Case Study: Bottomley Evergreens

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A managed recovery and customer storage success story

The Opportunity
Help one of America’s largest growers and shippers of Christmas trees improve sustainability and keep employees working, even off season.

The Solution
Collaborate with CHEP on managed recovery of pallets and pallet storage to eradicate empty miles, improve warehouse utilization and provide consistent work.

Bottomley Evergreeens & Farms

Fragrant Fraser firs are a favorite with customers of Bottomley Evergreens & Farms, a family owned business located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Founded in 1990, Bottomley Evergreens is one of America’s largest providers of Christmas trees and holiday greenery. The company also supplies customers with pumpkins, cabbage, kale and sweet corn.

While the company’s seasonal offerings have expanded over the years, the seasonal nature of the business remains – along with the challenge of keeping valued employees working throughout the year. In February 2015, Bottomley Evergreens joined CHEP’s pallet storage program, one way to utilize the company’s vast warehouse space and keep employees busy. In January 2019, Bottomley Evergreens and CHEP extended the storage partnership, adding managed recovery to the mix.

“The CHEP storage program is great. Our business is seasonal, and it’s hard to keep people busy during the off season. We have lots of warehouse space, and the storage program helps us keep our people working year round.”

Simon Smit Operations Manager, Bottomley Evergreens & Farms

With managed recovery, Bottomley Evergreens receives CHEP’s pooled (shared and reused) pallets directly from distribution centers (DC) and retailers; sorts them using CHEP quality standards; stores the pallets that pass the test; and returns the rest to CHEP for repair. With recovered pallets on hand, the approach improves efficiency and eradicates empty miles.

“It’s a lot more efficient getting the pallets directly from the DCs,” says Simon Smit, Operations Manager,  Bottomley Evergreens & Farms. “It reduces waste, and we’re able to keep our people busy. The managed recovery program is working out well for us.”

When Smit joined Bottomley Evergreens, the business used mostly white wood pallets; working with major retailers prompted the change to CHEP – a move Smit is glad they made. 

“If you want to send products into the DCs, they need to be on approved pallets, so we started with CHEP,” Smit says. “Then, because we have the warehouse space, we tried the storage program. The guys in the warehouse like it – it keeps them busy and they want to work.”

During the first four years of the program, Bottomley Evergreens stored nearly 100,000 pallets on site, providing work for employees along with a bottom-line benefit: Customers participating in the CHEP storage and managed recovery programs receive per-pallet incentives. In addition, while pallets were immediately available at harvest time, Smit says he knows CHEP is ready to deliver more, whenever needed.

“I really appreciate working with CHEP, and I’m amazed at the company’s customer service,” Smit says. “If I call up and say, ‘I need pallets and I need them at 9 a.m.,’ the truck is there at 9 a.m. CHEP always comes through.”

Since 2012, Bottomley Evergreens has utilized 750,284 CHEP pallets and generated substantial sustainability savings.

  • Removed 319,021 pounds of carbon emissions from the atmosphere, the equivalent of planting and growing 3,753 trees for 10 years.
  • Eliminated 422,785 pounds of solid waste from landfill.
  • Cut out inefficiency and eradicated empty transport miles.

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Case Study: Bottomley Evergreens | CHEP