RIP Gary Falkenstein
Our industry lost a great innovator when Gary Falkenstein, president and CEO of ePlantsource, passed away June 5, 2020, due to complications from surgery. A resident of Boulder, Colorado, Falkenstein was 75.
Falkenstein was born Aug. 24, 1944 in Sturgis, Michigan. He graduated from Michigan State University in 1966 with a degree in floriculture business.
Falkenstein founded ePlantsource, an online broker of live goods to professional greenhouse growers in North America in 2013, after retiring from Syngenta Flowers.
At Syngenta Flowers, Falkenstein served as manager of vegetative cutting and head of international supply chain of vegetative cuttings. He joined Syngenta Flowers in 2007 when the company acquired Fischer USA, where he was president.
During his 50+ years in the industry, Falkenstein was known for bringing innovative genetics and processes to the horticulture marketplace and building strong relationships with his customers and suppliers.
Falkenstein is survived by his wife of 54 years, Marguerite; one son and two daughters; and six grandchildren.
A memorial fund for Falkenstein has been set up with JDRF to support the fight against type 1 diabetes. For more information, please visit www2.jdrf.org/goto/garyfalkenstein.
A memorial is tentatively planned for later this year.
Lowe’s recently opened its first round of grant applications in its previously announced $25 million commitment to provide relief to minority-owned businesses. Lowe’s donation will fuel emergency grants in historically underserved communities, as well as other assistance, to help owners navigate business challenges during the pandemic. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the nation’s largest community development organization, will manage the process of vetting applications for grants that will bring critical aid to minority- and women-led small businesses.
Last week, Sam’s Club announced the nationwide launch of curbside pickup. The service, which provides a contact-free, order online and delivery to car shopping experience, will be free for Plus-level members and is expected to be available in all clubs by the end of June. Curbside pickup is part of a list of Plus-membership benefits, which also includes early shopping hours, free shipping on most online items, 2% cash back on qualifying in-club and pickup purchases, and more. Sam’s Club has been piloting curbside pickup at 16 clubs and is expediting the rollout — taking it to all 597 clubs.
Wegmans Food will award college tuition assistance to 1,842 employees for the upcoming academic year. The Wegmans Employee Scholarship Program expects to pay out approximately $5 million in tuition assistance to both new and returning scholarship recipients during the 2020-2021 school year. To receive a scholarship, employees must meet work-performance criteria. Eligibility is also based on a minimum number of work hours over a specified time period. Since 1984, more than 40,000 Wegmans employees have been awarded scholarships totaling $125 million.