Yoder Brothers, Inc. has revised its business model for serving the West Coast perennial starter plant market. The company will continue to serve its West Coast customers through sales of unrooted cuttings, Eastern production locations and California contract rooting stations.
After a transition period, production will cease at Yoder's Salinas, Calif., greenhouses sometime in the summer of 2005. The company has operated the facility since 1959.
Yoder Brothers president Bill Rasbach said the new process will resemble the company's successful experience with garden mum rooting stations in the East. Thanks to the mild climate, Western perennial growers tend not to require, or value, vernalized perennial starters as do growers elsewhere in North America.
Rasbach said the perennial starter business in the West is predominantly a stick-to-order market. The needs of such a market can be satisfied with far less space than the speculative "warehouse" model that works well in the East. Yoder's established offshore stock base will supply unrooted cuttings to growers and a network of rooting stations. This is more advantageous to the company and its customers than supporting a 20-acre greenhouse range.
Yoder Green Leaf Perennials product manager John Bell said despite the change, Yoder can still serve those customers who require vernalized starters by utilizing other production facilities. Bell said the new arrangement will enable Yoder to better serve its West Coast customer base, with quicker and more reliable fulfillment of custom orders.
Rasbach stressed that the company has no interest in becoming a source of finished perennials. "We don't want to compete with our customers," he said.
Regarding other crops with smaller production and order fulfillment from Yoder’s Salinas facility, it will continue to meet order commitments and serve the West Coast market with product supplied from the East or through contract rooting in the West. This includes rooted pot and garden mums, poinsettias and annuals. Azalea production will move to Yoder’s Florida facilities.