Hans and Esther Brand, owners of B&H Flowers in Carpinteria, CA, announced Nov. 15 that B&H has officially emerged from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection.
“After 18 months of reorganizing and streamlining,” they said in a statement, “on Nov. 8, the court approved B&H’s plan of reorganization.”
B&H Flowers had filed for bankruptcy protection on June 3, 2011 (see “Second California grower seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection,” July 4, 2011, page 50). A family-owned company operating in California since 1985, B&H is known for its environmental stewardship.
The company closed its Watsonville, CA, satellite growing facility and trimmed production back to concentrate on its most profitable products. B&H grows tulips, lilies, gerbera and other centerpiece flowers and sells to supermarkets, wholesalers and florists. At the time of the filing, it had 140 employees. Its 2010 sales totaled $16 million.
In a July 2012 interview at his office, Mr. Brand said “You learn what life is about,” reflecting on the Chapter 11 experience. “We had to let 100 of our 180 employees go,” he recalled, “and many were husband and wife teams. Luckily all but two were placed in other jobs.” B&H jettisoned its iris and tulip lines that were not performing well, and picked up asters and snapdragons, which are, he added.
When the downturn began, Mr. Brand issued an “all hands on deck” call that brought family members into the operation, including son Johnny who began college this fall. Mr. Brand hopes that Johnny, who posed for a B&H poster at age three, will run things someday. “We have been in business for over 25 years and have every intention to be here for at least another 25 years.”
Mr. Brand credits the survival of B&H to loyal employees, customers and vendors. “First of all I want to thank my employees for standing with us during this difficult time,” he said in a statement. “They never wavered away from our goals; they stood strong and always believed in the success of B&H.”
And, he said, “I also want to thank our many loyal customers who stood by us throughout this process. It was their support that allowed us to continue to do business. And thank you to all the new customers that have joined us or come back to us these past 18 months. Finally, to our vendors, most of who stood by us and continued to support us, you have our loyalty for many, many years to come.
“This has been a very humbling time for us, our family and our business,” he concluded, “and we are happy we were able to save approximately 80 jobs and a great company.”