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Shopko Opens Garden Centers for Spring While Renewing Commitment to Sustainability

Veriflora(R) Preferred Retailer Offers Variety of Sustainably Grown Plants

GREEN BAY, WI -- (Marketwired) -- 04/22/14 -- Leading Midwestern retailer Shopko announced the springtime re-opening of its Garden Centers as well as its renewed commitment to stocking plants certified to the Veriflora standard for environmental sustainability. As a Veriflora Preferred Retailer since 2011, Shopko stocks sustainably grown annuals, perennials and vegetables plants from Floral Plant Growers, a Veriflora-certified operation based in Denmark, Wisconsin. Veriflora certification, issued by SCS Global Services, a leading third-party certifier, recognizes horticultural practices that limit environmental impact while providing social and economic benefits.

"Sustainability is important to Shopko and our Garden Centers," said George Greggs, Shopko's Lawn and Garden Buyer. "We are always trying to give our customers environmentally and socially responsible choices. When they see the Veriflora certification mark in our stores, they know that they are buying plants that are not only high-quality but have been grown to the highest standards of sustainability."

Floral Plant Growers, a Veriflora-certified grower since 2008, has been Shopko's provider of bedding plants since 1973 and has supplied sustainably grown bedding plants to Shopko Garden Centers for the last six years. Its state-of-the-art greenhouses reduce water use and run-off, while limiting pesticide and chemical fertilizer application. Last year, for instance, the company reduced fertilizer run-off in its wastewater by 70-90% by switching to slow release fertilizer.

"As a longtime advocate for our communities and environment, we were the 6th greenhouse in the country to go through the Veriflora Certification," noted Eben Erhard, National Account Manager at Floral Plant Growers. "Shopko was excited from the beginning and has been an excellent partner in making consumers aware of the friendly growing practices we employ."

Shopko provides point-of-purchase labeling for Veriflora-certified plants in their Garden Centers to guide customers to certified sustainably grown products. The retailer also trains staff members about the important environmental, social and quality accomplishments of Veriflora certified suppliers, providing an additional information source about environmental sustainability.

Shopko is owned by an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners, Inc., a leading private investment firm focused on leverage buyouts, equity, debt, and other investments in market-leading companies. Founded in 1962 and headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Shopko Stores Operating Co., LLC is a $3 billion retailer that operates 326 stores in 21 states throughout the Midwest, Mountain, North Central and Pacific Northwest regions. Retail formats include 134 Shopko stores, providing quality name-brand merchandise, great values, pharmacy and optical services in small to mid-sized cities; 5 Shopko Express Rx stores, a convenient neighborhood drugstore concept; 6 Shopko Pharmacy locations; and 181 Shopko Hometown stores, a smaller concept store developed to meet the needs of smaller communities. For more information, visit www.shopko.com.

Floral Plant Growers (FPG). L. L. C. is a leading greenhouse growing organization operating with over 69 acres of greenhouse currently in production in four states: Denmark, Wisconsin (21 acres), Richmond, Indiana (16 acres), Boyden, Iowa (12 acres), Sioux Falls, South Dakota (20 acres). The Company is one of the top 30 largest greenhouse operations in the United States. The Company grows and sells a wide variety of bedding plant annuals and perennials in flats and containers to national mass merchandisers and home improvement retailers, as well as supermarket chains and club stores. The Company also grows plugs, liners and pre-finished material for other growers throughout the country.

SCS Global Services (SCS). SCS has been a global leader in third-party environmental and sustainability certification, auditing, testing and standards development for nearly thirty years. SCS programs span a wide cross-section of sectors, recognizing exemplary performance in food and agriculture testing, food safety auditing, natural resource management, green building, product manufacturing, retailing and more. SCS is a Certified B Corporation™, reflecting its commitment to socially and environmentally responsible business practice.

Image Available: http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame_mw?attachid=2572655

Michelle Hansen
Manager, Public Relations & Shopko Foundation
Phone: (920) 429-4054
[email protected]

Eben Erhard
National Account Manager, Natural Beauty/Floral Plant Growers
Phone: 800-815-1928 #129
[email protected]

Ned Halaby
Marketing Specialist, SCS Global Services
Phone: 510 452 6822
[email protected]

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