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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Three Businesses Team Up To Break New Ground in Milwaukee Landscapes

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The economy has posed a challenge for many local businesses, but three young entrepreneurs have pooled their resources and talents, and the benefits have gone beyond the bottom line. Darrell Smith of Earthcare Natural Lawn and Landscapes, Bradley Blaeser of The Green Team, Inc. and John LaPointe of Greener Roofs and Gardens, LLC each specialize in an area of sustainable landscapes. They collaborate by sharing an office and operations base in Miller Valley, but have moved beyond this to share a vision for sustainable Milwaukee landscapes.

It began with Bradley Blaeser’s desire to move his office out of his home and maximize resources by sharing a business space with a like-minded colleague. The Green Team, an ecologically-minded lawn mowing and property management business found a collaborative partner in Earthcare Natural Lawn and Landscapes, an all-organic lawn care company which had also outgrown its neighborhood beginnings. Darrell Smith, the owner of Earthcare suggested a third party, John LaPointe of Greener Roofs and Gardens, LLC, who focuses on ecological water management, signature spaces and natural child play spaces. The three have forged an informal, yet effective, sustainable landscape consortium that benefits the community with a full range of services.

“In the beginning,” says Smith “we had to answer a basic question of whether we were better off collaborating or competing. 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.” Blaeser’s Green Team offers earth-friendly landscape maintenance techniques that include solar and waste vegetable oil-powered mowers as well as seasonally appropriate mowing heights that improve water infiltration, soil and turf quality. Smith’s Earthcare uses all organic methods for fertilizing turf and preventing weeds including a special compost tea brewing process. LaPointe’s Greener Roofs and Gardens has found a need for creative and effective water management as well as natural child play spaces and high quality outdoor spaces. Each company offers its own unique approach to garden design and installations with a constant focus on sustainable solutions with creativity and beauty.

These three young entrepreneurs have found that collaboration has yielded great benefits. “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,” explains Blaeser. “While sharing space can bring up challenges for three separate entities, we also save on costs and get energized by each other when the hours are long” adds LaPointe. The collaboration is a natural fit. Together they serve residential, commercial, and municipal clients across the greater Metro Milwaukee area and all three of the businesses have seen growth in the current economic climate. Says LaPointe, “We’ve benefited by working together and it means that the community is well served as we are jointly able to pursue our missions as sustainability-minded individuals.” So the next time you see a rain garden being installed, or notice a lawn being mowed by an electric mower or fertilized organically, take a closer look. You may run into one of these businesses that has found strength and common vision in partnership.

Join the consortium for an afternoon at their new headquarters at 5402 W. State St. on May 1st from 1:00 – 4:00 pm. They will be showcasing a compost tea brewing operation, organic lawn care products, alternative-fuel lawn mowers, and a design studio with an indoor water feature.

For more info:

Bradley Blaeser

The Green Team (of Wisconsin, Inc.)

www.greenteamwi.com

414-721-1431

John LaPointe

Greener Roofs and Gardens

www.grglandscapes.com

(262)844-2397

Darrell Smith

Earthcare Natural Lawns and Landscapes

www.earthcarelawns.com

414-333-4281