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MCKENZIE FARMS GREEN EXPRESS……”GROWERS OF SIGNATURE TREES”

DEAR FRIENDS,
ONE YEAR AGO THIS MONTH WE INTRODUCED OUR COMMUNICATION LINK “MCKENZIE FARMS GREEN EXPRESS” WITH OUR ASSOCIATES, OUR CUSTOMERS, AND OUR PARTNERS. THE DIRECTION AND PURPOSE OF THE “GREEN EXPRESS” IS TO COMMUNICATE THE ACTIVITIES OF MCKENZIE FARMS, ITS MANAGEMENT PHILOSOPHY, AND TRENDS WITHIN THE CHRISTMAS TREE INDUSTRY. OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU IS A TWENTY-THREE YEAR HISTORY BASED ON THE FOUNDATION THAT WE NEVER COMPROMISE ON QUALITY.

MOTHER NATURE IS QUITE A LADY AND JACK FROST IS QUITE A MAN. WE MET BOTH OF THEM ALONG WITH SOME OF THE STRANGEST WEATHER IN OVER FIFTY YEARS. UNDER ADVERSE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED OUR 2013 HARVEST. AS WE ENTERED THE HARVEST SEASON, OUR SPIRITS WERE HIGH WITH THE BEST CROP OF TREES IN OVER TWENTY YEARS. WE RECEIVED THE MOISTURE IN EARLY OCTOBER, THE FREEZING TEMPERATURES IN LATE OCTOBER ALONG WITH OVERCAST AND COOL WEATHER LEADING INTO HARVEST; THIS IS PERFECT HARVEST WEATHER. LITTLE DID WE KNOW THAT THE WEATHER WOULD SOON TURN AGAINST US; THE LAST TWO WEEKS OF NOVEMBER WE HAD CLEAR SUNNY DAYS WITH EAST WINDS WHICH WAS FOLLOWED BY SEVEN DAYS OF FREEZING AND FOGGY WEATHER. THE WEATHER COUPLED WITH A SHORT SELLING SEASON TESTED OUR CHARACTER AND RESOURCEFULNESS.

THIS MOST UNUSUAL AND UNPREDICTABLE SEASON BEGAN WITH EARLY, STRONGER THAN EXPECTED CONSUMER DEMAND FOR CHRISTMAS TREES. BASED ON OUR STATISTICAL INFORMATION, WE HAD PROJECTED SALES TO BE BETWEEN 12-15% IN THE FIRST WEEK. ACTUAL SALES EXCEEDED 20%. THIS FACT, COUPLED WITH OUR “JUST IN TIME FRESHNESS” POLICY CREATED INVENTORY SHORTAGES. AS WE MONITORED THE FIRST WEEK OF SALES, WE REALIZED THAT WE HAD TO PLAY CATCH UP TO MEET THE DEMAND. TRUE CHARACTER, CAN ONLY BE TESTED IN TIMES OF ADVERSITY. WE MADE A DECISION, WITH OUR CUSTOMERS APPROVAL, TO SHIP AS MUCH PRODUCT AS THEY HAD AREA TO ACCOMMODATE. AS FATE WOULD HAVE IT, AS QUICKLY AS THE DEMAND FOR CHRISTMAS TREES INITIATED, THE DEMAND IN THE LAST TEN SELLING DAYS WAS LESS THAN ANTICIPATED, CREATING EXCESS INVENTORIES. IN OUR BUSINESS, A NINETY-FIVE PERCENT SELL THROUGH IS CONSIDERED EXCELLENT, A NINETY PERCENT IS CONSIDERED GOOD, EIGHTY-FIVE PERCENT IS CONSIDERED FAIR AND ANYTHING LESS IS CONSIDERED POOR. ALL OF OUR ACCOUNTS WERE GOOD TO EXCELLENT, WITH ONLY TWO EXCEPTIONS.

RETAIL SALES WERE FLAT IN 2013. WITH FEW EXCEPTIONS, UNIT SALES WERE SLIGHTLY DOWN IN 2013 AND DOLLAR SALES WERE SLIGHTLY UP. THIS WAS DUE TO RETAIL PRICE INCREASES OF 2-5%.

MY CRYSTAL BALL FOR 2014 IS THE SAME AS 2013. UNIT SALES WILL BE FLAT AND DOLLARS WILL INCREASE 3-5% DUE TO RETAIL PRICE INCREASES.

AFTER ALL OF THIS, YOU MIGHT WONDER HOW WE FARED. WE ENDED UP SHIPPING A RECORD 757,000 UNITS, WITH RECORD SALES APPROACHING $16,000,000. THIS RESULTED IN SHIPPING OVER 1,010 TRUCK LOADS OF TREES IN A THIRTY-FIVE DAY WINDOW. IN SPITE OF THE WEATHER, AND THE STRONG, EARLY CONSUMER BUYING DEMAND, THE MCKENZIE FARMS TEAM AND NETWORK GROWERS DID A REMARKABLE JOB. AS ABRAHAM LINCOLN ONCE SAID, “NEARLY ALL MEN CAN STAND ADVERSITY, BUT IF YOU WANT TO TEST A MAN’S REAL CHARACTER, GIVE HIM POWER.

WE COMPLETED THE HARVEST SEASON WITH OUR TWENTY-SECOND POST HARVEST PARTY AT THE MOUNTAIN VIEW GOLF CLUB. OVER ONE HUNDRED OF OUR ASSOCIATES, PARTNERS, NETWORK GROWERS AND FRIENDS GATHERED TO GIVE THANKS FOR A SUCCESSFUL AND SAFE HARVEST. OUR GUEST OF HONOR WAS MADISON ROOT, WHOM MCKENZIE FARMS HONORED FOR HER GRIT, HER COURAGE, AND FOR HER ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT. GOOGLE “MADISON ROOT” AND LEARN HER STORY. THESE CHARACTERISICS ARE HELD IN HIGH ESTEEM BY OUR GROUP…COMMITMENT, PERSEVERANCE, COURAGE AND CONVICTION ARE A BIG PART OF THE HARVEST EXPERIENCE.


MCKENZIE FARMS GREEN EXPRESS

WE HONORED OUR OWN EAGLES:

GROWER HALL OF FAME - DENNIS AND KATHY MORIARTY

TRUCKER OF THE YEAR - KRIS AMUNDSON AND GENE ROCHA

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR - DAMIAN MALDONADO

CUSTOMER OF THE YEAR - KEVIN GLEASON

LOVE YA MAN - DON BATSON AND KRIS KELLY

COMBAT AWARD - KRISTINA ROBERTS & HER ANGELS

JUST DO IT AWARD - DEBBIE TEDROW AND BARGER TREE FARMS

SIGNATURE TREE AWARD - RICK RIESTERER AND PAM & STACY LAMB

PLAYER OF THE YEAR - DAVE AND GAYLENE MANN & CHRIS REZNICSEK

POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE AWARD - JEFF LINSCOTT & PETE / JOSE GUERRERO

GROWER OF THE YEAR - CRAIG STOCKNER AND KEVIN STOCKNER


WE EXTEND OUR MOST SINCERE APPRECIATION AND CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF THE 2013 AWARD WINNERS. WE ALSO ACKNOWLEDGE THE COMMITMENT OF OVER 450 DEDICATED AND HARD WORKING PEOPLE WHO MADE OUR HARVEST BECOME A SUCCESSFUL REALITY.

I DIDN’T EXACTLY RETIRE IN 2013 AS I SAID I WOULD. MY PASSION FOR CHRISTMAS TREES KEEPS ME BUSY MENTORING MY FAMILY AND ASSOCIATES. IN ADDITION I’M ALWAYS IN SEARCH OF THE BEST GROWING LAND AND THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS TREE. IT HAS BEEN SAID, THAT AS YOU GROW OLDER IT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP THE MIND ACTIVE; THUS I’M ALWAYS SHARPENING MY SAW AND RELENTLESSLY PURSUING SELF IMPROVEMENT. I REALIZE THAT MY COACHING DAYS WILL SOON BE COMING TO AN END. LIFE HAS A BEGINNING AND LIFE HAS AN ENDING AND THE DASH IN BETWEEN IS YOUR HISTORY.... WE REMEMBER OUR GREAT FRIEND DON SMITH WITH THIS THOUGHT.

MANY LESSONS HAVE BEEN LEARNED OVER THE PAST TEN YEARS. THESE LESSONS INCLUDE DON’T SPECULATE WHEN PLANTING CHRISTMAS TREES, DON’T PLANT A TREE UNLESS YOU HAVE AN END MARKET, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, KNOW YOUR TRUE COSTS. THE BLUNDERS OF THE PAST, IF REPEATED, WILL REDUCE OUR RANKS EVEN MORE AND PLACE OUR INDUSTRY IN PERIL. OUR MOVEMENT IS TO INCREASE MARKET SHARE, WITH THE ADVANTAGES OF THE FRESH CUT CHRISTMAS TREE, CAN ONLY BE MOVED FORWARD WITH QUALITY AND SOUND ECONOMICS. ISSUES RELATED TO MARKET SHARE, INVENTORIES, AND THE FUTURE OF OUR INDUSTRY WILL BE ADDRESSED IN MY FIRST QUARTER NEWSLETTER.

AS WE START 2014, LET US BE MINDFUL OF THE TRUE MEANING OF LOVE AND GIVING. BE A MENTOR TO SOMEONE, REMEMBER THE POWER OF KIND AND RESPECTFUL WORDS, A SMILE, A POSITIVE THOUGHT, AND THE ACT OF CARING… THE MORE YOU GIVE THE MORE YOU SHALL RECEIVE. MAY THE NEW YEAR BRING YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES CONTINUED GOOD HEALTH AS WELL AS, CONTINUED SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS.

WE THINK OF MARLENE FORRISTALL AND EXTEND OUR LOVE, POSITIVE THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS FOR A RAPID RECOVERY. WE, IN TURN, PRAY FOR THE SPEEDY RECOVERY OF THE YOUNG LADY, DANIELLE BATTLES, WHO WAS VERY SERIOUSLY, INJURED ON SPRINGWATER ROAD DURING THE EARLY DAYS OF HARVEST.

WITH OUR WARMEST PERSONAL REGARDS,

MCKENZIE  “KEN” COOK & TEAM MCKENZIE

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