Greenscapes, one of Southwest Florida’s top landscape-design and -management services, reached a significant milestone in 2012 with the celebration of its 50th year in business.
The company, which was founded in 1962 by Ethel Ray Nelson, has gone through a number of changes over the past half century. Despite the recession, it is beginning its sixth decade in as strong a position as ever, after posting a revenue increase of $14 million in 2011.
Twice recognized among the top 100 landscape companies in the U.S. by Lawn & Landscape magazine, Greenscapes’ services range from landscaping, irrigation and mowing to pruning, pest management and sod management. These services mainly are provided to larger clients, including Regal Cinemas, Bob Taylor Chevrolet, Tiburón, Pelican Bay and Grey Oaks.
CEO Steven Pruchansky lists “passion” as the primary differentiating factor between Greenscapes and its competitors—a quality that he says is shared by everyone in the company, from its President Linda Nelson to the supervisors and operatives who make up Greenscapes’ 230-strong staff.
“Linda Nelson is as passionate and as bright as a person as you’ll find in this industry,” he says. “For example, recently she took our supervisors to the botanical gardens so that they could learn about plants not commonly found in the Florida landscape. It’s about thinking outside the box, and expanding the creative abilities that we already have.”
Supplementing this passion is a commitment to excellence, which can be gauged through the training that everyone at Greenscapes receives, and through attention to customer service.
While this professionalism alleviated the ravages of the recession, it was Pruchansky’s background in finance that helped the company retrench and prepare for the future, especially in an industry that saw a rapid decline in pricing between 2005 and 2011.
“We changed our focus, which used to be on sales and controlled growth,” he says. “Now we focus strongly on the operational costs to create profitability. We are large enough that saving nickels and dimes translates to dollars.”
Though now dealing in lower margins, the reorganized business has remained competitive, and its volumes are higher in 2011 than they were in 2010. So, too, is its area of coverage, which now stretches from Marco Island to Venice—a growth that has been both organic and by acquisition.
“We are always looking for better ways of doing things,” says Pruchansky. “But three things never change. We need a loyal customer base, so we take care of our clients. We need good vendors who are dependable and who supply quality products. And we focus on the quality of our people.”