Malcolm McDowell Woods

Landscapers form green team

By - May 24th, 2010 04:00 am

A rain barrel installation by one of Milwaukee’s greener landscapers. Photo by Green Team, Inc.

In a tough economy, do you go toe-to-toe with your competitors, or do you find a way to work with them? Three young entrepreneurs have chosen the latter. Darrel Smith of Earthcare Natural Lawn and Landscapes, Bradley Blaeser of the Green Team, Inc. and John LaPointe of Greener Roofs and Garden, LLC, have teamed up, sharing a vision of sustainable Milwaukee landscapes.

Each entrepreneur’s business takes a different approach to garden design and installations, while keeping a constant focus on sustainable solutions with creativity and beauty. Smith explains, “Although we had some overlap in services and could theoretically compete in some areas, it was clear that we each brought different gifts and unique services to the table.”

Those different gifts and talents allow the business owners — as a consortium — to provide the community with a full range of eco-friendly landscape services. Among these are organic turf fertilization, natural child play spaces and rain garden installations — even landscape maintenance techniques that include solar-powered mowers! The collaboration is a natural fit. Together, they serve residential, commercial and municipal clients.

The three entrepreneurs have found strength in working together. Blaeser explains, “When one of us is stretched in terms of capacity, or needing expertise that another company offers, we can refer clients to a trusted colleague that we work well with.” LaPointe adds, “The community is well served as we are jointly able to pursue our missions as sustainability-minded individuals.”

Sharing an office and operations base in Miller Valley has made the consortium even stronger this year. “We meet more regularly, “ Blaeser explains, “and continue to increase the amount of in house referrals.”

The shared space also benefits the group, providing cost savings and allowing them to offer each other support when hours are long.

“In the beginning,” says Smith, “we had to answer a basic question of whether we were better off collaborating or competing.” It seems like that question has been answered: “From before we got together to the end of last year, I definitely experienced benefits,” says Blaeser, “and I feel like it will get even better.”

— Alicia Boknevitz

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