NALP Leaders ForumThe keynote speaker for the National Association of Landscape Professionals Leaders Forum this week, Daniel Levine, outlined four key trends that should shape industry offerings:

  1. Green is getting greener.
  2. Living spaces are getting smarter.
  3. Simplicity is paramount.
  4. Corporate social leadership is next.

Levine, director of The Avant-Guide Institute, is a well-known expert on consumer trends.  He led participants through a series of exercises illustrating the power of addressing trends.

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BrightView has acquired Marina Landscape Maintenance a large California landscape company with operations in both northern and Southern California. This marks BrightView’s first announced acquisition since the merger of The Brickman Group and The ValleyCrest Companies in mid-2014.

Here is the text of the press release announcing the acquisition.

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., Jan. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — BrightView Landscapes, LLC, the nation’s leading landscape services and snow removal company, today announced the acquisition of Marina Landscape Maintenance, Inc. Marina Landscape Maintenance employs nearly 400 people and services 200 client sites in Orange County, and the greater Los Angeles, Inland Empire and Northern California markets.

Marina LandscapeTerms of the deal, which closed January 1, 2017, will not be disclosed.

“This is a great addition to the BrightView family and one that will help us strengthen our presence in the key Southern California market,” said BrightView Chief Executive Officer Andrew Masterman. “Like BrightView, Marina has a long tradition of innovation and client service and we are delighted to welcome them into our company. We are continuing to seek out acquisition opportunities with landscape maintenance companies that share our dedication to clients and team members.”

“We have worked for decades to build up our maintenance business and we are gratified that a company like BrightView recognizes and values the commitment to our clients, employees and the industry,” said Marina Landscape Maintenance, Inc. Vice President Marty Stowell. “BrightView and Marina share many of the same values, including an unwavering commitment to our clients and to the safety, well-being and career advancement of team members.”

Stowell will remain as Vice President and General Manager.

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weedingtechCalculus Capital has invested £3m in cleantech firm Weedingtech, which is focused on replacing toxic herbicides.

Weedingtech is a world leader in herbicide-free weed and moss control, and has earned multiple awards for sustainable innovation. The company was co-founded by environmental campaigner and entrepreneur Ben Goldsmith.

Calculus has invested in the business in recognition of the global market potential of its patented weed-control technology, Foamstream. This uses hot water and an organic foam, with the foam acting as a thermal blanket that keeps the heat on long enough to kill the weed or moss.

Increasingly, governments and regulators around the world are considering, or are already, banning the use of certain chemical herbicides amid concerns about the risks they pose to human health and the environment.

Globally, the herbicide market is estimated to grow at 6% a year to reach $31bn by 2020 (Allied Market Research, October 2014), with glyphosate accounting for around three quarters of the total. As such there is huge potential for herbicide-free alternatives to increase their share as concerns around glyphosate grow.

Weedingtech’s Foamstream uses a combination of extremely high temperature water and biodegradable foam made from plant oils and sugars to destroy weeds in a targeted way without damaging other plant life or human health. It can be applied in all weather conditions.

Foamstream, which is already used in the UK by businesses such Yeo Valley Family Farms and Southwest Water and by local authorities such as Southwark, Glastonbury and Hammersmith & Fulham and across Europe in Sweden, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and other countries as well as in Canada, is organic-certified and free of controversial chemicals such as glyphosate, which studies have shown to be potentially carcinogenic.

John Glencross, Calculus Capital’s Chief Executive, said: “There is growing momentum behind moves to ban glyphosate in Europe and around the world, because of the risks to human health and the environment. The licence granted by the EU for the use of glyphosate in Europe was due to expire in June 2016 but was extended until the end of this year. In the meantime, a number of European and other countries have banned or strictly limited the use of glyphosate, particularly in public places and immediately pre-harvest.

“Politicians, industry and consumers are already waking up to the benefits of alternative, more environmentally and human-health-friendly weed and moss control alternatives such as Weedingtech’s Foamstream.

“A ban would put a rocket under Weedingtech’s growth trajectory, but even without one, the business has great investment potential and is already a world leader in glyphosate-free weed and moss control technology with growing revenues and increasing market share.”

Alexander Crawford, Investment Director, Calculus Capital said “The team at Weedingtech have a strong product in a growing sector and have achieved good results over the last few years – we are delighted to support them as they begin to scale up the business.”

Leo de Montaignac, Chief Executive, Weedingtech said: “Calculus Capital’s investment is an endorsement of Weedingtech’s continued growth potential, as we reach new markets, increase our share in existing ones and develop new herbicide-free weed-control technologies.

“The expertise of the Calculus team in advising and guiding growing companies such as our own will also be extremely valuable to us.”

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Kathryn Hetzler has acquired majority interest in GreenScape, Inc. of Memphis, Tennessee.  Her ownership originated in 2013 upon the retirement of former president and CEO Frank Colvett, Sr. The Company did not publicize the change in ownership until after a lengthy transition. Frank Colvett, Sr. remains a minority owner.   Here is a link to an article about the Company and the ownership change in the Memphis Business Journal.

GreenScape is a full-service landscaping and irrigation installation/maintenance contractor with many high-profile accounts.

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Canopy LawncareAccording to a report in Landscape Management, Greenscape, Inc. of North Carolina has sold 120 residential accounts to Canopy.

Canopy is a technology-based residential home services business headquartered in Raleigh, N.C. Canopy describes itself as follows:  “Canopy is revolutionizing the landscape maintenance industry by offering customers a better, more transparent service experience, as well as a more supportive, rewarding environment for their landscape maintenance crews. Their technology helps them create efficiencies, while their company values are helping them stand out in what has become an unfortunately status quo industry. Currently headquartered in Raleigh, NC, the company has expansion plans in Charlotte, NC, throughout the Southern United States and beyond.”

It is backed by Great Oaks Venture Capital, Lowe’s, Idea Fund Partners, Sovreign Capital and Cofounders Capital.

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Private equity firm Great Range Capital of Mission Woods, Kansas has invested in HeartLand Turf and Landscape of Olathe, Kansas.  No announcement of the deal or the terms has been made.  Great Range has confirmed the investment and  it does appear in their portfolio on the website.

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pits-logoELIOT, Maine – Piscataqua Landscaping & Tree Service, Inc. of Eliot, Maine announced Monday that it has been sold to Chenmark Capital Management, LLC., a family investment firm from Portland, Maine.  Chenmark also owns Seabreaze Property  Services in Portland, Maine in late 2015.

Company founder and CEO, Booth Hemingway, started Piscataqua Landscaping & Tree Service in 1979. What began as a one person, one lawnmower and one truck operation, has grown into the seacoast’s largest full-service landscape company. Booth is extremely grateful for his 37 years of working with both clients and employees. The sale of the company to Chenmark Capital Management will allow his very strong team of employees to remain intact while also allowing new growth opportunities for the company.

About Piscataqua Landscaping & Tree Service: We are a full-service landscaping and tree company working in the greater Maine, New Hampshire seacoast area. We work on projects large and small, commercial and residential, from installations and plantings, to irrigation, night lighting, and just about everything in between. Whether it’s maintaining an existing landscape or starting from scratch, our goal is always the same: to help our clients achieve their perfect landscape. For more information, please visit www.piscataqualandscaping.com

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SiteOne LogoSiteOne™ Landscape Supply, LLC  has acquired East Haven Landscape Products (“EHLP”). Started in East Haven, Connecticut in 1978, EHLP is a leader in the distribution of nursery, hardscapes and landscape supplies in the coastal Connecticut market. The acquisition of EHLP adds a full-service landscape supply location along the southeastern Connecticut coast, extending SiteOne’s network of existing full-service locations in Greenwich, CT, Bedford Hills, NY and Windsor, CT.

“We are excited to welcome East Haven Landscape Products to SiteOne. The addition of EHLP increases our ability to service customers of nursery, hardscape and landscape supplies eastward along the Connecticut coast and complements our existing irrigation and agronomic stores in that market. EHLP has a great history and an experienced team who are committed to the success of their customers, which is a perfect fit with our customer-focused culture at SiteOne,” said Doug Black, CEO of SiteOne Landscape Supply.

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Merit Service Solutions
Eureka Growth Capital has acquired  the assets of Merit Service Solutions Holdings LLC, a provider of facility maintenance services with seven company locations and a nationwide network of contracted service providers.  Merit provides a variety of facilities services including snow removal, parking lot maintenance, and landscape services.

PRESS RELEASE

PHILADELPHIA, PA, November 30, 2016 – Eureka Growth Capital (“Eureka”) today announced the acquisition of the assets of Merit Service Solutions Holdings, LLC through its newly-formed affiliate, Exterior Maintenance Resources, Inc. (“Merit” or the “Company”). Eureka recruited a new CEO and partnered with operating management to establish a platform that is a leading Eureka Grothnational provider of outsourced exterior facilities management services.
Headquartered in Malvern, PA, Merit leverages seven Company locations and a nationwide network of thousands of service providers to provide essential facility maintenance services to a diverse customer base including national retailers, commercial property managers, multi-family housing developers, government-owned properties and other institutional customers.

“We are very excited to work with new CEO Joe Giandonato and the talented members of existing operating management, including COO Joe Hoey and CFO Steve Rudd,” stated Chris Hanssens, Managing Partner of Eureka who, along with Eureka Vice President Lisa Harris Millhauser, joined the Board of the Company at the close of the transaction. “We look forward to the opportunity to help Merit realize the growth potential that exists within Merit’s national network of quality service providers, its dedicated team supporting its service provider network through Company locations in several key regions throughout the United States, and its longstanding commitment to be an ideal outsourced services partner to its customers that put tremendous importance on maintaining the facilities that are the most tangible representation of the value they endeavor to bring to their customers.”

“Eureka is the perfect partner for Merit Service Solutions given their operational focus and commitment demonstrated throughout the diligence process to bring the resources and leadership to support our vision, team and future growth,” stated Merit CEO Joe Giandonato. “Eureka brings significant experience and a track record of success within our outsourced business services vertical and shares our team’s strategic vision of becoming the leading provider of highest-quality exterior facility maintenance services to valued customers nationwide. I look forward to working with Eureka and our team at Merit in executing on this vision.”

M&T Bank provided debt financing to support the acquisition.

About Eureka Growth Capital
Eureka Growth Capital is a private equity firm targeting niche market leaders with up to $75 million in revenue. Eureka focuses on partnering with proven managers to drive the growth of promising companies into outstanding enterprises. Eureka leads buyouts that bring significant ownership to the operators driving the success of the business and minority recapitalizations with flexible investment structures designed to uniquely meet the needs of the company, its management team and other shareholders. More information about Eureka Growth Capital can be found by visiting www.eurekagrowth.com.

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pie-chart_g1ttvilo_lMarket share is usually a worthy goal, but sometimes the markets you haven’t penetrated may be a a major driver in the value of your business.  This because the outlook for growth is major factor business buyers are typically looking for in an acquisition.  In a landscape business, for example, expanding yourb tqarget markets geographically nor demographically may help make the case for growth potential.

Imagine you’re a farmer and you’ve been tending to your crops all year. It’s harvest season and finally time to collect the spoils of your labor.

You start harvesting your crops only to find out that pesky rodents have been quietly eating away at your fields. You’re devastated as you come to the realization that much of what you have been working so hard to cultivate has already been taken.

Feeling like there is not much field left to harvest is what acquirers and investors are trying to avoid as they evaluate buying your business. Metaphorically speaking, acquirers want to know that if they buy your business, there will be plenty of fresh farmland left for them to till.

Addressable Market

Investors call it your company’s “addressable market” and it is one of the main factors buyers will look at when they evaluate the potential of acquiring your company.

Business 101 tells us we should strive for market share so we can control pricing. Market share is a worthy goal if your objective is to maximize your profits. However, if your primary objective is to increase the value of your company, you want to be able to communicate that you have relatively low market share across the entire addressable market. In other words, there is plenty of field left to plough.

Consider the following ways you might expand the way you are currently thinking about the addressable market for what you sell:

Demographics

Demographics involve segmenting a market by objective measures like gender, income, age and education level. Marriott is a hotel chain but they have created a variety of brands to address the various demographic segments they want to serve. Ritz Carlton is a Marriott brand that appeals to well-heeled travellers, but if all you want is a basic room, you could opt for a Courtyard Marriott. It’s the same company, but they have expanded their addressable market by focusing on different demographic segments.

Psychographics

Psychographics involve segmenting your market according to the way people think. Toyota produces the Prius, which gets 50 miles per gallon and is a favourite among environmentalists. Toyota also produces the thirsty Tundra pickup truck and, at just 15 miles per gallon, attracts a different psychographic segment.

Geography

Success in your local market is good but if you want to really boost the value of your company in the eyes of an acquirer, you need to demonstrate that your concept crosses geographic lines. McDonald’s has more than fourteen thousand locations in the United States but they have also demonstrated that the golden arches can draw a crowd in other markets. McDonald’s has nearly three thousand stores in Japan, two thousand in China and more than a thousand locations in each of the European countries of Germany, Canada, France and the United Kingdom.

You don’t actually have to become a global giant like Marriott, Toyota or McDonald’s to increase your company’s value but you do need to be able to communicate that your concept could work in other markets and that there is still good land left to plough.

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