Calyx & Corolla for Sale Again

Less than three years after Equity Resource Partners bought Calyx & Corolla from now-defunct retail consolidator Gerald Stevens, the flowers and plants cataloger is for sale.

“The group is seeking to move as quickly as possible to facilitate a buyer’s ability to capitalize on the upcoming holiday and Mother’s Day seasons,” says Jim Adams, managing director of Wellesley, MA-based investment bank Tully & Holland, which is advising Equity Resource Partners in the deal. Indeed, the Vero Beach, FL-based cataloger is already beginning to create its holiday book.

The ideal buyer, Adams says, would be a company that could fold Calyx & Corolla into its existing business, rather than a financial buyer.

Calyx & Corolla president/CEO Andy Williams notes that the catalog broke even for the fiscal year ended June 30, so the timing’s right for Equity Resource Partners to get a better return on its investment. Two years ago, Calyx operated at a significant cash flow deficit, Williams says. But largely by cutting costs, it was able to improve the bottom line.

Moving most of the catalog functions from San Francisco to Vero Beach in 2001 helped reduce costs, Williams says. The company used to occupy 30,000 sq. ft. of expensive office space overlooking the San Francisco Bay. “In Vero Beach, we’re located between a collection agency and a funeral home,” he notes. The relocations also enabled Calyx to pay employees lower salaries. “So we were able to do some of the belt-tightening while still maintaining our revenue,” Williams says.

Founded in 1989 by Ruth Owades, who’d previously founded Gardeners Eden, Calyx & Corolla mails more than 9 million catalogs annually and has a $90 average order. Owades sold the catalog to Gerald Stevens in 1999; Equity Resource Partners bought it in early 2001.

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