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Costa Farms continues to grow, buys Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses

With the acquisition of houseplant producer Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses in Apopka, FL, Costa Farms grew to 9,507,300 square feet of greenhouses and rose to No. 3 on Greenhouse Growers Top 100 Growers in 2014 (up from fifth place in 2013), ranked by total square footage of environmentally controlled greenhouse space.

“We have a wide range of products and when it came to competing on the small foliage, Hermann Engelmann did a really good job,” Jose Smith, chief operating officer of Costa Farms in Miami, told The Produce News. “It just made sense for our company to acquire the best of the best.”

Costa Farms will operate Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses as-is for the next few months, keeping all operations intact and all greenhouses operational, and will start the company integration this summer. The two organizations will combine strengths to offer more quality solutions to its customers.

“We know that people don’t have to buy foliage plants,” Smith said. “If we’re not delivering solutions to our customers, at the end of the day we’re not going to be around.”

“The Engelmann organization has done an outstanding job cultivating and keeping its brand strong with 40-plus years of hard work and dedication,” Jose Costa, executive vice president and co-owner of Costa Farms, said in a company news release. “We feel a huge component of this transaction is the skill and expertise of the Engelmann production team.”

Hermann Engelmann operates 69 acres of greenhouses and has roughly 300 employees. It will add a network of more than 1,100 retailers, including mass merchandisers, grocery stores and independent garden centers to Costa Farms.

Costa Farms is a third-generation, family-owned business that stretches over 4,200 acres and employs 3,100 people (before the acquisition). It has both indoor houseplant and bedding plant divisions, and operations in Florida, North Carilina, South Carolina, the Dominican Republic and China.

With more than 400 plant varieties, Costa Farms supplies all the U.S. Lowe’s stores (including Puerto Rico stores), Home Depot, Walmart, Costco and IKEA stores. One-third of the company’s revenue comes from bedding plants, with two-thirds coming from foliage plants.

With its newest acquisition, the company may expand its marketing services.

“We’re figuring out exactly what the strategy is going to be,” said Smith. “Right now we are focusing on integrating our operations and improving our overall efficiency.”