224 companies ascend on Grow! 2020, tour Charlotte’s Loving

February 28, 2020 -  By
Photo: LM Staff

Photo: LM Staff

Grow! 2020 attendees were certainly feeling the love.

All in all, 580 attendees from 41 states and Canada representing 224 companies and an estimated $1.3 billion in revenue visited Charlotte, N.C., to attend the annual event hosted by Marty Grunder and The Grow Group. The event was highlighted by a tour of Loving, one of the fastest-growing landscape companies in America, beginning with its operations site and then its corporate headquarters in Gastonia, N.C.

Other educational opportunities at the two-and-a-half-day event included panels on when and how to enter new markets; how to succeed with family businesses; getting the most out of social media; and streamlining operations.

Kevin Endres, president/owner of SiteScape, Utica, Mich., was attending his fifth Grow! He said the tour of Loving impressed him the most.

“It just seems like one big family, the culture,” he said. “They’re on the same page, and it’s all about the team and how they get to the finish line … everyone can win.”

Mark DuBois, owner of Quality Landscape, Grafton, Wis., appreciated to see how Loving operates.

“I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel; there’s an opportunity here when you have a company this size willing to open their doors. I’m trying to learn from the best,” DuBois said. “There are a lot of different ways to make money in the landscape industry. You have to pick your lane that you’re passionate about and go in that lane and find the best way to do it.”

Endres said he believed he could take things he learned at Grow! 2020 and apply them to his business.

Photo: LM Staff

Photo: LM Staff

“All the people that are here are in the same boat you are, and at the end of the day, they’re dealing with the same problems,” Endres said. “You can take away one or two little tidbits every time you come back to you company … and grow each year.”

Additional reporting on Loving, including an interview with Loving founder Michael Haynes, will be in the March 2020 issue of Landscape Management. Mullin Landscape is slated to host Grow! 2021 in New Orleans, La.

LM columnist Marty Grunder said the packed room of 580 was certainly a success, but to him, it’s not a numbers game.

“We had a goal of getting 500 people to Charlotte, and we got 580. I’m not so interested in how many people are there; I’m more interested in the quality of people that are there and that when we’re done people say, ‘Marty, that was incredible,’” Grunder said. “We want (Grow!) to be the preeminent educational experience in the green industry. We want it to be the place that the owners and leadership teams of success-minded landscaping companies of any size … they come. The little guys come to see what’s possible. The big guys should come and make sure they haven’t forgotten what’s possible.”

Grunder said the reason Grow! is successful is because the industry is made up of people who have a passion for continuous learning.

“This is my opinion of working with successful people … they’re never satisfied. They’re happy but they tend to be critical of themselves, they don’t celebrate victories and they just want to get better,” he said. “I do know the surest way to get old is to stop learning and discovering new things … when you lose that edge, then you are old, and I don’t want to be old. I want to work my mind and grow my company.”

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Seth Jones

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. Seth has more than 23 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories. He is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. Jones can be reached at sjones@northcoastmedia.net.

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