The economic downturn finally hits home

The email came today, Smith & Hawken is done. Catalog and online ordering is no more, and remaining merchandise is being liquidated through the retail stores, which of course we don't have here.

I read an interview with Mr. Hawken today, and he's pretty happy to see it go. It began as an importer of quality English gardening tools, but through the years and multiple owners had turned into more of a home decor retailer with a gardening flavor, and he seemed kind of bitter about it.

It's not my name over the door however, and I've been a fan for a long time. The rusty iron urns and cement archtectural plaques on the patio, and a set of imported French stoneware in the kitchen were all S&H buys. We've had them for years and I still love every piece.

I'm not generally a fan of national chains, be they retailers or restaurants. When a big national business closes, I'm always hopeful that there are small businesses waiting to step in and fill the need. I'm in favor of small businesses. I like the independents.

But I'm bummed out, because I liked so much of what Smith & Hawken offered.

And worst of all, I did not order a pair of the antique galvanized planters above. (Damn the condo market, I thought I'd pick them up after we moved...which of course we've yet to do.)

But the email linked to a store locator, so the calling around begins tomorrow. I'm not confident that they'll ship as they're liquidating, but it never hurts to try. If you've seen anything similar anywhere else please let me know.

10 comments:

Kathy said...

I'm sad to see them go too. I got a lovely set of succulents this spring that are beautiful and have filled in even more since I took this shot: http://kea-norhymeorreason.blogspot.com/2009/05/new-succulents.html.

Love your blog. . .

Toad said...

S&H always seemed like a better idea than a store, especially in their early days. Now that they are gone, local retailers might be able to spread their wings. RIP

Anonymous said...

After reading your post this morning I ran over to the local S&H here in Seattle. They are only offering 20-30% off which doesn't seem like that great of a deal (with all sales final).

No surprise really but all the Felco clippers were gone! I didn't see your planters around.

David said...

Anon: That isn't much of a deal for final sale. As always, I'm sure the longer it runs the bigger the discount, and of course the more picked-over the selection.

Thanks for looking for the planters!

Decorina said...

David I checked at the S&H here in Denver, too. No planters. The discount was also 20-30%. Not enough for me to buy anything. Their merchandise seems to me to have gotten downgraded since they were bought by Scotts...not really gardening items, but garden themed decorative objects as someone said above.

I always had a soft spot for them in my heart though - especially back when they were really for hard core gardeners. I think the founder may open another store (online) once they are gone.

designerman said...

thanks david! wish you could be at the show!!

Karena said...

David I lived in San Diego thirteen years and I loved th Smith & Hawkins at Fashion Valley Some of my framed botanicals are from one of their calendars! Sad!

Karena said...

Oh and they had the best orchids!

hello gorgeous said...

I had no idea!

I am sad to see them go; however, I do remember them from the 80s and 90s when I thought they were truer to their vision.

I loved when they introduced flowering (and not: thyme) ground covers to replace grass. It didn't fly, though, this being America.

Pigtown-Design said...

My brother said that their stuff was so well-made (at least it used to be), that people didn't need to replace it, so people weren't repeat buyers.