I just came back from the Lawn Care/Pest Control Summit in Atlanta, GA, this past Friday. It was put on by the Professional Landcare Association (PLANET) and National Pest Management Association. I'm guessing there were between 150 and 200 participants.
Over the course of several days there, I talked to more than a dozen owners and they told me that they're hanging on and some said they're continuing to grow their companies, although at a slower pace than prior to 2008. To the person, however, they said things could be better — a lot better. That's very evident in several recent news articles.
On Dec. 5, the Springfield (OH) News Sun reported that sod farmer Ivan Lavy decided it was time to call it quits after 20 years in business. On Saturday, Dec. 4, he put his turf and grass company on the auction block. The property was sold and will eventually be used for homes, commercial development and sports fields, the paper reported.
Kirk Hunter, executive director of Turfgrass Producers International, is quoted in the article as doubting that the sod business will never be as robust as it was in the mid 2005s, at the height of the homebuilding boom. But, he says it will return to health eventually.
To read the article in the springfieldnewssun.com, click here.
A sizable landscape company in Georgia also packed it in this past year. Lee Daniel lost Forever Green Lawn Care and Landscaping, Newnan, GA, that, at one time, employed 40 people. But, not only did he lose his livlihood, he lost his home, his wife and, in a touching article appearing in the Newnan Times-Herald newspaper, admits to almost taking his own life.
Daniel said that he rode the wave when the housing market crested several years ago, and when that wave crashed, his company crashed with it.
To read the article in the times-herald.com, click here. — Ron Hall