The Greenery Celebrates 50 Years

Celebrates 20 years as an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)

The Greenery, Inc., a landscaping company based in Hilton Head, SC, is commemorating its 50th Anniversary of creating beautiful landscaping in the Lowcountry.

Established on Hilton Head Island in 1973 by Ruthie and Berry Edwards, The Greenery started as a small landscape nursery with a staff of six employees, a couple of old pickup trucks, and the desire to do something different. With a focus on hiring the most knowledgeable and experienced landscaping and gardening staff in the area, the Edwards family was able to grow The Greenery into one of the largest and most highly respected landscaping companies in the Southeast.

While celebrating its 50th anniversary, The Greenery acknowledges that its efforts are about their people. Before his retirement, Berry Edwards started working towards an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) as a way to give back to the dedicated employees who had helped him develop and grow the business. By 2007, it became a 100% employee-owned company. This year marks its 20th anniversary as an ESOP.

The Edwards Family

Lee Edwards, son of Ruthie and Berry, who grew up in and around the landscape company, is now CEO. “Above all else, we value the people that make up The Greenery,” says Edwards. “From the commercial and residential sites to those in the offices, garden center and gift shop, The Greenery is comprised of more than 800 dedicated individuals that have led to our success day in and day out.”

In the last several years, The Greenery, Inc. has expanded to serve markets in Greenville and Spartanburg in South Carolina as well as Jacksonville, Amelia Island and Daytona in Florida.

“The first 50 years of The Greenery have been full of growth and expansion,” explains Edwards. “We look forward to seeing what the next 50 years has in store as we continue to provide our customers with exceptional landscape maintenance.”

The Greenery, Inc., an employee-owned company, has served Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Beaufort, Savannah GA and Charleston SC and other coastal Georgia and South Carolina regions since 1973 with comprehensive landscaping services including residential and commercial landscape installation and maintenance, hardscapes and irrigation.

National trade publication, Turf Magazine, recently featured this article on The Greenery’s 50th anniversary.

By Christine Menapace – Turf Magazine March 3, 2023

A Legacy of Growing Opportunity: The Greenery celebrates 50 years

CH2 Magazine recently featured this article about The Greenery’s 50th anniversary and a timeline of the company’s growth. 

Anyone at The Greenery will tell you that the company stands oak-solid on their motto: “A growing tradition.” As the landscape company celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, it is evident that The Greenery has maintained a long tradition of growing plants, trees, and grass. Also evident is the growth of the business since 1973 when Berry and Ruthie Edwards opened a small nursery with six employees, a couple of pickup trucks and the desire to do something different.

Today, The Greenery has over 750 employees, a fleet of vehicles, and is ranked the thirtieth largest landscape company in the industry, proving it can and will outgrow even big conglomerates. But more important to the ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) company, they are also growing the careers of their employee owners.

“If you had told me 12 years ago that I would be in this position with this type of company, I would have looked at you like you were crazy,” said Melissa Brock, director of business development. “I do not even have live plants in my house. When I came to 

The Greenery as an office administrator in construction, I had no clue about landscape.”

Jerry Ashmore, director of work force development and safety has also risen among the ranks. “I graduated from Clemson and met a Beaufort girl while working for a small landscape business in the upstate. I started coming here on the weekends, and then a friend told me to talk to The Greenery,” he said. “I ended up having lunch with Tom Van Hise, Billy Gray, and Clay Kinard at Fiesta Fresh, and they offered me a job as an account manager. That was 22 years ago, and I still go there for lunch and think, ‘This is where I started.’”

Jim van Dijk, who is now the regional manager of Hilton Head and Greenville also found an early opportunity with The Greenery, starting as a summer intern. “In 1995, Clay Kinard came to Clemson University to talk to our horticulture class,” he said. “He told the story of The Greenery, and I spoke to him afterward. He said, ‘Since you are interested in the story and the company, I’ll give you an opportunity over the summer. It was a small crew with guys that had been there 10 to 15 years, like Alfred and Leon. Clay Kinard was the supervisor. We had great camaraderie and a great work ethic. They remind me of my Greenville branch now.” 

“We share a lot in common—Jerry, Jim and I,” Brock said. “We all want to grow our business. We all want to grow as people. And we all want our people to grow. The only difference between Jerry, Jim and me is that I’m not a Clemson fan,” she joked.

As all three continued telling their stories, more similarities surfaced including two character strengths: resilience and innovation. “When I started, I knew how to talk to people. I knew people in the construction industry,” Brock said. “And, after about a year, I decided to pave my way and grow The Greenery’s construction division. Opportunities did not fall in my lap. I worked my way up.”

Noting that both landscape and construction are male-dominated industries, Brock continued, “I do not hunt or fish. I had to find creative ways—ways The Greenery had not done in the past—to develop relationships. I had to earn people’s trust.”

To do so, Brock leaned on the support of The Greenery community and executive officers, who very much believe in motivating, not micromanaging, their employees. “I decided to focus on the property managers,” Brock said. “They are mostly women. They like manicures, pedicures and lunch. I also focused on getting to know people and personal information like how many kids they had, where they were from, and what they liked to do. I like to build a friendship. People trust you if you get to know them.”

Ashmore has built his career by wearing many hats. “Back when I started, you did whatever was needed to be done, spray yards, plant flowers,” he said. “I knew I wanted to grow in my career and create my own opportunity. I worked hard, and as the company has grown, so have my responsibilities.”

“When I started, I was focused on enhancements,” van Dijk said. “I did not want us to do the bare minimum. I thought, ‘What if I got more material? What about concrete work? What about a small garden install in this small space?’ and The Greenery was like, ‘Okay, let’s do it.’”

In 2002, van Dijk told the company he could make enhancements and maintenance successful on Daufuskie, and he did. He also admits to facing some professional challenges. “In life and in business, not everything is rosy. The Greenery believes in promoting from within, and when mistakes, mishaps or challenges arise, it is not about demeaning or removing someone but rather to coach, lead to improve, and get ready for the next challenge.”

Brock, Ashmore and van Dijk then touched on the Greenery’s emphasis on legacy—preserving it, honoring it, and communicating it to create a culture of excellence. 

“My favorite memory at the Greenery was an annual meeting we had at Hampton Hall,” Brock said. “The meeting was really inspiring because it was then that I really got a sense of The Greenery’s story.” Linking the pride she felt for the company’s past to the present, she added, “I will see one of our properties and the sun is shining on it and it is so beautiful, and I think to myself, ‘We did that.’”

According to Ashmore, to create a culture, you need to pass down tradition. “Here, the older employees pass it down to the new ones. We may have grown, but we still have that small company feel. Our values are on display every day,” he said.

Van Dijk agreed. “Part of what I’m focusing on now in emerging markets is to tell the stories from the past as well as to know that every time we bring a new person in, they are bringing a new element into our culture. Their visions continue to evolve us,” he said.

All three also agreed that the current company culture began when the Edwards set out to do something different for Hilton Head. And it is this culture that enables The Greenery to accomplish its purpose statement, “Enhancing people’s lives through beautiful landscaping.”

Ultimately, this culture creates a legacy of growing opportunities: opportunities for individuals and their families, opportunities for business expansion and economic growth, and opportunities for our communities to be better both aesthetically and intrinsically.

“Growth is part of our culture. We want our employees to exceed their goals,” van Dijk said.

“Our people are our greatest asset,” Ashmore added. “And I tell people all the time, if you want to be fulfilled, this is the place to do it.”

Timeline

1973
February 1, Berry and Ruthie Edwards buy a small nursery with six employees, a couple of old pickup trucks and the desire to do something different.

1974
Ruthie, Berry and Lee (age 6) purchase a circa 1873 church and move it by barge from Ridgeland to Hilton Head to begin what is now the Antiques & Collectibles Shop.

1981
The Greenery expands and opens a maintenance shop on Arrow Road.

1992
The Greenery expands to serve Bluffton and the surrounding area.

1999
Lee Edwards opens a branch in Charleston.

2003
Berry Edwards creates an ESOP. The Hardeeville office opens to serve Bluffton, Beaufort, Sun City and Savannah.

2007
Lee Edwards becomes president of The Greenery.

2011
The Greenery opens the Beaufort branch.

2012
The Greenery receives a national award for landscape work in Palmetto Bluff.

2013
The Greenery opens the Savannah branch.

2019
The Greenery launches the Daytona branch.

2020
The Greenery launches the Greenville branch.

2021
The Greenery acquires Martex Landscape serving Amelia Island and Jacksonville.

2023
The Greenery celebrates its 20-year ESOP anniversary and 50-year business anniversary and now has over 750 employees.

By: Becca Edwards

How a business can survive 50 years on Hilton Head Island

Berry and Ruthie Edwards signed the papers on a car hood when they bought a piece of Hilton Head Island 50 years ago. They were buying a nursery in a place they’d seen for the first time three months earlier. The two-lane main drag out front was pretty empty in 1973, but Berry saw signs of growth coming. 

Still, it was a dare to quit his job as a textiles executive. He was a 30-year-old Sewanee English major. She was 28 with an art degree from Rollins College. They had two little boys, Berry III, 5, and Lee, 3. And Berry knew not one thing about plants. 

“We made flash cards,” Ruthie said, “and the only way he could get a drink at night was to recite the names of 20 plants.” 

They named their business The Greenery, and it has beaten tremendously long odds. As it marks its 50th anniversary this month, it joins David Martin’s Piggly Wiggly as one the few existing island businesses to survive that long under the same ownership. 

What Berry and Ruthie bought was called Hillside Nursery, with six employees, six lawn mowers and two pickup trucks. This summer, The Greenery expects a staff of 750 to work its locations on the island, Bluffton, Beaufort, Savannah, Greenville, Amelia Island, Jacksonville, and Daytona Beach. 

Through it all, the face of the business remains the same: a wood frame building they bought for $600 from Gethsemane Baptist Church in Okatie and barged it to the island. 

“We wanted something attractive there,” Ruthie said. “It was perfect.” 

That simple, decommissioned church stands as a symbol of a plucky generation of new islanders who dared to be different. They often struggled financially, but found other creative people here, and, as Ruthie says, “We worked like dogs all week and partied like dogs all weekend.” 

Lee Edwards now runs the company as president, while his brother owns and operates another venerable business, Island Tire & Automotive Services. 

In an interview, Lee Edwards discussed how a family business can possibly survive 50 years on Hilton Head: 

Have descendants. Lee took over as president in 2007. Mixing family and business can be hard. Ruthie said: “Berry fired me and I quit. We weren’t compatible business partners.” She opened a Christmas shop. 

Add services. They offered tennis court installation for a while; added landscape maintenance, then landscape design, then the design/build concept doing both. Ruthie said business was helped by referrals from legendary landscape architect Robert Marvin, who liked working with Berry. 

Adapt. Landscape maintenance has veered away from residential to commercial customers. The retail nursery in the old church building is now a small part of the business. They do more staff training and have moved to robotic lawn mowers and electric leaf blowers. 

Take care of employees. Berry Edwards said: “You can achieve sustained, quality growth by finding and keeping the best people at all levels of a company.” To do this, the company has become employee-owned. Employees earn stock, which has increased in value. It pays more, accepting that the minimum wage here is at least twice the government mandate. It provides transportation. Employees take company vans home to nearby communities, bringing others to and from work. It provides some housing for workers. The company owns six to eight condos on Hilton Head and rents some houses in the Hardeeville area. It offers a signing bonus to new hires. It offers a referral bonus to employees who refer new workers. It pays a lot of overtime. 

“I’d rather pay a good employee time and a half than pay somebody else who won’t get the job done,” Lee Edwards said. 

Give back to the community. They did landscaping for the island’s Youth Center in 1974, the forerunner to the Island Recreation Association, and in 2012 did landscaping for the Spanish Moss Trail in Beaufort. More than 250 employees were involved when they did a one-day tear-down and replanting of landscaping at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. Berry Edwards said, “You reap what you sew.” 

Grow. They did it by buying businesses. “We grow, not to be the biggest, but to give employees the next step up,” Lee Edwards said. 

Work hard. “Dad was a workaholic,” Lee said. He tells about the summer day when he was 14, sitting at home watching television when he told his father there was nothing to do. “Well, there’s going to be something for you to do tomorrow,” he was told, and that was his welcome to the world of landscape maintenance. 

By: David Lauderdale, The Island Packet

**Reprinted with permission. 

Growing the Brand – The Greenery celebrates 50 years of impressive growth.

Every mighty live oak tree you’ve ever seen started out as a humble acorn. From Charleston’s iconic “Angel Oak” to the majestic specimen that stretches across Hilton Head Island’s Harbour Town. All of these ancient wonders began simply and grew over centuries because they were nourished by the sparkling sunlight of the South.

It didn’t take The Greenery centuries to grow from a humble Hilton Head Island-based landscaping firm to one of the most successful employee-owned companies in the Southeast. It only took 50 years. 

“We’ve not only grown in terms of the area we serve, we’ve also just grown and matured as a company,” said The Greenery CEO, Lee Edwards. 

Lee took over leadership of the company from his father, founder Berry Edwards, in 2007. The firm his father started during the island’s early years has grown apace with the Lowcountry, expanding into Bluffton to meet demand, and Lee has been a part of that growth since 1994. That’s when he joined the company full-time, following college. And after rising through the construction division, he helped launch the Charleston branch five years later.

“When I moved up to Charleston, that was really a big leap,” he said. “It just took off, and when I came back here (in 2007) we were already doing work in Beaufort and in Savannah, so it was just a matter of building on some of that work.”

The Greenery eventually acquired landscape companies in Beaufort and Savannah to better serve those markets. Similar buyouts in Greenville, South Carolina and Florida let the company blossom beyond the Lowcountry and become a true regional powerhouse in the Southeast.

“It’s an easy industry to start your own company, but there aren’t many people who view it as an industry, much less a growing industry,” said Lee. “We’re a growth-oriented company, not because we want to get bigger and bigger, but because we want to hang on to our people. People aren’t going to stick around if you don’t give them opportunities.”

That mindset speaks to one of the most remarkable developments in the company’s 50-year history, its transition into an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) company. Set in motion by Lee’s father, this structure gives employees ownership in the company, incentivizing employees to help grow the business while rewarding them for their loyalty.

“That’s the best lesson I ever learned from my dad – hire the best people you can find, and then get out of their way,” he said. “Let them do their job, and promote from within.”

He points to several key employees who personify the long-term career that The Greenery is able to offer its employees as an ESOP. There’s Clay Kinard, who started with The Greenery right out of college and retired this past year. There’s Alfred Simmons, the company’s very first employee, who stayed on for 43 years. “He passed away this past summer, and I was honored to be invited to speak at his funeral,” added Lee.

That speaks to the two-way street of loyalty The Greenery has built for its employees. “I didn’t build this company by myself. My dad didn’t build this company by himself. It was done with the help of many talented and dedicated people over many years. So creating the ESOP is our way to reward the people who helped build it,” he said. 

Those people, in turn, reward the communities they call home. The Greenery provides many local charities and non-profits with financial support, such as Volunteers in Medicine, the United Way, and The Heritage Classic Foundation, to name a few. But something else The Greenery has done is donate landscaping to a host of amazing non-profits including:  the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, The Spanish Moss Trail in Beaufort, an affordable housing project in Bluffton, The Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head, and Operation Patriots FOB, a veterans retreat located in Ridgeland. 

“We try and do things like that to get our people involved,” he said. “Writing a check is one important part of philanthropy, but to me it’s even more rewarding to get into the dirt and provide free landscaping. That way our employee owners get to be involved and they are part of giving back to the community in which they live. 

And the company that all of those people built has proven that, after 50 years, it has the kind of staying power few companies can match. Just as it has grown countless beautiful plants across the Southeast, The Greenery has grown its business through establishing strong roots and ensuring they stay nourished with loyalty and opportunity.

“We’re growth-oriented, and I think that will continue,” said Lee. “We want to build value. We want to continue providing opportunities for people to grow in the company.”

And along the way, just as they’ve been doing for 50 years, The Greenery will continue to make the South a more beautiful place to call home.

By Barry Kaufman

Chief Technology Officer of The Greenery Shares Expertise on Technology Panel

The Greenery is an industry leader in the area of autonomous mowers and our company has learned a lot through the process of incorporating them into our landscaping procedures. Recently, Janet DeNicola, The Greenery’s Chief Technology Officer, had the opportunity to share her thoughts and experience with robomowing with peers at the 2022 Lawn and Landscape Technology Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. Janet sat on a panel entitled “Analyzing Autonomous” discussing this cutting edge technology in the landscape industry and the impact it is having on productivity, revenue and employee morale.

Janet was excited to discuss her insights on the topic with other industry professionals. She was able to share The Greenery’s process of purchasing and implementing these mowers, challenges faced and where she believes the technology is going in the future.

Janet’s co-panelists included Michael Mayberry, the CTO at Level Green and Ben Collinsworth from Yellowstone Landscape.

Collectively, the panel addressed the idea that for years, autonomous mowers were always just a “couple years away” from making their mark in the industry. But the reality is that these mowers are now widely used in North America by commercial and residential landscape companies. The panelists all agreed that autonomous mowing could actually enable crews to do more work and increase productivity.

For The Greenery, implementing autonomous mowing wasn’t the hard part, but adopting it into the company’s procedures was a little more challenging.

“Just as change is inevitable in life, we will continue to see change in the landscaping industry to provide an opportunity for our operations to become more efficient and leaner, and to produce a better-quality product for the clients,” says Janet. “How we manage our expectations and set the stage for success makes all the difference with how new things are adopted by the company. There is a big difference between implementation and adoption. Our employees are our greatest asset; as we help everyone to adopt the changes, the results will speak for themselves.”

Janet feels that there is always a learning curve doing things for the first time, particularly things that use new technology. She believes it is important to set realistic expectations and start off slow in a controlled environment for best results. 

“Getting the team excited and comfortable about the new developments are extremely important for success,” says Janet.

The Greenery started considering robotic mowers in 2017, and the first one went out into the field about 2 years later, Janet told the attendees. Through her research, prior to purchasing, The Greenery was focused primarily on safety, but price also factored into the equation. Once the process was worked out, The Greenery worked on rolling them out on a widescale.

Janet shared that in the end clients should be very satisfied with the result. Whereas traditional mowing crew comes by once a week, automowing is done three times a week – leading to very well maintained lawns. The clients will also be pleased with the quieter, less intrusive robomowers.

Neighborhoods are often quick to adopt the idea of robomowers as it gives the perception that the community is more environmentally friendly and forward thinking. Putting The Greenery logo on the mowers has been an added bonus for branding the company – a suggestion that Janet shared with the attendees.

The panel encouraged attendees to all go back to their market and figure out which properties they service might be good candidates to try out autonomous mowers – keeping an eye on the future and where the industry is headed.

The Greenery, Inc. continues to transform the landscape industry with the benefits of our robotic mowers for our landscaping clients. In addition to robotic motors, the Greenery stays in the forefront by incorporating new technology in the field like battery operated equipment and PGRs as well as with the most current, best in class, software to run operations and integrated support systems.
The Greenery’s battery operated robotic mowers are now used at many of our resort properties and HOAs that require quiet, nondisruptive service such as near tennis courts, swimming pools, bocci courts, hotel rooms and spas. We also use them to support our strong safety measures on difficult steep sloped areas and on lagoon banks.

Tech Panel Award

As Chief Technology Officer at the Greenery, Inc., Janet leads the vision to implement the technology-related strategic operations for The Greenery including both internal systems and client-facing technologies. She has implemented and integrated internal platforms to simplify the processes and provide better visibility to field data as well as supporting operations to improve products and services. Janet serves on the 2022 Lawn & Landscape Technology Conference Advisory Board

To learn about the benefits of robomowing, read The Greenery’s blog from 2021: https://thegreeneryinc.com/4-ways-robotic-lawnmowers-improve-your-lawn-and-your-life

To read Lawn and Landscape’s article about the panel, click here: https://www.lawnandlandscape.com/article/adding-autonomous-to-your-services/

To see other insights from the conference, check out this video from Lawn and Landscape: https://www.lltechconference.com/.

The Greenery Listed on Landscape Management’s 2022 Top 150 Revenue Generating Firms

Landscape Management recently released its 2022 List of Top 150 revenue generating firms in the green industry. Based on the revenue of 2021, last year proved to be another year of exponential growth for our industry. This growth is evident in the revenue numbers represented in this year’s Landscape Management list from firms across the country.

In 2021, the total revenue of the Landscape Management top 150 list once again set a record at $14.3 billion…up almost $1.7 billion from the previous year.

The Greenery, Inc. is proud to be ranked #30 on Landscape Management’s list. The company’s revenue was up 18% from 2020. Landscape Management also broke the list down further with The Greenery ranking #7 in the Southeast, #20 in Commercial landscaping, #8 in Mowing & Landscape Maintenance, and #23 in Turf & Ornamental Care. 

“The hard work of our employee owners and dedication of our loyal customers helped The Greenery achieve record breaking revenue in 2021,” says Lee Edwards, CEO of The Greenery, Inc. “Being recognized among the country’s top firms is exciting for everyone on our team.”

Landscape Management sought submissions from landscape companies in the magazine, on their website, via email and over the phone from January through May. Companies submitted their details through an online form. All LM150 information is self-reported. Editors at Landscape Management compiled the results and created the list.

THE GREENERY NAMED AMONG INDUSTRY’S TOP REVENUE GENERATING FIRMS

Lawn & Landscape’s 2022 list of the industry’s top 100 largest companies included The Greenery at #30 with an 8% increase in revenue from the previous year. The company also moved up one spot from the 2021 list.

“To be ranked among the country’s top firms during such uncertain times is extremely exciting,” says Ben Campsey, The Greenery’s CFO. “It is definitely a collaborative effort by all of our employee owners that has allowed The Greenery to have such success.”

landscaping pic

Overall, the lawn care and landscape industry flourished despite the uncertainties of the past several years. Landscape firms saw an 8% revenue growth from 2020 to 2021. That’s an increase of $400 million.

A common theme among all of the top producing lawn care and landscape companies seems to be a strong company culture. The self reported data included statements from employees expressing that among the uncertainty, a strong workplace culture helped them to feel more secure.

company employee pic

“I believe that our family-like workplace culture as well as the strong foundation we have built around The Greenery’s core values has helped our company succeed even during a global pandemic,” says Lee Edwards, The Greenery’s CEO.

At The Greenery, our core values are important to us.

  • Culture of Safety – Our people are our most valuable asset
  • Employee Owned – We all have an ownership mentality
  • Quality, Production and Service – Our commitment to our clients
  • Community Responsibility – Strong community ties provides sustainability for our company and our people.
  • Continuous Pursuit of Improvement – To be the best landscape company in the markets we serve
  • Growing Tradition – Product, Company, Personally, Professionally…We continue to develop our people, our company culture and innovative spirit.
flowers pic

While each year presents its own set of challenges, The Greenery is confident that we can continue to grow and succeed in the markets we serve with our dedicated team of employee owners working hard each day to enhance people’s lives through beautiful landscaping.

The Greenery is GROWING

It’s an exciting time to work at The Greenery, Inc. We are adding employee owners at leadership positions in many of our branches across the Southeast – in Hilton Head Island, Florida and Greenville, SC.

Gary Ostroski

At our Hilton Head Commercial Branch, we recently welcomed Gary Ostroski as the Branch Manager and he has been doing a fantastic job since joining The Greenery team. As Branch Manager, Gary is responsible for the success of the Hilton Head commercial business unit including business development, account management, people development and operational excellence. He also continues to develop long-term relationships and communicate on a regular basis with The Greenery’s valued clients of Hilton Head Island.

Gary has a Bachelor of Science in marketing from York College (PA) and an MBA from UMASS-Amherst. He brings a wealth of experience to this position working in the green industry since he was 16 years old. After graduating from college, he worked in commercial landscaping – filling leadership roles at two of the nation’s largest landscape firms. Gary relocated to Hilton Head this year with his wife, Mindy, and their infant daughter. The couple is enjoying the beach lifestyle and are excited to enjoy their first summer in the Lowcountry.

John Anderson

This spring, The Greenery’s Florida markets welcomed John Anderson as Regional Operations Manager for Greater Jacksonville, Amelia Island and Daytona. As Regional Operations Manager, John oversees all operations for The Greenery’s Florida markets. He also helps with business development, employee owner development, safety and customer satisfaction.

John has an AS degree in Ornamental Horticulture from SUNY Morrisville. He brings with him over 25 years of experience in landscape company management and has also worked as a consultant with Envisor Consulting. When he’s not working, John enjoys all outdoor activities including golfing, hunting, and fishing.

Jon Korman

Martex Services, a Division of The Greenery, Inc., recently promoted Jon Korman as the Branch Manager at the Amelia Island/Greater Jacksonville branch. Jon oversees commercial landscape business development and account management, at high operational standards. He also continues to develop long-term relationships and communicate on a regular basis with our valued clients of Amelia Island/and the Greater Jacksonville area.

Jon received a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of North Carolina – Wilmington and a Masters of Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia. He is a Registered Landscape Architect as well as a Certified Arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. Jon has worked with Martex Services since 2014 and has worked in the green industry in several capacities his entire career. Jon lives on Amelia Island with his wife and two sons. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing, surfing, gardening and traveling with his family.

Julie Harris

At our upstate branch…The Greenery welcomed Julie Harris as the new Business Developer for the Greenville-Spartanburg office. Julie is responsible for networking and building relationships with potential clients to generate opportunities for company growth in Greenville-Spartanburg and the surrounding areas. She is excited to help The Greenery grow and expand in this market.

Julie has an AAS Degree in Horticulture from Upstate NY, certifications from Cornell University in Turf Management, and a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Prior to joining The Greenery, she worked more than 30 years in the horticulture industry including positions in operations, sales, and management. In addition to her role at The Greenery, Julie enjoys spending time with family – camping, hiking, fishing, and kayaking. And of course, she loves to garden!

The Greenery, Inc. is so excited to welcome these new members to our team. Interested in becoming one of our employee owners? Visit our careers page to apply today!

Selecting the Right Plants and Flowers for Your Commercial Property

Have you ever wondered how Commercial Landscape companies like The Greenery, Inc. choose what plants to use on commercial properties? While we do want plants that are aesthetically pleasing to our customers – there is a lot more to the selection process than just coordinating colors and textures. Some of the key factors that we consider are the climate of the region as well as soil, fertilization requirements, water, and drainage for the property.

At The Greenery, we rely on a guide called “plant hardiness zones” as well as our many years of expertise in the markets we serve to help make our shrub selections and other plant decisions. This helpful guide created by the USDA specifies which plants will fare well in certain geographic regions based on the average temperature and rainfall. (Although no one can fully predict Mother Nature – so it is simply used as a guide.)

Across the U.S., there are 13 different planting zones. These zones were created by analyzing the average extreme minimum temperatures in each geographic area – focusing mostly on what plants can survive winter temperatures in each region. Some states, such as Florida, can have multiple planting hardiness zones. They have 4 zones!

Our team of experts has the knowledge and experience for coastal Georgia, South Carolina and Florida planting zones to make the best choices for our clients’ commercial properties.

If there is a plant that a client requests on a property that our horticulture experts know is not the best choice – we are happy to provide multiple alternatives that can give a similar look and is appropriately suited to that particular planting zone.

Beyond the planting zones, it is also imperative to choose the correct spot for each plant on your property to assure success. Our experts take into consideration the sun exposure of each location before selecting plants and shrubs for that area. And there are many other factors as well – such as soil type, drainage, slope, and height of the plants.

With so many considerations – it’s important to make sure you trust your landscaping needs to experts that are familiar with your area and its unique qualities. The Greenery has been working in the Southeast for almost 50 years!

If you are looking for Commercial Landscape Maintenance Services for your property from a company that is knowledgeable and reliable click here to request a quote from The Greenery today.

Working at The Greenery – Come Join our Team

The country is in the midst of the “great resignation” with people leaving their jobs at alarming numbers. Meanwhile, this month at The Greenery – we have 12 employees celebrating more than 10 years with us. While no company is immune from turnover, The Greenery has a unique culture that creates a sense of family encouraging people to want to make working at The Greenery a career and not just a job.

Working At The Greenery
Competitive games at Christmas create connection

In a recent discussion with Jerry Ashmore, Director of Workforce Development and Safety at The Greenery, he spoke about the aspects of The Greenery that help create that “family” atmosphere that draws people to a career with the company that spans years.

“The culture of a company is the ‘soul’ of the organization,” says Ashmore. “At The Greenery, I believe our culture is very unique and special.”

According to Ashmore, the most important thing at The Greenery is safety. The emphasis on the well-being of each employee owner demonstrates that the leadership at The Greenery truly cares about its employees as individuals and not just the bottom line.

Another important aspect of The Greenery culture is FUN. This is cultivated through numerous activities throughout the year at the various branches. Some of the activities and events for The Greenery’s staff have included:

  • Bowling in Bluffton
  • Cookouts at various branches
  • Pizza parties
  • Kona Ice truck and food trucks
  • Safety rodeos
  • Team building activities
  • Chili Cook offs
  • Community Service Projects
  • Halloween party with games and costumes at the Hardeeville branch and HHI office
  • Christmas parties at the various branches with games. (Santa even visited some of the offices.)
Working At The Greenery
Halloween games at the Hardeeville branch

“We work hard but we like to laugh together,” says Ashmore. “It builds camaraderie.”

In addition to the benefits of a “family” feel, safety and fun – The Greenery offers some other outstanding benefits. Employees are offered health insurance, dental and vision insurance, PTO that is accrued based on longevity, 401K and Roth IRA for retirement. Perhaps the most enticing benefit is the eligibility to become an employee owner through the company’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

The Greenery’s employee owned teams have the opportunity for personal and professional growth. And when the time comes for the employee to retire – the stock they have earned benefits their retired life as well.

“Everyone wants to belong to something,” states Ashmore. “And when you own part of it, then you take more pride in it.”

Working At The Greenery
Working together with high standards for safety

Countless studies have shown that workplace culture is a significant driver of employee happiness and often a deciding factor on how long they stay with a company. “The longevity of so many of our employees speaks to the strength of the culture,” believes Ashmore. “It’s more like a family and we genuinely care for people over profits.”

It’s the same family focus that Berry Edwards established when he founded the company back in 1973. And almost 50 years later – that focus remains the same.

“It’s not the ‘corporate machine’ that many companies in the service industry are today,” explains Ashmore.

Working At The Greenery
Greenery employees pitch in to donate the landscaping for OPFOB, a military veteran’s therapeutic retreat facility

At The Greenery, our employee owners are the backbone of the company and we value their commitment to excellence that is evident through the work that they do.

Looking for a career with a trusted Commercial Landscaping company? Want to join our team? Visit The Greenery’s career page for a list of opportunities to work here.