waterloo gardens files for bankruptcy protection

Waterloo Gardens , Exton PA 2008 (T.Bemis photo)

In March, I wrote a post called digging in the dirt. I mentioned then that Waterloo in Devon looked a little off.  Someone from Waterloo left a comment after the post went live:

Tracy Smith on March 26, 2012 at 10:19 am said

At Waterloo, we are gearing up for April weather – with a forecast of 20′s and 30′s at night, ther are just certain plant material that is not ready to ship.  Planting during 70 degree weather is great but now we are back to reality with temps. in the 50″s and cold nights again.  We aim to ensure planting success and receive material when it is timely.  Thanks for the insight though.  We really value your opinion and take comments quite seriously. Take care, Tracy Smith

It still kept looking not quite right every time I drove past the Devon store.  I kept hearing stories from people around that they were in dire straits.  Then in June came news they were indeed closing Devon.

Today comes the news they are filing for bankruptcy protection. You know, everyone is ballyboohoohooing this calling the Devon property “a landmark property” and sorry, that just makes my eyes roll.  It is 6 1/2 acres or thereabouts, but it is not landmark anything.  It is just commercial.

Patch is reporting rumors of a Terrain being built there, another nursing home (nursing homes along Route 30 in Chester County are the new nail salon, apparently), or a car dealership. They quoted Bobby LeBoutillier as he being the one to recount the rumors.

Look it is a major bummer to many that Waterloo is closing.  However, they still have Exton and quite frankly people should take a drive to Malvern to check out a smaller, family owned nursery Woodlawn Landscaping and Nursery.  Or Somerset Nursery in Glenmore.  They have or can get anything a gardener would want and yeah I bet they can help you plant too.

Waterloo over-extended themselves.  They should have just stuck to what they know and kept it in Devon and Exton.  But they did not and they are paying the piper doubly bad due to the economy.

They told me today via Facebook that gift cards would be honored at the Exton store.

I have a friend from high school who owns a nursery in another state, her name is Tina Bemis.  Here is what she had to say today:

I happen to own a garden center in another state, and know that are garden centers are struggling right now.  We WANT to have the cool, different stuff, but as less and less people are real gardeners and more “plant decorators” it’s hard to carry cool stuff that just sits there, when the majority of people just want big flowers.

Also, we don’t WANT to be more expensive, but the big box stores often use our products to lure you into the store so they can then sell you other stuff.

You see those prices, and think we are expensive.  But they NEVER carry the cool, unusual stuff that you seek, and we are keeping those plants watered every day for when you come in.  And when you only choose to come in on the after Christmas sale, what are we supposed to do the rest of the year?

We MUST go for the plants with the biggest profit dollars (not necessarily margins).  That’s what businesses do.  They must, actually, or someone else will do it better, and they will go out of business.  Believe me, most garden centers are just barely staying alive right now.  There are so few of you real gardeners left, and our businesses got big with the baby boomer demographic.

As the older folks downsize, move to retirement homes, or pass on, the next generation is a) much smaller in numbers and 2) even further removed from the land.  In order to justify our own existence, we must also downsize, and that is probably exactly what Waterloo did.  I would love to carry only what I call “geek plants.”  But they won’t put food on my table. I appreciate your thoughtful comments.

Mind you, Tina and her nursery in my opinion is probably more like a slightly larger Woodlawn Landscaping and Nursery in Malvern or like a Somerset Nursery.  And I have known Tina since I was a teenager (we were Shipley Sprouts together only she was MUCH MUCH better!) so I know she has a care with her clients.  Most of us ceased to get that care or feeling of caring in Devon years ago.  I do find that however, at the two nurseries I have mentioned in this post.

People can still visit them in Exton, which truthfully has been the best of their stores for years.  I stopped going to Devon years ago not only because of the prices, but because (as alluded to none too smoothly above) there existed in the Devon store an attitude that quite simply put, was not worth the money.  Devon as someone said to me to day was a glorified gift shop.  Certainly not the Waterloo of years ago.

So dry your eyes.  You might have to drive a little farther out but you still have one Waterloo if you must Waterloo.   And it is the best of the Waterloos, always has been. And if you are open to trying new things, it’s a big world out there with additional choices.

News : Waterloo Gardens files for Chapter 11

Waterloo Gardens files for Chapter 11;  Landscaping company files same day

Waterloo Gardens has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection following plans to shut down its Devon location.

The garden center and Waterloo Landscaping, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 June 26.

Waterloo announced earlier in the month that it will be selling the original store and consolidating business at the 50-acre Exton location.

“I think the Exton store, out of the two, has a much better layout,” said longtime President Bobby LeBoutiliier of the announcement. “There is more room for cars to park, more coverage space for annuals shopping, and if it’s time to consolidate, out of the two, this is the one we want.”

Management had originally planned to keep the Devon location open through the end of the year, and possibly into spring of 2013. The store is now scheduled to close July 15.

The garden center, which celebrated its 70th anniversary in April, opened two new locations in 2007 – one in Wilmington, Del. And one in Warminster, Pa. The Warminster location closed in 2008. The Wilmington location closed in December of 2011.

Waterloo Gardens, Inc. on busbk.com says they filed June 26th.  Here is some other info:

Debtor

Waterloo Gardens, Inc. 200 N. Whitford Road Exton, PA 19341-2099 CHESTER-PA Tax ID / EIN: 23-1911696

Represented By

ALBERT A. CIARDI, III Ciardi Ciardi & Astin, P.C. One Commerce Square 2005 Market Street Suite 1930 Philadelphia, PA 19103 (215) 557-3550 Fax  : 215-557-3551 Email: aciardi@ciardilaw.com

JENNIFER E. CRANSTON Ciardi Ciardi & Astin, P.C. One Commerce Square 2005 Market Street, Suite 1930 Philadelphia, PA 19103 215 557 3550 Email: jcranston@ciardilaw.com

U.S. Trustee

United States Trustee Office of the U.S. Trustee

833 Chestnut Street Suite 500 Philadelphia, PA 19107

(215) 597-4411

Docket

Jun 26 #1 Chapter 11 Voluntary Petition. Fee Amount $1046 Filed by Waterloo Gardens, Inc.. Government Proof of Claim Deadline: 12/23/2012. Statement of Corporate Ownership due 07/10/2012. Corporate Resolution due 07/10/2012. Matrix List of Creditors due 07/3/2012. (CIARDI, ALBERT) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Jun 26 Receipt of Voluntary Petition (Chapter 11)(12-16080) [misc,volp11a] (1046.00) Filing Fee. Receipt number 12089552. Fee Amount $1046.00. (U.S. Treasury) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Jun 26 #2 Corporate Resolution Filed by JENNIFER E. CRANSTON on behalf of Waterloo Gardens, Inc.. (CRANSTON, JENNIFER) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Jun 26 #3 20 Largest Unsecured Creditors Filed by JENNIFER E. CRANSTON on behalf of Waterloo Gardens, Inc.. (CRANSTON, JENNIFER) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Jun 26 #4 Matrix Filed. Number of pages filed: 2, Filed by JENNIFER E. CRANSTON on behalf of Waterloo Gardens, Inc.. (CRANSTON, JENNIFER) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Jun 26 #5 Document in re: Verification of Creditor Matrix Filed by JENNIFER E. CRANSTON on behalf of Waterloo Gardens, Inc. (related document(s) 4 ). (CRANSTON, JENNIFER) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Jun 26 #6 Document in re: Statement of Parties with Interest in Cash Collateral Filed by ALBERT A. CIARDI III on behalf of Waterloo Gardens, Inc.. (CIARDI, ALBERT) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Jun 26 #7 Expedited Motion to Use Cash Collateral Motion of the Debtor and Debtor-in-Possession for Order Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §363 to (I) use Cash Collateral and Provide Adequate Protection to Parties with Interest in Cash Collateral, (II) Pay Prepetition Wages and requests (III) an Expedited Hearing, Reduced Notice Period and Limited Notice Pursuant to Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9006(c)(1) And E.D. Pa. L.B.R. 5070(f) Filed by Waterloo Gardens, Inc. Represented by ALBERT A. CIARDI III(Counsel). (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A# 2 Proposed Order (Expedited)) (CIARDI, ALBERT) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Jun 26 #8 Application to Employ Ciardi Ciardi & Astin as Counsel to the Debtor Filed by Waterloo Gardens, Inc. Represented by ALBERT A. CIARDI III(Counsel). (Attachments: # 1 Declaration# 2 Proposed Order # 3 Service List # 4 Notice) (CIARDI, ALBERT) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Jun 26 #9 Amended Document Amended Declaration in Support of Debtor’s Application to Employ Ciardi Ciardi & Astin Filed by ALBERT A. CIARDI III on behalf of Waterloo Gardens, Inc. (related document(s)8). (CIARDI, ALBERT) (Entered: 06/26/2012)

 

 

 

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