Historic seed company born in Philly scratches to survive near York

A seed supplier that started in Philadelphia in 1784 is fighting for its life. 

The owner of D. Landreth Seed Company, Barbara Melera is proud of the company and its past.”Every single president from George Washington to FDR was a customer of Landreth,” said Melera.When Melera bought Landreth in 2003, she set out to rebuild it: moving away from grass seed and building up its flower, vegetable, and herb business.  To do that, she had to borrow money.”Some of those notes came due at the end of 2009 and we were unable to pay them back and in August of this year the company’s accounts were garnished in order for the company’s noteholders to collect the money that they were owed and that basically killed the company,” she said.  “The total monies that we owe with the interest is now about $1.5 million.”

The former venture capitalist is working around the clock to save the business,

“There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t deal with a customer or a vendor or someone who’s just trying to learn about heirloom seeds, who doesn’t express their kindness and their gratitude and their appreciation in ways that you rarely see today.  This company embodies everything that we as Americans believe in.  It has operated for 228 years with integrity,” she said.

Melera is trying to sell enough to keep the company located near York, Pennsylvania afloat.  She says people have placed thousands of orders–including two telephone orders from Alaska–since word got out about the company’s uncertain future.

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