Smith & Hawken going under

EGO45(6bCT)July 9, 2009

So long Smith & Hawken, it was nice while it lasted.

The Smith & Hawken website says it all-

"Thank you for 30 wonderful years in the garden."

For those of us who knew S&H back when it was that neat little store in Mill Valley with the wonderful gardening tools, Wednesday was a sad day.

That's when we heard the news that S&H was going out of business after nearly 30 years.

The perennially hip gardening biz began with two guys; Dave Smith and Paul Hawken who, sensing the market for burgeoning outdoor lifestyle, began selling well-made, attractive gardening tools. Their trowel became their iconic symbol.

But time went by, the founders sold the business and S&H traded hands before eventually winding up being owned by, of all things, corporate giant Scotts Miracle-Gro Company based in Ohio. According to the Marin IJ, that move was the antithesis of what the original founders wanted and one of them even encouraged customers not to patronize the S&H brand anymore. Still, Scotts believed they had a winner with S&H and even opened newly remodeled mega-stores as late as 2006, including the one in Strawberry. S&H products even appeared in Target stores. But former devotees say the move away from the core business of gardening tools, and into the home decoration market, was the death knell in the dwindling economy.

S & H employees were hoping for a miracle in the form of a buyer as late as Tuesday, even as liquidators were closing in on its nearly 60 stores here in the U.S. The company- based in Novato- employs about 100 people in Marin between the headquarters and the retail store, and about 6,400 workers worldwide.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link

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Oh, that's certainly the end of an era. I haven't bought much from S&H lately, but still have their site bookmarked; they had a good selection of certain types of things, like low iron fence panels that make great plant supports, that are hard to find anywhere else.

The stores are still open, according to the website (no more on-line orders, though), and everything is apparently on sale. Hingham, here I come.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 9:38PM
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that is sad. Close to 25 years ago my father in law bought me three tools from them. Although they are very well made, I always found the handles too short to be very comfortable. But their craftsmanship was extraordinary.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 10:43PM
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darn, I'm sitting on a gift certificate. Ironically, I looked around their website a few months ago and didn't see anything that caught my eye that I needed/wanted.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 10:56PM
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I woke up in the middle of the night with an idea. (isn't that amazing how that so often happens). Anyone want to buy a $50 SH gift card for $25? win-win.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 7:59AM
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whoops... re-read msg and it sounded kinda weird.

um... obviously I meant someone who would be going to one of the stores sales!! They are too far for me.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 8:10AM
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didn't sound weird at all. i used to frequent craig's list and people were selling their gift cards at discount all the time. your offer made me pause, but I'm not near one of their stores, either, and I need more plant supports somewhere else!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 10:32AM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

wendy- post your offer on under farm and garden . i'd suggest you post it in the southshore location and maybe you could agree for someone to send you a check and you send them the card. another option- the store could send you what you want. they do that.thanks george for posting this. i would never have known.
xo mindy

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 11:56AM
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good idea Mindy. I suppose paypal would work too.

I have a recent S&H catalog and I looked through it last night several times looking for something to get. I still couldn't come up with anything. I considered new felco $50 pruners, but I couldn't even justify $11 shipping for pruners I don't really need (but probably will someday).

Maybe I'll call the Hingham store and see whats up.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 12:50PM
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Wow, they are busy over there!! I just called and ordered the felco pruners for 20% off which made the shipping lower which came to 47.95 for my $50 gift card. Perfecto!

offer withdrwawn!

Thanks George and Mindy!!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 1:05PM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

yay wendy!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 2:05PM
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the_shady_lady(z6 CT)

I'm bummed. Got over $300 in gift cards from the little lady I help out. Every time I go to the store in Westport to try to spend them I see nothing I want. I guess I better just get some back-up pruners or garden boots and call it a day. Any suggestions???


    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 7:07PM
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Hi all,

I'm near the Hingham store and have had my eye on a few things, but it's been always way out of my price range. If anyone hears of anyone with gift cards they might not use, I'd definitely be interested in a deal. It's so sad to see stores close in this economy. I must say in general I have been trying to spend my money in local businesses and keep them going, but it is still sad to hear about so many jobs lost.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 8:48PM
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Virginia, they had interesting water features and pottery about a month ago when I visit the store.
Planning to pay them a visit tomorrow and see what's left.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 9:17PM
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the_shady_lady(z6 CT)

Got a bunch of good stuff this morning. Entire store only 20-30% off but I was happy with my purchases and I didn't wind up with useless junk.

It's still a bit sad though.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 1:12PM
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Monique z6a CT(6a CT)

I went to my local S&H store today also and got a few things. It is sad, especially after Gardener's Eden went under a couple years ago also. I enjoy the gardening shops.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 6:58PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Monique, where the heck did you find time to go shopping today?! Gee, if I were you, I'd still be outside working by flashlight, lol! But then, I am a procrastinator, so I would wait till the week before to get my garden ready for a tour. I guess your garden is always tour-ready!

Perhaps we will see some of your purchases in the garden tomorrow?


    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 9:10PM
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I suspect there is a trend going on... I was just following a link to an google image search and I found this. Have never shopped there.

Effective June 30th, 2009, Carroll Gardens suspended accepting website orders for shipment.

For a limited time, phone orders for remaining inventory are being accepted. Call: toll free 800-638-6334.


Not highly rated on watchdog, but still... another one bites the dust...

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 11:06PM
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Well, another proof to the Darvin's theory.
Survival of the fittest. In the business.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 11:13PM
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I don't get it - I swear I'm doing my utmost to keep the garden industry healthy, sometimes to the detriment of my retirement funds.

But poor Darwin; I suppose he can be blamed for mundane Burpee's takeover of the formerly glorious Heronswood? LOL, ego!

At least this may cut down on the number of catalogs that need to be recycled every month. S&H was notorious for that, and I never knew how they could justify the waste.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 9:18AM
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