State-of-the-art growing and distribution facilities will improve production and strengthen e-commerce operations while affirming commitment to Bullock County, AL.
Bonnie Plants, the largest grower of vegetable and herb plants for home gardens in the U.S., is upgrading and expanding its greenhouse facilities in Union Springs, Alabama with a multimillion-dollar project that will improve production and strengthen its e-commerce operations.
“This new operation will be one of the most state-of-the-art facilities within Bonnie’s network of over 300 acres of greenhouses nationwide,” said Mike Sutterer, President and CEO of Bonnie Plants. “When completed, this project will expand our growing and distribution space in Union Springs by more than 30 percent while improving how we grow and distribute vegetables and herbs as well as our new growth segments of flowers, succulents and houseplants.”
The expansion includes 7 acres of open-roof, natural-ventilation greenhouses, which provide a variety of benefits compared to traditional fan and shutter greenhouses, including better temperature and humidity control, energy savings and reduced need for irrigation — plus an additional 4 acres of outdoor growing area. There will also be a 7,800-square-foot production line and 45,900-square-foot e-commerce distribution warehouse at each end of the greenhouses. Including potting, finish growth and distribution in one central facility will create better, sturdier plants by reducing handling time and variations in temperature and climate as the plants are moved through the facility, improving plant quality for Bonnie consumers. The new site will not only allow expansion for products and growing but for employment as well, bringing an estimated 60 additional jobs to Bullock county.
The upgrade will also allow Bonnie to strengthen direct fulfillment for its ever-expanding
e-commerce division. This expansion project began as a way to support the surging demand following a 450 percent increase in e-commerce sales in 2020 and another increase of at least 400 percent planned for 2021.
“E-commerce has been one of the fastest-growing channels for Bonnie Plants for the past several years,” said Sidney Phelps, Director of E-commerce of Bonnie Plants. “As consumers are buying more things online, they’re even choosing to have plants for their gardens delivered directly to their homes. This new expansion allows us to offer a best-in-class experience for distribution while keeping the overall plant health at the highest quality.”
Bullock County plays a great role in Bonnie’s growth and plans for the future. Working with the Bullock County Development Authority, Bonnie is committed to invest in our largest and most strategically important facility in Union Springs.
In conjunction with the increased investment in Union Springs, last year Bonnie announced it was relocating certain headquarters positions to a new state-of-the-art building in Opelika with the goal of leveraging the location, building and amenities to help Bonnie’s employee recruiting and retention efforts. The new building had a groundbreaking ceremony last August and is scheduled to be completed late fall of 2021.
“We’re proud that the new greenhouse facilities will not only create expansion for our products and operations, but for employment in Bullock County as well,” Sutterer said “Union Springs has been an integral part of Bonnie’s history for more than 100 years and that isn’t changing. We’re excited that we’ll be able to continue our commitment to this community by adding more associates to the Bonnie family through this expansion.”
Construction on the project began in December 2020 and is expected to be completed in Fall 2021.