So long Smith, So long Hawken
Smith & Hawken, the symbol of high-end gardening for more than 30 years, is going out of business.
Founded in Marin County, Calif., as a garden tool importer, it was purchased in 2004 by Scotts Miracle-Gro.
"With the economy and the markets the way they are, this is just something we needed to do for the overall business," said Scotts Miracle-Gro spokesman Su Lok from company headquarters in Ohio.
There are no more on-line sales, but some 56 retail outlets - there is one in Chevy Chase - will be open until they finish liquidation.
Its two founders told reporters they are relieved because the business had long since become detached from its original values.
While the original Smith & Hawken focused on high-end English gardening tools with a lifetime guarantee, the company branched into outdoor living products such as furniture, fire pits, lighting and garden decor.
"Scotts couldn't have been a worse corporate owner," said Paul Hawken. "Smith & Hawken had become just a ghost of itself."
Dave Smith, who lives in Mendocino County and owns Mulligan Books in Ukiah, said he had gone so far as to ask friends to boycott the company bearing his name.
"When Scotts bought it and Smith & Hawken was owned by the largest pesticide seller in the U.S., I suggested people boycott it," he said. "It had completely lost its roots."
Hawken, now head of engineering firm Pax Group, used the occasion of the closure to host a party Wednesday night.
"I couldn't be happier to see my name come down," he said
There is a lovely tribute to the company on Garden Rant. Check it out.