MIAMI – In the midst of finding a buyer, Vila & Son, one of the largest landscaping companies in the country, ran out of cash and ceased operations.
“We had a couple of offers, but unfortunately we ran out of money before the prospective buyers could finish their due diligence,” said Alan Goldberg, who joined the company in March as its chief restructuring officer. “The company has ceased operations and is in the process of closing down.”
The company’s last day of operation was Aug. 5. At the time, it had about 500 employees, Goldberg said.
About a dozen employees remain with the company and the legal process of officially closing could take six months to a year, said Goldberg, who also owns Miami-based Crisis Management, Inc.
“A lot of employees have gone with the companies that have taken over some of our jobs,” Goldberg said, adding one of those companies is Terra Bella, a construction company based in Jupiter, Fla.
Vila & Son was heavily reliant on the construction market, in addition to offering maintenance, irrigation, tree care and lighting services.
“That’s tough on a company,” Goldberg said to Lawn & Landscape in July. “Construction, mainline construction, went down and landscape construction went down. Were there things we could have done? … That’s irrelevant.”
According to Lawn & Landscape’s Top 100 list, Vila & Son posted revenue of $62.5 million in 2008, $53.8 million in 2009 and $45.9 million in 2010. This year, it ranked 18th on the list of the largest companies in the industry.
In a letter to customers dated Aug. 5, Juan Carlos Vila, who founded the company in 1984, said “After 28 years of doing business in the landscaping industry we have had the opportunity to create meaningful relationships through our commitment to do Whatever It Takes to earn the loyalty of our customers and employees. This commitment has been tested by financial distress; we have worked closely with the bank and other entities to keep Vila & Son providing services to those who, like you, have trusted us with the honor to serve you. We did everything we could to stay in business, but today Vila & Son had to stop operating.”
Goldberg said Vila is no longer with the company.
Vila & Son, headquartered in Miami, had branch offices in Miami, Orlando, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Tampa, Port St. Lucie and West Palm Beach.
At one time, the company also operated 200 acres of nurseries and tree farms throughout the state, as well as a retail store in Royal Palm Beach, Fla. The retail operation closed a few years ago. A sister company, Vila & Son Tree Farm, is not involved in the restructuring.