I have ordered from Shumway on a couple of different occasions and both times I've been quite pleased with both the speed and quality of the seeds I've bought. The prices were beyond fair according to what I've seen elsewhere on the internet, too. A big thumbs up to Shumways.
I was shocked at reading all the negative experiences with this company. I ordered from them in 2004 & my order arrived promptly & completely. I am a market farmer & it was a fairly large order, though it was all seeds, no live plants or seed potatoes. I think when you deal with a company affiliated with the Randolph, WI address, you almost HAVE to get your order in extra-early, & I would NEVER order anything but seeds from them. Course most of the other companies at this address will not ship until March or April, but Shumways claims to be the exception to this rule.
After reading all the negative remarks here I wasnt sure if i wanted to place an order with this company. However I decided to try my luck and I place a 50 plus dollar order with them. Two weeks later I had my order in hand and it was 100% complete, no back orders or out of stocks. I will use this company again in the future. All I can say is great company and great service!!!!
On Dec 4, 2003, Farmerdill Augusta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:
I have purchased vegetable seed from the Shumway company since the 40's. The major positive has always been their good selection of traditional open pollinated varieties. In the 60's while it was still a Shumway company located in Rockford , Illinois quality and service began to slip. On occasion mis-labeled cultivars arrived. The company name was bought and moved to Graniteville SC and during the 90's I bought a lot of seed from them. Again the attraction of older cultivars that are difficult to find and the fact that I could go down to the warehouse and buy the seeds without the mailorder hassle.( It was only 11 miles from me) Only problem was that their major supplier (Seeds By Design) which is a major player in the production of heirloom seeds has spent too little time insuring the purity of their cultivars. Since the Jungs buyout and subsequent move to Wisconsin, I hope they get their act together, but I am not holding my breath.
On January 25th, 2004, Farmerdill changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
Placed an order first week of January and was pleasantly surprised to receive complete AND correct order within a week. This was for seeds only. They use to drop ship plants and garden supplies so many problems could have been with contract shippers. At any rate the Jung people show signs of getting the company in order so I have go positive. Downside is that they seem to be phasing out many of the vegetable varieties that drew mw to them in the first place.
Whenever I use a new supplier, I tend to order small, which is what I did this year. Ordered seeds and three elephant ear bulbs. The elephant ears were only 3 for 12.00, much more reasonable than other sources and they are magnificent!!!
Yes, my order did come in three shipments, but to be honest, I received all in a timely fashion and with explanation.
I notice that most of the negative comments about this company are from past years. This year (2003), I ordered several items from R.H. Shumway, including seed potatoes and vegetable seeds. All except two backordered items arrived promptly and in good condition, and even those two still arrived in time for normal planting. I think these guys deserve a chance!
Their old-fashioned, Farmer's Almanac-like catalogue is cute, but there are NO latin / botanical names for any products. The Spring 2003 catalogue cover says: "Delayed Shipments - Deep Regrets - Problems Addressed". Hmm. The company says that it moved to Randolph, Wisconsin and they apologized for problems with spring 2002 orders. "Some shipments were delayed or late... you had every right to be unhappy." But the company says its new home and new processing facility will result in better shipping.
That said, they carry some interesting things including a REAL "heirloom" -- blue dent corn from the Hopi Indians, which I read elsewhere is from seeds recovered on an archaeological dig!! so I might give them a try with a small order of that.
I placed my seed order in January. It's now March and I have received every other seed order I placed. Shumway seeds still haven't arrived. I just called their 800 number. Had to redial 5 times before I didn't get a busy signal. Spent 10 minutes on hold before giving up. I just sent them an email from their web site asking about order status. Will keep you posted - am very unhappy.
On March 7th, 2003, mareilly added the following:
After a week of attempting to contact Shumway by phone I finally got through. I was told the majority of items in my order were backordered, but that (what a coincidence!) my order was in the filling department and the other items would probably be sent out today. I told the rep to cancel my order (most of what I wanted was backordered).
After I hung up, I called my bank (should have done this first) and found out that my check was cashed on February 13th! I am so irritated with this company - I will *never* place another order with them.
On Feb 25, 2003, Javabean Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:
After reading their "starting over story" in the new Shumway catalog, I thought I would give this garden supplier a chance. I placed a seed order with Shumway by mail in January. The check cleared on February 3. I have not received merchandise or an update regarding the location and expected delivery time of my merchandise. Based on the other reviews and my own experience, I will not order from Shumway's again.
This company is a joke. I ordered seeds last February (2002) and I did not recieve them until June. And this was after many phone calls wondering where my order was. Last summer I received an apology and a coupon. I ordered seeds last fall and did not have a problem. I figured they just had an off year and the problem was taken care of, well I was wrong. I ordered a 12' heating cable this year in January over the internet and still haven't received it. After I get this order taken care of, it will be the last one placed with this seed company. Having it take 4 weeks plus to receive an order placed on the internet is insane. Especially when other seed companies have your order in your mail box in less than two weeks.
PLEASE READ THIS AND NOTE THIS WARNING !
Last year this company had a fire , so I was aware that they
had some 'NEGATIVE ' issues ! However I was Sincerely ,,,
willing to give the another chance this year ,,, due to the
fire and what looked to me like a sincere apolize for poor
serivce last year . NO MORE >>>> I order seeds over 3 weeks
ago emailed them and got a email back that said they were 3 weeks behind . Within that email they also said they would
research the issue no responance ,,, I have a small presonal
greenhouse and I don't think I 'll get these seeds in time for
the season here in Buffalo NY . I AM SO ANGERY ,,, PLEASE
FELLOW GARDENS DO NOT PROVIDE ANY MORE BUSSINESS TO THIS
COMPANY THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT US !
BE WARNED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
On March 20th, 2003, hangsix added the following:
Please note on March the 19 I did receive most .....
of my order two items were left off . I was told due to the fact that there had to mail them at a later date I owned them
postage .. of .80 cents I have writen to them and told them to
cancel any other products . I WILL NEVER ORDER FROM THEM AGAIN
This company is a joke.And its moving to Wisconsin according to a representitive of Jungs.... Seems Shumways, Totally Tomatoes, Jungs, Vermont Bean and a bunch of others are all owned by a few stockholders who seem to have bought a bunch of companies and in turn are doing a half --- job at management. I ordered seeds in bulk quanities in Nov and Dec and some ( including lettuce) showed up in June. I called Jungs who is taking over this mess and I was assured it would not appear on my credit card and just to keep the seed... Guess what ...it showed up on the credit card I just got. The Fire was at Jungs in Randolff WI near my home and distroyed the Catalogue Storage Area and Bulb area... I was told it did not affect the seed divison so who knows whos telling the truth. I tryed to call Shumways toll free number from March thru May and never got thru on apparently the only line they ever had... I even tryed other numbers which were also always busy. I ended up buying seed from other sources in the mean time like lettuce to get in the ground early.... ANd to top it off one of the varieties I ordered was an heirloom called chicken lettuce. They sent me a Lettuce mix with Black simpson and some other things and said ..." We cant supply you with the variety you ordered so we hope you will like this".... How do they know what ill like.??... ANyways I told the sales person at Jungs I would not order from Shumways or Jungs again ... Even if they are now only going to be 30 miles from my house.
Anyone who has good luck with this company must have caught them on an off day. Generally they are as bad as the worst reviews written for them. I had many problems with orders being promised by specific dates and not arriving. As I have a short growing season, seeds need to be planted indoors. Shumway sends everything as if it will be planted outdoors, based on some incorrect assumptions they have on what is a good planting time for my area. They had an herb mill advertised for a good price. However, it was CLEARLY pictured as all metal, but when it arrived it was some cheap Chinese made junk. Mostly plastic and wholly not as pictured. In many states that is considered fraud and should be reported to your state's Attorney General. I too, had problems connecting with their customer service and they should have an 800 #. Line was always busy, no answering machine. When I emailed them, they came up with the 'computer down' excuse again. They don't give a darn about customer's, just our money. I was so frustrated with them, I wanted them to refund everything, and take everything back, and to pay for the return postage, as it was their screwup. I never heard from them again, and I assume that is a part of their corporate policy!
I ordered seeds, equipment, and chemicals. The seeds didn't arrive until after I bought replacements. A letter with the seeds explained that they had a warehouse fire. They made arrangements with another company to send seeds they lost to the fire and sent me a coupon for $$ off next year's order. I see this as an attempt to carry on in the face of a company disaster. This was my first order from them, and I'll be back next year. I can't see kicking them when they're down as benefiting me or them.
I send in a order in Feburary and only recieved the potatoes. Only one plant grew from the eyes. I emailed the company and they sent a email stating they had a warehouse fire in March. If that is the case I feel that they should have informed me in March. I will have to go this weekend in May to find seeds to begin growing before it is too late.
I will not be using this company again.
On May 18th, 2002, lbclisa added the following:
I got some more of the ordered products the other day. They have changed their reason for the delay due to supply problems and not getting the seed package growing directions in. Oh ya, they gave me the $$$ coupon of 3 bucks towards the purchase of other seeds. They also sent the seeds for ordering so early. I was not pleased however because the Sweet potaotes plants that arrived were totally dried out including the peat moss covering them. I planted them and hope they will grow. The seeds I have planted from this company seem to have okay germination. I still have some seeds yet to come.
I had great hopes for this company since it had seeds that you can not get elsewhere but I will stick will companies I had good service with and try to find another source of seeds such as mangle seeds.
I have ordered a lot of seeds from other companies including ordering from Germany and Hawaii and did not have delay/ problems like I did from this company.
I have ordered exclusively from this company for years. This is the first year I have ever had a problem. I ordered asparagus roots and they arrived on time, however I also ordered a variety of other plants and seeds in early March, and they still have not yet arrived. It is May, and I am still waiting. What is the deal with them???
I have ordered small orders for a few years and was pleased. However, this year, things have drastically changed. My order, placed January 18, was received and the check cancelled January 28, 2002. It is now March 29, and I have received no seeds. I have made four telephone calls (none toll free). The first time I was told that the order was prepared for shipping and would be shipped at the end of the week. The next two times I was told that the order had been shipped. Today, I was told that the order had been shipped. I asked for the date it was shipped and was told that it was in the shipping department and would be shipped. I asked to speak to the manager. I was told that the supervisor was not in. I asked to speak to someone in the shipping department and was told that I could not have contact with them. I asked for my shipment to be cancelled and my money returned. I was informed that I would have to wait until the seeds arrived and that I could return them and then my money would be refunded. Needless to say, I will not be ordering any more seeds from this place.
I ordered early Feb. 2002 now late march cant get them on phone sent several emails and letters can't get any one will never never order from them would rather go hungry at least I know the outcome of going hungry with Shumway I don't know what's happening except I am not getting service. DO NOT ORDER FROM THEM!!!
I will never place another order with Shumway unless there is something I really, really want, and they are the only company that has it. I placed my order on January 3, 2002, and is now March 27. I still don't have my seeds and it is getting too late for me to start the tomatoes, eggplants and peppers. Maybe I will get my seeds, but I'm writing it off as a loss. I called them three times, and they are not cooperative. They simply say there is nothing they can do. If that's the case, I really feel sorry for them.
After ordering in mid January, I still (3/26/02) have not received my very large order. After four phone calls and assurances each time that my order would be sent, "at the beginning of next week," I stopped calling. I missed the window for planting early vegetables on my half acre garden, had to buy emergency backups from a local Agway, and plant late. Many seeds that would arrive now will have to be put into cold sealed storage for next year. I definitely will not be ordering from them again.
I ordered from their catalog on January 13th, 2002. My check cleared the bank on January 30th. Now it is March 10th and still no order. I have ordered and received several seed orders from different companies in the meantime. Now the customer service phone is always busy. Do these people really take orders on that line? I can't believe anyone would keep trying a bazillion times to reach these people to place an order. I have given up trying to get through to even check my order. I have learned one thing. If I ever try a new company again, I will try their customer service line first to see if there is anyone "home" before I even venture to use the company to throw my money away again.
I have had same experience with HR Shumway catalog order as reported by earlier customer. They had no trouble in cashing my check, but after 6 weeks, I still had not received any product or notification of reason for delay. The other seeds that I had ordered at the same time were already growing. It took me a week before I could get through on their constantly busy phone -- sometimes they just did not answer during business hours. Never got a response to my e-mail. Customer service was very abrupt and unfriendly; she did report that they were very busy with everyone canceling their orders because of lack of fulfillment. We even talked to a supervisor (when finally available) -- they could not guarantee delivery this season. Now, how long will it take for my refund to go through? Their catalog is cute and prices are low, but the information provided is minimal. And if they can't deliver, why bother ordering?
I would normally have high praise for RH Shumway, but I have had nothing but problems this year with my order. When I placed my order, they could not tell me if my items were in stock because they were doing inventory and that the order wouldn't ship for at least a week. My order has still not shipped (a month later), and every time I call to check on it they tell me it will probably ship the next week.
On February 15th, 2002, CindyM added the following:
As of 2/15, my order has still not shipped and I am still getting the response that it will probably ship next week. Soon I will just cancel the order.
I ordered from them early in January, I received my canceled check. But no seed. I tried calling them and found their phone is disconnected. I think maybe they are out of business and are still taking money. Their web page is still on line and I'm sure you could order seed from them and they would take your money.
On Jan 1, 2002, richhurley New Freedom, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:
I made my first purchase from R. H. Shumway last year (Spring, 2001) and it will be my last. I was extremely disappointed with the alstroemeria (Peruvian Lily) roots I ordered. I gave them to my mother for Mother's Day and was embarrassed when she opened the package and it looked like all it contained was several envelopes of straw. There were no cultural instructions at all with them. Since neither of us had ever grown them before we didn't know what to do. As it turns out, we should have soaked the "straw" in water to rehydrate the roots before planting. None of the poor things ever came up. I also purchased several packages of flower seeds and they had only very general cultural instructions with them. The "hummingbird plant" never came up but the asarina vines did germinate. Unfortunately, since I was late getting them started, they never bloomed for me.
On Dec 1, 2001, Horseshoe Efland, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:
A great company that sells mostly heirloom and OP varieties. Probably one of my favored businesses to deal with. You should at least have them send you their catalog, it comes out as an old-style magazine with only black and white pics and drawings. (Only a few yrs back did they start adding color to the cover.)
Shumway's is a good place to buy not only small packets of seeds but you can also buy in bulk and save $$$. (A good place to order from if you want to get together with your neighbors and buy quantity.)
Altho Shumway's does not have a toll-free number you can place your order thru Horticultural Products and Services...they handle Shumway's orders and have a toll-free number.
We have been Shumway customers for several years now and they are without a doubt my favorite seed supplier. Good quality, germination, etc. and NEVER a delivery problem. We live in west central Minnesota with a short growing season and have excellent results with Shumway.
Glad to know that there is somewhere to complain. This is my second year to order from Shumway and I will never again order anything from them. I placed my order in January and at the end of February nothing had arrived.I tried to call them by phone and they do not have a toll free number, but worse, the phone was always busy. After several days of calling at different times and always getting a busy signal I finally go through. The lady on the phone then could not find my order and told me that there was no way she would be able to trace my order because the computers were down. She asked my to check my cancelled checks to see if they might have cleared the bank!! I couldn't believe my ears! When I told her that it was the responsibility of the company who took my money to keep up with the order and send me my seeds, she relented and gave me a 1-800 number to phone back in a few days when the computer problem was fixed. When I attempted to phone the 1-800 number in a few days, it was always busy. These folks could buy an answering machine at a yard sale! Anyway, after finally getting through on one of the phone numbers, I talked to someone who found my order, but it hadn't been sent out. I cancelled $50 of the order, and have just now received my money back -- and it is May. There really should be a warning on the catalog of RH Shumway; the company seems to be run by very unprofessional people and don't expect to get a delivery of your order unless you demand it.