Plant Odyssey Needs Your Help!

AlabamaGirl(z7b)June 7, 2005

This message was forwarded to me at work.

FROM LIBBY RICH, OWNER OF PLANT ODYSSEY - BOTTOM LINE - PRICES ARE SLASHED AND LIBBY NEEDS THE COMMUNITY'S HELP TO STAY IN BUSINESS

Effective immediately, all plants, pots and decorative accessories at the Plant Odyssey Nursery are 50% off. The inventory at Plant Odyssey is 20% off.

It is very difficult for me to write this letter, but it has to be done.I need your help.

On February 2 of this year, the banker who had been assigned my account called and demanded a meeting. The banker, who will remain unnamed, brought his assistant to my office at Plant Odyssey. What followed was a nightmare for me. He stated it was evident that my company was failing, and the bank would no longer give me overdraft protection. His recommendation was that I liquidate my inventory, sell the property, pay the bank what I could, and get a job to pay off the remaining debt. I tried explaining to him that yes, my business was in trouble, but I had made it so far and that with the approach of spring, I was confident I could turn it around. He was unyielding, and he listed my mistakes: my stores remained in an area that could not sustain my business; I expanded (opening Plant Odyssey Nursery) when I shouldn't have; and finally I guaranteed the nursery with Plant Odyssey's assets.

When I asked for a temporary loan, he remarked that the bank would not throw good money after bad. I sat stunned and horrified, listening, unable to believe this was happening. I called my husband and asked him to sit in on this meeting. I spent the time until his arrival walking the bankers through my store and nursery, pointing out the inventory, its great beauty, and extensive selection. The assistant, quiet until then, said I would be a wealthy woman had I just moved my businesses Over the Mountain. When my husband Joe arrived, he loaned me enough money to get me through till spring. The bankers said that on June 15, we would meet again to discuss the future of Plant Odyssey and Plant Odyssey Nursery. They see the impending doom of my stores as just another casualty -- a small neighborhood business succumbing to the giants. They do not care about my being a fixture on Birmingham's Southside; they do not care that I am a highly respected professional in my field. Their decision is based strictly on the numbers. That date approaches and while I have made great strides, it hasn't been enough.

Because I believed in the success of the nursery, I invested all my personal assets, but I am tapped out. When I started doing consultations at peoples homes and then installations, it looked as though it would be enough to keep the nursery open, and it still can. Two or three jobs a week would be all that I need. I had depended on strong weekends to pull out of debt, but instead my piece of the pie got even smaller. I saw my sales cut in half on the two weekends Pike Nursery opened. I do not want the bank to be right (the understatement of the year), but unless I come up with a substantial amount of money, the bank will call the note and Plant Odyssey and Plant Odyssey Nursery will be history. If I have ever helped you in the past, please help me now.

If you can't buy anything, would you please tell a friend? Better yet, forward this email to everyone you know.

Here are our locations so they will know where we are.

Plant Odyssey is at 2912 6th Avenue South. Plant Odyssey Nursery is around the corner and two blocks down at 2900 4th Avenue South.

Effective immediately, all plants, pots and decorative accessories at the Plant Odyssey Nursery are 50% off. The inventory at Plant Odyssey is 20% off. If anyone is interested in a consultation or an installation, please call for an appointment (324-0566). The charge for an on-site visit is $100.

I believe what I do is worthy and that with your help, I can save the stores. I would be grateful to see you in the next two weeks.

Libby

FROM LIBBY RICH, OWNER OF PLANT ODYSSEY - BOTTOM LINE - PRICES ARE SLASHED AND LIBBY NEEDS THE COMMUNITY'S HELP TO STAY IN BUSINESS

Effective immediately, all plants, pots and decorative accessories at the Plant Odyssey Nursery are 50% off. The inventory at Plant Odyssey is 20% off.

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Mimi_Carol(35121 - AL)

I got this from a friend, too. This is NOT good news. Plant Odyssey is the closest garden shop to where I work (UAB) and even closer than the ones where I live!

I'll be there tomorrow. I just sold some property in south Alabama. I may just spend more than a little with Libby and Benson.

Mimi

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 5:53PM
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tedevore(7b Al)

I am also planning on buying some stuff there tomorrow. They have always been super nice, they really care about plants, and the place has more character than the bigger garden centers, IMHO. Libby has also done many things to support the Botanical Gardens. Besides, its nice when not EVERYTHING is "over the mountain." Way too much stuff on this side of the mountain, as far as I'm concerned.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 9:14PM
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alex_z7(7 AL)

Oh my! I am shocked speechless. I'll go there tomorrow.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 10:32PM
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ourhighlandhome

I just got through reading the notice in my e-mail. This is too depressing. I don't even want to comment right now....

:-

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 11:27PM
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roseyp8255(z8 - SC AL)

I forwarded the link to some people i know up there. I have never been up there, but am always about helping the smaller outfits stay in business!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 11:28PM
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Dave_from_the_Hills(z7B ALABAMA)

This is terrible news... I'm going to post this on another gardening forum I read. I hope as many people as possible can make a trip to her stores and purchase some things... Many or most of us know she has the best perennial nursery in town, but I also think her tree/shrub nursery has the most interesting inventory in the city. LOTS of interesting things!!! I really feel bad for Libby - she took a gamble to open the new nursery and has been offering a really nice selection of plants and now it's in danger of backfiring in a big way...

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 8:27AM
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Mimi_Carol(35121 - AL)

OK. I went to Plant Odyssey yesterday afternoon after work and bought 2 angel trumpets, a small varigated plant of some sort (it's very pretty!), a tin watering can and the most adorable metal (verdigris) frog that I've seen in a long time! I told Libby that I had gotten her e-mail and hugged her tight. She looked so depressed!

Today at lunch, I'm going to the PO Nursery. Libby and Benson have so many native plants so I know they will grow in the hot, humid weather.

Speaking of native plants, last Thursday, I bought some red lily-like plants from Libby. The blooms are on long spikes and smell good to boot. They are native to Jefferson County.

See you at Plant Odyssey!!
Mimi

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 8:53AM
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outsideplaying_gw(7)

Does anyone know if she would come up to Morgan County for a consultation/on-site visit & installation? It would be about an hour drive and I can certainly call and ask. I was almost ready to post some photos on this forum and ask everyone for some additional ideas, but I'm happy to get some personal service and do something to help keep people like this in business. Two of my kids and a cousin live in B'ham and have been frequent customers.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 9:45AM
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alex_z7(7 AL)

I spent my lunch break there. A reporter was interviewing Libby for a newspaper (I assume, because there were no tv cameras). A guy was taking pictures of the grounds(of the 6th Avenue South location) to go with the article.

Of course I had to buy some plants. Normally I don't let myself buy peonies, but I had to make an exception this time. Then at the Nursery I saw some shrubs that struck my fancy so......I am thinking about going back after work to finish going through the Nursery, since I had to check out and get back to work before I had gone through the whole place. She has such a lot to choose from!

While in the Nursery, I saw someone I once knew. (The fact that I noticed someone who was not a plant is amazing in itself, lol.) Only now, reading back over these posts, have I started to wonder if it was you, Mimi Carol, there on your lunch, too. Are your (maiden name) initials C.A.M., you have a wonderful singing voice, and have a brother whose name begins with "A"?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 4:02PM
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tedevore(7b Al)

One of the thigs I picked up today was a huge ceramic container, originally marked $80, selling for $40. Well, along with some succulents for my hypertufa, I got the container, but left a big "tip" so i didn't feel like I was stealing. I always feel like a get a good deal there, even when there isn't a sale on.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 5:24PM
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alex_z7(7 AL)

Did anyone go today? The nursery was overflowing with inventory yesterday at lunch and a lot had sold by the time I went back after work. I hope sales have remained brisk and will continue to do so. She has so many great plants!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 10:11PM
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AlaButterfly(7)

Good News! Looks like thanks to everyone's immediate outpouring of support, Plant Odyssey is staying afloat!
Here's a link to an article in the Post Herald: http://www.postherald.com/bu062105.shtml

Let's all remember to refer people and continue to go by as often as possible. I'm still amazed at how many people I mention her business to aren't even aware it's there.

Does anyone know if Libby has a website? It's too late to call her & ask...but I bet that would be a big help to advertise her business locally. If she does, would someone post the link here? Otherwise, I'll give her a call tomorrow or go by there if I can. Actually, I'll just try googling it right now (duh!)

Happy gardening everyone! ~AlaButterfly~

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 10:25PM
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tweetypye(z8/sc AL)

I don't live near B'ham, don't know Libby nor her nursery, but I am so glad to see the results! It's nice to see people really caring in this fast paced society of ours. :) Bravo to all of you who supported Libby! But then, we all know that gardeners are a great group!! :) So many times, it's the "little guys" who get stepped on and kicked aside by "big business". Thank goodness, one "Little guy" made it, in spite of them.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 9:45AM
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mygarden_my_peace(7b AL)

I have worked downtown for 9 years now and never knew it was there. I will definitely check it out. I have googled a million times looking for a nursery close by that I can shop at. Maybe someone could suggest a website to her, I think it would be a great idea. Personally I try to stear clear of 280 so Libby's place would be awesome! Anyone know if she's open on Saturdays?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 8:44PM
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alex_z7(7 AL)

She is open on Saturdays but I am uncertain of the exact hours. (Plus, the hours for the nursery vary slightly from the "main" store.) I recall them as being something like 8-5:30 at the main location
8:30-5:00 at the nursery
(Although I have seen the nursery open after 5 many days.)
Call to double-check, though.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 9:18PM
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newdawn1895(7)

I can't imagine the Southside of downtown Birmingham without Plant Odyssey. I plan to go there with a few friends this weekend. Let's save this institution!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 12:27PM
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