Sepers Nursery in Newfield, New Jersey, is a wholesale grower that receives liners from Van Belle Nursery. Sepers’ container division spreads over 50 acres. The business sells to landscapers, rewholesalers and IGCs, and has its own retail store on the property.
Dan Sepers is operations manager at the fourth-generation family-owned business. He appreciates the loyalty Van Belle shows to its customers and says it makes them easily one of his favorite vendors.
“They have a whole family aspect that we have in our business as well,” he says.
Sepers buys RocketLiners from Van Belle. These massive plugs are heavier and deeper than the typical liner, with a well-developed root system. Sepers likes how the root system is more like getting the value of a one-gallon plant in a much smaller liner. And the way Van Belle stands behind their liners by shipping them without pots really impresses Sepers.
“What they’re doing with the FloGo shipping is they’re de-potting the plants and sending them across the country as basically dirt in boxes,” Sepers says. “A lot of people couldn’t do that because of the development of the root systems on the product you’re getting. Van Belle is fully confident that what they’re sending you isn’t going to fall apart in transit.”
Aside from getting a stronger liner that is further along with a better-developed root system, the other advantage of pot-less shipping includes an increase in profitability.
“It saves money on the whole labor side of it and the freight too,” he says. “I mean, you’re shipping weight for the most part.”
The labor savings impact the bottom line by reducing the time spent planting the liners and getting them out to the field. The nursery constantly strives to become more efficient, searching for answers to questions like how long it takes to do a task well or how fast can the workers complete the task and still do it the right way.
“At a production nursery like ours, time is everything,” he says. “I think that they are leading the pack there because it saves us so much time.”
Van Belle is a Canadian young plant supplier that has developed a reputation as a problem solver. The company designed and patented the propagation tray for RocketLiners and found a better way to ship them with the FloGo system. The system uses 100% recycled cardboard boxes and fits more plants on a pallet, saves freight costs and labor costs because there is no longer a plastic pot to wrestle off and throw away.
“If I had to take plants off a pallet and then have to take them out of a box and then take them out of a plastic tray or another plastic pot, I end up with a load of trash and it’s time consuming,” Sepers says. “Our people get paid here by the hour. For us to streamline our production and keep our operations flowing, this makes it way easier.”