Stacey’s Garden Center files for bankruptcy protection

Stacy’s Garden Center of York, one of York County’s largest employers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Friday in anticipation of selling the company.

Stacy’s Inc., which sells plants at retail outlets in 24 states, listed assets of $26.4 million and liabilities of $31.3 million in its filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in South Carolina. The filing did not list a buyer, but Tim Brindley, Stacy’s president, said Friday that talks with a potential buyer have been under way for several months.

A sale of the company could be announced in about 30 days, the time it typically takes a Chapter 11 case to be heard in court, Brindley said.

In a statement to employees, Brindley said “Stacy’s will continue to operate as it always has, pending the sale, throughout the process. The flow of quality products delivered by Stacy’s will continue during this interim time period and into the future. The sale of Stacy's will allow the new combined company to emerge as a very strong player in the nursery industry.”

The new company will not have the Stacy’s name, he said. The company was founded by Louis O. Stacy in 1969.

The potential buyer has indicated it wants to retain 95 percent of Stacy’s workforce and the current management, Brindley said. The company has nearly 800 employees during the peak growing season.

Stacy’s has $22.4 million in secured claims with most of it held by the Bank of the West, Temecula, Calif., according to the bankruptcy filing.

Creditors with the largest amount of unsecured claims are Express Seed of Cleveland, $1.35 million; Container Centralen of Winter Garden, Fla., $1.1 million; Sun Gro Horticulture of Chicago, $815,227; Bank of the West, Temecula, Calif., $547,912; Ednie Flowers Bulb of Fredon, N.J.; and East Jordan Plastics of East Jordan, Mich., $436,224.

Assets listed in the bankruptcy filing were an inventory of $11.3 million; farm and office equipment, $4.1 million; and $10.1 million in money owed to Stacy’s.

Employees were informed of the bankruptcy filing on Friday. “It will be business as usual for our employees,” Brindley said. “Their pay and benefits will not be interrupted.”

The company has a wholesale farm in York; garden centers in York and Shelby, N.C.; and a propagation center in Pendleton. In all, it has 260 acres in York County, with 16 acres devoted to plant greenhouses.Stacy’s produces and sells perennials, ground cover, mums, pansies and other plants – about 16 million pots annually.