Not many people start careers the way New Jersey-native Sam Russo did in 1982 when a serious motorcycle accident left him temporarily disabled. Therapy consisted of walking behind a friend's lawn mower. Two and one-half million lawns later, he still hasn't looked back.
By some estimates, we've grown too slowly. "After all," critics and supporters both would say, "You have a niche so why not take advantage of it." Or, by proverb, "Make hay while the sun shines." Our answer to them is, we want to stay healthy and continue to grow. We want to ensure that our heart - our manufacturing system and our product - stays strong, and the only way to do that is to take care of our circulatory system - our distributors and dealers and their customers, the end users.
James Ritter, community manager for Leisure Village West in Manchester, New Jersey, was not an easy sell for ACE Power Equipment owner Sam Russo.
To be content in lawn maintenance today is to be putting your bid in for early retirement. Because as unique as the lawn maintenance business is, it has one thing in common with all other ventures. Change is inevitable, change is constant.
"I felt the ground begin to tremble and I realized too late that an ocean-going ship had caught me off guard. By the time I looked around it was right next to me. I could have reached out and touched it. It really gave me a fright. " So recounts Francie Keeler about one of her recent experiences working in the family business Dandy Lawn.
Ever sit around and chat with fellow lawn maintenance owners and operators? Sure you have. Do you remember some of the hot topics? If the discussion turned to, "Where do you want to be five years from now?" long-kept secret goals probably came running out of the closet. "I want to be a million dollar operation. I want to employ 80 people. I want to be the biggest landscaper in the area. I want to graduate to sitting behind a desk. I want, I want, I want..."