I believe that Scotts Miracle-Gro is doing a similar poor job with their "Organic" products. They are not producing quality products, so their products will produce poor results and thus dissatisfied consumers. Scotts Miracle-Gro profits and minds are in chemical products, and thus have very little passion or business need in helping the natural organic community.
Here's what happened to Smith & Hawkin under their watch:
[From the Marin Independent Journal]
As reported last week, Scotts Miracle-Gro will cease operating its Smith & Hawken business by the end of the year. Scotts Miracle-Gro acquired the business in 2004. The founders of the original Smith & Hawken store first sold the business in 1993, but were particularly troubled when the business was later purchased by Scotts Miracle-Gro. "Scotts couldn't have been a worse corporate owner," Paul Hawken told the Marin Independent Journal. "Smith & Hawken had become just a ghost of itself."
Thirty years after Dave Smith and Paul Hawken founded gardening tool importer Smith & Hawken in Mill Valley, the company will be shut down by the weed killer maker that purchased it in 2004.
Ohio-based parent company Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. said Wednesday that it will cease all Smith & Hawken business by the end of 2009, having a hired a liquidator, Gordon Brothers Group of Boston, to help it do so.
The move calls for the closure of all of Smith & Hawken's 56 retail stores in the U.S. and the layoff of the company's 700 employees nationwide, including 70 at its corporate offices at Hangar Four in Hamilton Landing and 30 at its retail store in the Strawberry Village shopping center in Mill Valley.
Some of those employees will be kept on through early December to help with the liquidation of the company's inventory, all of which will occur through its stores. All inquiries to the Novato headquarters and the Mill Valley store were directed to the Scotts corporate office in Ohio.
While the closure marks the end of an era for one of Marin's hallmark companies, its two founders are relieved because the business had long since become detached from its original values, they said. While the original Smith & Hawken focused on high-end English gardening tools with a lifetime guarantee, later iterations of the company branched into outdoor living products such as furniture, fire pits, lighting and garden decor.
"Scotts couldn't have been a worse corporate owner," said Hawken, who lives in Mill Valley. "Smith & Hawken had become just a ghost of itself." Smith, who lives in Mendocino County and owns Mulligan Books in Ukiah, said he had gone so far as to ask friends to boycott the company bearing his name.
"When Scotts bought it and Smith & Hawken was owned by the largest pesticide seller in the U.S., I suggested people boycott it," he said. "It had completely lost its roots."
The decision to close Smith & Hawken came after Scotts was unable to find a buyer for the company, which had seen its sales drop 22 percent during the first two quarters of the current fiscal year.
"We would have preferred to sell the Smith & Hawken business in order to protect jobs and keep the retail franchise intact," Scotts Miracle-Gro CEO Jim Hagendorn said in a statement. "However, after discussions with several potential investors over the past 12 months, it became obvious that shutting down the business was the best option available.
"It is with regret for the associates of Smith & Hawken and our many loyal customers that we have reached this conclusion. I want to acknowledge our associates who have been intensely loyal and worked tirelessly to make Smith & Hawken a viable enterprise. Unfortunately, sale signs hang in the front window of Smith & Hawken in Mill Valley on Wednesday. A spokesman for Gordon Brothers Group did not return a call for comment.
Smith & Hawken's stores will begin going-out-of-business sales today.
Hawken, now head of engineering firm Pax Group, used the occasion of the closure to host a party Wednesday night.
"I couldn't be happier to see my name come down," he said.
Both Smith and Hawken said the company that bears their name had long since veered away from being a gardening company and was unable to take advantage of the recent surge in interest in gardening because of that.
"How could you possibly have a gardening store in this economy and go wrong?" Hawken said. "I'll tell you why. This wasn't a gardening store anymore."
Contact Jim Welte via e-mail at email@example.com