Naples-based American Farms, the largest regional wholesale grower of annuals and perennials, now is part of the Hoffmann Family of Companies.
In a deal that closed Dec. 22, Hoffmann—doing business as Illinois-based 1484 Keane Avenue LLC—purchased a controlling interest in the local venture for $9.5 million, according to a deed electronically recorded Tuesday by the Collier County Clerk of Courts. The original owners of American Farms are retaining 25% interest in the nearly 100-acre agricultural business, said Christine Raber, managing director of American Farms, which is also co-owned and managed by operations director Alejandro Salazar and production director James Pugh.
“The American Farms team is very excited about joining the Hoffmann Family of Companies,” Raber said. “We believe demand for flowering plants will continue to be strong through 2022 and we look forward to a bright and colorful future with the Hoffmann group as we beautify the landscape together.”
Started in 1991 with a passion for horticulture and 10 acres of vacant land, American Farms LLC has expanded to more than 90 acres with two farms east of Golden Gate in Golden Gate Estates. The wholesale business produces more than 30 million plants every year, including annual, perennial and tropical flowering plants as well as seasonal and holiday plants such as geraniums, garden mums and poinsettias.
From its locations in the Estates and North Naples, American Farms distributes its plants and flowers to local nurseries, landscapers, retail locations, theme parks and big box stores such as Lowe’s and Walmart in Florida. Unlike many nurseries in the state, a major part of American Farms’ business is with independent customers, Raber said.
Based on Keane Avenue with more than a dozen parcels totaling about 60 acres, American Farms also has another 20 acres nearby on a second farm on 23rd Street Southwest in the Estates. The farms are looking at expanding with at least another 10 acres of parcels contiguous to its farms in the Estates, Raber said.
The grower offers a centrally located satellite site for wholesale and retail on 9 acres on the southeast corner of Airport-Pulling Road and Orange Blossom Drive in North Naples. In addition to American Farms’ locations in the Naples area, the company has distribution hubs in Miami, Tampa and Orlando to provide for the efficient and timely delivery of flowers throughout Florida.
Employment at American Farms varies depending on the season, but the company employs 160 to 220 workers, some temporary H-2A agricultural employees from outside the United States, Raber said. The floriculture production business reported 195 employees in 2020 when it received a Paycheck Protection Program loan for more than $1.8 million in federal emergency pandemic funds, according to U.S. Small Business Association data. Raber and the other co-founders and management team members of American Farms plan to stay on to manage the business, she said.
The American Farms acquisition expands Hoffmann’s agricultural investments, which includes vineyards, nurseries, tree farms, golf courses and organic herbs and spices. “We are excited about the management team and how great they fit into the Hoffmann culture and grow the business,” said David Hoffmann, the founder of Hoffmann Family of Companies. “We will be acquiring other flower farms in Florida and across the country as well.”
Hoffmann said the recent transaction continues the growth of his Southwest Florida holdings and complements his family’s 1,200-plus acres of vineyards in the Midwest as well as its ownership of Illinois-based World Wide Farms, a grower and distributor of fresh culinary herbs and greens.
Hoffmann, the largest privately held commercial real estate company in Naples, owns more than 35 properties in Southwest Florida, including Hertz Arena and the Florida Everblades hockey team. The company recently acquired the Old Collier Golf Club in North Naples and has the Old Corkscrew Golf Club in Estero under contract.