While working in his father's retail business, Brooks Pennington, Jr. — known simply as Brooks Pennington — saw potential that others had yet to see. He soon left retail behind and moved into the wholesale seed business, focusing on cotton, soybeans and agricultural grasses. Pennington Grain & Seed was born. Through a life that included college, military service and public office, Brooks Pennington was known for his entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to see what others missed. That eye for opportunity and innovation set the company's course.
Industry-Defining Innovation and DirectionAs his business grew, Brooks Pennington began to look beyond agricultural seeds and pasture products toward grass seed for lawns and turf. In the late 1960s, Pennington introduced a proprietary seed treatment known as Penkote Seed Technology, which helps seed establish faster and stay healthier. When Ronnie Stapp began his Pennington career in 1972, in a position others describe as Mr. Pennington's right-hand man, the impact of that achievement was clear. Now phasing into retirement from his role as Executive Vice President of Seed Operations, Stapp relates that Penkote seed and its distinctive green bag represented the company's first foray into lawn and garden, before the lawn and garden industry existed. It set Pennington grasses apart.
Focus on Farming, Family and FairnessInitially, the Pennington company bought loads of seed on the open market, as other grass seed companies still do today, but it soon began buying directly from seed farmers. As those relationships developed, farmers went from suppliers to Pennington growers, and helped ensure the quality of seed that carries the Pennington name. By the early 1990s, Pennington was established with bases in all major U.S. grass growing regions and all major grasses, from Missouri-grown tall fescue to fine, cool-season grasses grown in Oregon and warm-season grasses grown in Arizona.
From the beginning, Brooks Pennington ran his company as a family business —one where family extended to his employees. “From the early years, Mr. Pennington very much instilled a feeling of family among his employees. It created tremendous loyalty," Stapp explains.
Culture and Commitment to SuccessBoth Smith and Stapp acknowledge Brooks Pennington and the company culture he created as being integral to the company's success and their long Pennington careers. “I've never seen any reason to go anywhere else," Smith says, pointing to the honesty, integrity and strong work ethic that drew him to the company more than 30 years ago. “If you have those and a group of people who share them, you can do just about anything," Smith says. Stapp agrees, and notes that Central Garden & Pet, Pennington's parent company since 1998, shares that appreciation. “Central Garden & Pet values that culture, preserves it, and tries to grow it within the larger company," he adds.
From its humble beginnings, Pennington Seed has risen to become one of the largest manufacturers, producers and distributors of lawn, garden and turf care products in the world. The company's commitment to excellence and innovation lives on in every Pennington product and the many resources available to help you learn. Pennington Seed remains dedicated to helping you grow the finest lawn possible and enjoy the benefits of generations of integrity.
Pennington, Penkote and Smart Seed are trademarks of Pennington Seed, Inc.