Although horticultural mailer Gardens Alive! last month bought gifts cataloger The Paragon and restarted its Website, it’s in no rush to bring back the brand’s print catalog. Niles Kinerk, the founder/president/CEO of Gardens Alive!, says the title will relaunch “sometime in 2009.”
Why the delay? “We’ve always had the philosophy of understanding the market and not having to meet a certain volume by such and such a time,” Kinerk says. “The [Paragon] brand is pretty damaged, so we’ll see what the response is” to the Website relaunch, he says.
The Paragon had been shuttered since March, when its parent company BlueSky Brands closed down. Gardens Alive! acquired another former BlueSky Brands title, games catalog Bits and Pieces, in May. “We heard about the BlueSky thing this year, and we had respected what Bits and Pieces had done over the years. And we bought The Paragon because we bought Bits and Pieces,” Kinerk says.
Bits and Pieces and Paragon had the same ownershipBottom of Form
, even before BlueSky Brands, Kinerk notes, “and there was a lot of knowledge there back and forth. As we looked at the history of them using each other’s lists with similar operations, we decided to make the deal.”
In total, Lawrenceburg, IN-based Gardens Alive! now has 10 titles: Gardens Alive!, which specializes in products for the biological control of garden pests, the Breck’s, Gurney Seeds, Henry Field’s, Michigan Bulb, Spring Hill Nurseries, New Holland Bulb, and Audobon Workshop horticultural catalogs, along with Bits and Pieces and The Paragon.
Balancing Gardens Alive!’s business, Kinerk says, is another reason for acquiring the two former BlueSky Brands catalogs. “From October through December, we ship almost no horticultural product,” he says. “Evening out our cash flow is a desirable thing,” he says.
But is merchandising/buying/fulfilling hard goods much different from horticultural catalogs? In a word, Kinerk says, no. “It seems like a breeze to us compared to horticulture,” he says. “We sell a lot of trees and things and we have to decide in May 2009 what we’re going to sell in the spring of 2011. Operationally, it shouldn’t pose any problems.”