Published in Breaking News

Grand Haven nursery to close, lay off 300 people

BY Friday, June 08, 2018 12:56pm

GRAND HAVEN — Garden Alive Inc. will close its farm operations in Grand Haven and layoff of 300 full-time and seasonal employees.

The decision from Garden Alive, a Lawrenceburg, Ind.-based nursery and garden products retailer, occurred after incurring monetary losses. The closure and layoffs will be effective Aug. 3, according to a statement.

According to the company’s website, Garden Alive’s Grand Haven location is the company’s largest farm at 1,745 acres.

Garden Alive acquired the assets of Grand Haven-based Zelenka Farms for $15 million in July 2016, when the farm was going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy. At the time of the deal, former Zelenka CEO Eric Ek told MiBiz the company’s transition into the Garden Alive brand provided it a “fresh start.”

“That’s a very well-run operation, it always has been, and it’s the largest of all the farms, so there’s gonna be hardly any changes at the Grand Haven location,” Ek said in a prior report.

A Garden Alive representative did not respond to a request for comment.

Local officials say they are in a holding pattern regarding the announced closure.

“Any time there’s a loss of jobs is a concern for us, but it’s challenging when the lines of communication haven’t been open,” said Joy Gaasch, president of the Grand Haven Chamber of Commerce, who said she received a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification about the layoffs. “At this point, we are not really sure what the process is.”

Grand Haven Township Superintendent and Manager William Cargo also received a notice of Garden Alive’s layoffs, but said it is too early to tell what will happen at the farm, located at 16127 Winans Ave.

“At this stage, we are not doing anything,” Cargo said. “There is an open house for vendors this Saturday.”

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