Metrolina Greenhouses seeks to purchase Stacy’s of York

dworthington@heraldonline.comJune 28, 2013 

Metrolina Greenhouses, based in Huntersville, N.C., is purchasing Stacy’s Inc. of York – one of York County’s largest employers – pending U.S. bankruptcy court approval.

The sale will combine two of the largest growers in the region. Metrolina grows annuals, while Stacy’s grows perennials. The companies hope to conclude the sale by Aug. 30.

The combined company will be “one larger family business,” said Abe VanWingerden, co-CEO of Metrolina Greenhouses.

The companies share similar heritages.

Stacy’s was started by Louis Stacy in 1969, using windows from an old, nearby mill to build his first greenhouse.

Tom VanWingerden left The Netherlands for Charlotte and began his family business – Metrolina – with a 1-acre plastic covered structure.

Management of the companies passed to their children.

Over the years, the Stacys and VanWingerdens have worked together on projects.

“Combining the work of these two visionary leaders into one company makes logical sense,” said Abe VanWingerden, Tom’s son.

Key components of the proposed deal are Metrolina’s promise to retain the Stacy’s workforce and management, and to invest a yet-to-be-determined amount of money into Stacy’s South Carolina operations for new equipment and to update technologies.

During peak times, Stacy’s employs about 800 people.

Terms of the sale include Metrolina acquiring the Stacy’s name. The companies would likely continue to use their separate names through the fall growing season if the sale is approved.

Stacy’s sells perennials in 24 states. Metrolina sells annuals in about 20 states. They sell to many of the same retail locations, such as Lowe’s Home Improvement, Walmart and Home Depot stores.

Abe VanWingerden said one way the company could save money is through combining shipments.

“Our customers are aware of the sale, and it will be business as usual for them,” Abe VanWingerden said.

Stacy’s has a wholesale farm in York; garden centers in York and Shelby, N.C.; and a propagation center in Pendleton. In all, it has 260 acres in York County, with 16 acres devoted to greenhouses.

Stacy’s produces and sells perennials, ground cover, mums, pansies and other plants – about 16 million pots annually.

Metrolina sells a variety of annuals in the spring, chrysanthemums in the fall and poinsettias in the winter – between 700 and 800 million pots annually.

The asset purchase agreement, entered into on June 21, is subject to approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in South Carolina. Subject to the auction process and court approval, the parties anticipate the transaction will close in approximately 60 days.

Don Worthington •  803-329-4066

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