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About Us | History

History of Sun Gro

A company with history
A company with history

Sun Gro is the largest producer of peat in North America and the largest distributor of peat moss and peat-based growing media products to the North American professional plant growers market. Sun Gro sells products primarily to professional greenhouse, nursery and specialty crop growers throughout North America, as well as to golf course developers and landscapers. Sun Gro was founded in 1929 in Vancouver, British Columbia as the Western Peat Company Ltd., as a producer of peat moss. Initial success enabled the company to grow and its operations expanded throughout British Columbia and eastward into central Canada. The business has had a number of owners over the years. In 2002 Sun Gro became a public company.

The company's strategy was refocused from building brand awareness and market share in the retail market to targeting the higher margin, more stable professional growers market, thus expanding its private label retail business and completing complementary strategic acquisitions. The result was a vertically integrated producer of value-added growing mixes with a broad North American footprint.

Between 1998 and 1999, Sun Gro made three separate strategic acquisitions which significantly expanded its product line and its ability to serve its customers across North America, while also improving the quality and life of its peat reserves. In 1998, Sun Gro acquired Lakeland Peat Moss Ltd. ("Lakeland"), which gave the company additional mixing capability and control over the majority of economically accessible peat reserves in western Canada. The company has enjoyed increased efficiencies in production and transportation due to the Lakeland acquisition.

In 1999, Sun Gro acquired Strong-Lite Products Corp. ("Strong Lite") and certain assets of Pro Gro Products, Inc. ("Pro Gro") through two separate transactions. These acquisitions strengthened Sun Gro's leadership position in the professional growers segment by adding high quality bark-based growing mixes to its product line for the professional market while fulfilling the company's desire to establish a North American footprint of mixing and distribution facilities.

Capacity and bog resources were added to that footprint in 2004 when Sun Gro acquired Lameque Quality Group. Also that year, the acquisition of the professional growing media business of The Scotts Company and their respected Metro Mix® brand significantly enhanced Sun Gro's ability to service growers in the Eastern part of North America with premium bark-based products.

Further peat resources were added over the following three years with the purchase of Pigeon Hill Peat (New Brunswick), Normiska Peat (Ontario) and Tourbiere Omer Belanger (Quebec).

Additional expansion in the main horticultural areas of the United States was accomplished with the acquisition of Sun Up Horticulture (California), Kellogg Rich Grow (California) and Florida Potting Soils (Florida and Georgia). This expansion has propeled Sun Gro to a leadership position across North America in both the greenhouse and nursery segments.

In 2011, Sun Gro was acquired, and ceased to be a public company.

Timeline


1929 Founded in Vancouver as Western Peat Company Ltd.
1947 Opens production facilities in Manitoba, Canada.
1964 Opens production facilities in Maisonnette, New Brunswick.
1974 Sold to S.B. McLaughlin Associates, Ltd.
1980 Sold to Fisons PLC and renamed Fisons Western Peat Moss, Ltd.
1982 Renamed Fisons Horticulture when Fisons purchased the remaining interest in the company.
1984 Acquired operations of Langley Peat North, Ltd. of Seba Beach, Alberta
1987 Opened two new satellite mix plants, one in Quincy, Michigan and the second in Terrell, Texas.
1993 Sold to Macluan Capital Inc., and renamed Sun Gro Horticulture, Inc.
1995 Sold to Madison Dearborn Capital Partners II LLP. Sun Gro Horticulture, Inc. becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Hines Holding, Inc.
1998 Acquired Lakeland Peat Moss, Ltd., and Pacific Soils, Inc. Hines Horticulture, Inc. completes IPO and is listed as HORT on NASDAQ.
1999 Acquired Pro Gro Products, Inc.. Acquired Strong-Lite Products Corp.
2002 Sun Gro Horticulture Income Fund acquires various assets and related businesses from Hines Horticulture, Inc. and commences operations on March 27, 2002.
2004 Acquired Lameque Quality Group.
2004 Acquired The Scott's Company's Professional Growing Media business.
2005 Acquired Pigeon Hill Peat.
2005 Sun Gro becomes exclusive distributor of Multicote Controlled Release Fertilizers in the North American Greenhouse and Nursery Markets
2006 Acquired Normiska Peat.
2007 Acquired Sun-Up Horticulture.
2007 Acquired Kellogg-Rich Grow.
2007 Acquired Tourbiere Omer Belanger Inc.
2007 Acquired Florida Potting Soils.
2010 Sun Gro Horticulture Income Fund completes reorganization of trust structure to a corporation, Sun Gro Horticulture, Inc.
2011 Sun Gro Horticulture acquired by a privately held company.

Sun Gro is a proud member of the following trade associations:

Canadian Sphagnum
Peat Moss Association
The Perlite Institute The Vermiculite
Association
Mulch and Soil Council
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