will be developed by a joint team of BASF and Becker Underwood employees.

Most businesses of Becker Underwood will join the newly-established global business unit Functional Crop Care as part of BASF’s Crop Protection division.

Within this new unit, BASF will merge its existing research, development and marketing activities in the areas of seed treatment, biological crop protection, plant health, as well as water and resource management with those of Becker Underwood.

Becker Underwood’s animal nutrition business will be integrated into BASF’s Nutrition & Health division.

The newly formed global Functional Crop Care will be headed by Dr. Juergen Huff, senior vice president.

Dr. Peter Innes, currently CEO of Becker Underwood, has accepted the position of global senior advisor to the Crop Protection division.

He will support the integration of Becker Underwood into BASF and the implementation of the Functional Crop Care unit.

Griffin acquires Syngenta Horticultural Services
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Griffin Greenhouse Supplies acquired Syngenta Horticultural Services (SHS). Headquartered in Lisle, Ill., SHS is a distributor and broker of seeds, cuttings and young plants to growers across the United States.

Headquartered in Tewksbury, Mass., Griffin is a provider of greenhouse and nursery supplies in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region.

Under terms of the agreement, Griffin acquired the SHS business, including distribution and brokerage capabilities and assets affiliated with the Lisle, Ill., headquarters and Downers Grove, Ill., facility.

Employees housed at both sites transferred to Griffin at closing.

In addition, Griffin signed a long-term agreement to distribute and broker Syngenta Flowers genetics throughout the U.S.

With this agreement in place, Syngenta Flowers and Griffin will continue to work closely together to address the horticultural needs of greenhouse and nursery growers.

“We’re very excited that SHS will be able to join forces with Griffin to create one of the industry’s most comprehensive portfolios of greenhouse and nursery solutions offered,” said Tim Kroenke, head of Syngenta Lawn & Garden in North America.

“Syngenta remains deeply committed to delivering against our core business strategy in the greenhouse and nursery market.”


It’s only a couple of days but…
If Black Friday sales are any indication of what 2013 holds for consumer spending, than small businesses should smile.

Based on data from a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey conducted by BIGinsight, more than 35 million U.S. consumers visited retailers both in person and online just on Thanksgiving this year, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. That’s up more than 20 percent versus last year’s 29 million Thanksgiving shoppers. A record number of people, 89 million, shopped online and in stores on Black Friday this year, which was an increase of 3 million consumers over last year’s 86 million Black Friday shoppers.

Another record was set for the entire weekend, with 247 million shoppers taking part in the Black Friday holiday sales and shopping events. That was a jump of nearly 10 percent over last year’s 226 million shoppers. Consumers also spent more this year with average weekend receipts of $423 versus $398 last year. Total Black Friday weekend spending is estimated to be $59.1 billion.

Let it snow
You should be right smack in the middle of snow season by now – even if it was 60 degrees in early December at the L&L headquarters in Cleveland. So, take a look at these snow numbers from our 2012 State of the Industry report. Scan the chart below to see where you fall when it comes to annual spending on snow equipment. If you missed our 2012 State of the Industry report, visit bit.ly/LLSOI2012



Congratulations for such a great article about the fight of Vila & Son Landscaping Corp.

I was very lucky to work with Juan Carlos Vila and his Son Ivan for about 5 years. I can assure you, Juan Carlos will fight back again because he has a big heart, is a true fighter and is a great person. I wish him and Ivan every success on their new Company. As a human, Juan Carlos did whatever it takes to help you, gave you different options to solve issues and provided you with solutions. Today, I want to express my gratitude and my admiration for a great man. You are not alone Juan Carlos! Keep moving forward. Thank You!!!

Armando Lopez-Samcam, horticulturist and landscape designer