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Is Van Engelen only wholesale, or do they sell retail?

Posted by growitnow (My Page) on
Sat, Nov 13, 10 at 8:42


Brent and Becky's bulbs are out of a lot of things and I ran out of bulbs.

Does Van Engelen sell retail? I remember someone saying they only sell to wholesale companies.

Any other suggestions for "where to go" that might have bulbs in stock now? I have only bought bulbs one time before and really don't know who the 'quality' stores are.

thanks very much,
I'm looking for chinodoxia, ipheion, and other small bulbs.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Is Van Engelen only wholesale, or do they sell retail?

Yes they sell retail and just about everything in stock is on sale. Not sure what's left by now but you should check them out. :)

RE: Is Van Engelen only wholesale, or do they sell retail?


Why is there such a large price discrepancy between Van Engels and John Scheepers.

Perhaps I am totally wrong but I thought these were different divisions of the same company. The price difference is nearly two-fold for the same product and quantity.

RE: Is Van Engelen only wholesale, or do they sell retail?

Van Engelen will sell to anybody, no wholesale license or resale number required. On their current 40% off sale, there is a $50 minimun order. VE and John Scheepers are two separate entities, but they are owned by different members of one family, so are called sister companies, a term which has no actual legal meaning in this case. VE is the older of the two, and they have always catered to the wholesale market and those who buy bulbs in larger quantities. Apparently they received many requests to sell bulbs in smaller quantities for the home gardener, and a sibling then started JS to accomodate that market.

The bulbs are higher in price at JS because it takes more handling to break down a batch of wholesale bulbs into smaller units, costs more for packaging, and is much more time consuming to pick and ship smaller orders. And frankly, because they can charge more, and their bulbs are still generally cheaper than what a nursery would sell for, and almost always larger and better quality.

I used to make my living selling beads on the internet, and the same principle applies. I catered to the 'not quite wholesale but definitely not retail' market--those beaders who were willing to buy 100 of one color of one type of bead at a good price, but did not want to buy in the standard wholesale unit of 1200 of one color of one bead. But I also had people who requested smaller amounts of one type of bead, and I raised my prices accordingly. For example, if someone wanted 100 of the 4x6 Czech glass teardrops in Montana Blue, the cost would be $4. If someone wanted only 15 of that style and color, the beads would be 6-8 cents each, because of the added time in breaking up a unit of 100, and the added cost of repackaging, and labeling. Those people who wanted 2 of every color of a bead style, say the 3x11 spearpoints, were charged 10 cents per bead, again because of the additional labor and materials. Bulbs or beads, it's the same basic principle.

Those of you who would like to buy from Van Engelen but don't quite have room for large quantities of bulbs do have several options. First, you can do what I do and give early Christmas gifts of bulbs to all of your gardening friends. Either pick something you think they will like, or let them pick whatever they prefer from what you plan to order. The second option is to find others who would be willing to split an order. This is a particularly good option if you have a local garden club or have many maniac gardening friends. The third option is to buy in the larger quantities, then either resell the extras, or donate them to a charity such as Habitat for Humanity and take a tax write off. The forth option is to buy with an eye to potting up a bunch of bulbs for indoor forcing. I used to do this every year, and it was a real joy to have blooming bulbs inside all winter long.

RE: Is Van Engelen only wholesale, or do they sell retail?

I really like your explanation, dhaven (I’m a jeweler, too, so I have an affinity with the second part of it, even more).

Growitnow, with the VE prices as they are, you will be paying in essence the same price, for a larger quantity of bulbs, as you would be for smaller, elsewhere. My yard is not large (not even a quarter of an acre), and I find I can manage to stuff them somewhere. 100 chionodoxa is not many. I just planted 100, and was wishing I had bought more. They are small bulbs. Meeting the $50 minimum is more of an issue, but that too is not that hard, if you set your mind to it! ;)

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