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Andrew Lee, Fred C. Gloeckner & Co:

US: Gloeckner heavily invests in new products, latest technologies

"When our growers are happy, then we are happy," says Andrew Lee, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Fred C. Gloeckner & Co., Inc., a distributor of young plants, seeds, bulbs and hardware that provides a full range of products and services to the commercial horticultural industry in the US, Canada, North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

To stay competitive in the market and provide their customers with all the necessary resources to accelerate their businesses, the company is always looking for new and unique products, and is heavily investing in the latest cutting edge technologies. Leading the way for Gloeckner as shown below are Executives Joseph A. Simone and Andrew Lee.

On the left Joseph A. Simone, President and CEO and on the right Andrew Lee, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at the GreenTech 2014 in Amsterdam.

One-stop shop
Gloeckner, a company with a history of 80 years, has developed a broad assortment of products. "We are a one-stop shop for the grower," says Lee. They represent many professional breeding companies, and as an independent distributor, they are free to offer everyone’s genetics. "We own one of the broadest young plant and plug assortments in the US." They also have a strong presence in the seed and bulb sector. "We offer approximately 8,000 seed items from worldwide breeders. Bedding Plant, Cut Flower, Pot Plant, Perennial, Vegetable, Foliage & Exotic, Ornamental Grass, and Organic seeds are all included in the offering." Regarding bulbs, they are the premier supplier of Easter lily bulbs. "Bulbs are part of the very fabric of the Gloeckner Company, continuing from the ‘early days’ when Fred Gloeckner traveled to California and encouraged bulb producers to increase production for national distribution. There are many bulb crops today, for which the Gloeckner Co. is the industry leader - not only in distribution, but also in the research and development that has resulted in improved storage/treatment techniques and greenhouse production methodologies. In addition to Easter Lilies, other offerings include Oriental and Asiatic Hybrids, both Dry Sale and Forcing bulbs, Programmed Iris, Caladiums, Cannas, Callas, Gladiolus, Oxalis, ‘La Belle’ Ranunculus, Anemone and other corms and rhizomes for cut flower and pot plant production, and comprehensive Dutch Bulb forcing programs. "We have our own bulb facility in which we treat the bulbs. By treating the bulbs ourselves, we are able to assure growers that the bulbs are programmed for the proper forcing and bloom dates,” he says.

Flower Bulb Treatment Facility located in Clackamas Oregon, USA, and the Hybrid Lily Catalog Cover.

Unique products
Gloeckner is operating in a competitive market, and is able to differentiate themselves from competitors by offering unique products. "In each of our product categories, we have products that are exclusive or semi-exclusive to our company. Gloeckner is for example the only supplier of Fantasy Colors. Especially during the Christmas season, painted poinsettias are very popular here," says Lee. However, according to Lee it is not an easy task to become and be a supplier of unique products. For many of their products, extra training and certifications are needed in order to sell them. In hardware goods for example, they recently became a partner of Philips LED Lighting. "Philips choose us, along with a couple of other companies, to represent them in North and South America. In order to sell and represent Philips LED lights, we had to go through extensive training in the Netherlands, and here in the US," says Lee. 

Seed Catalog.

Facilitate the order

The service at Gloeckner goes beyond advising about and delivering a product. This is another way Gloeckner differentiates themselves in the market. "We do not only deliver a product, but we facilitate the order," explains Lee. Currently, Gloeckner has 25 field representatives spread across the different regions in the US, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. These representatives are supporting growers throughout the entire cultivation process. All of their representatives have a background in horticulture and are 100% employed by Gloeckner. "They have extensive field experience in horticulture, and most of them were growers in the past. Therefore, they have a lot of experience and knowledge about cultivation, diseases, and pest management, as well as knowledge of the products and companies we represent. They all have degrees in Horticultural Science and are continuously receiving training to keep them up to date." 

Headquarters based in Harrison, New York, USA.

Expanding assortment and sales force
In the future, Gloeckner will keep on expanding their assortment with exclusive products and also their sales force," says Lee. They have already started to execute this plan by hiring a new representative, Ricardo Campos, to manage and direct their LED solutions project. “We expect this market to grow fast in the US and throughout South America. LED’s can shorten growth cycles, increase yields, reduce energy and enable more economic use of space, thus making the grower more efficient and profitable. Add Philips proven light recipes and you can further control plant growth, development, and/or nutritional content to produce unique results that differentiate your business in the market. Locally grown products are becoming increasingly popular too, which also includes City Farming. In order to realize this kind of cultivation, more LED lightning is needed," says Lee. Besides tapping into this growing market, Gloeckner will also focus more on electronic commerce. "It will enable growers to order our products quickly and easily on-line," concludes Lee.

For more information
Fred C. Gloeckner & Co., Inc.
Andrew Lee
Email: [email protected]