5 Questions: Matt Hunter

February 22, 2023 -  By
(Photo: Christie Hunter)

(Photo: Christie Hunter)

Matt Hunter

President, New Garden Landscaping & Nursery, Greensboro, N.C.

1.  Tell me about the company.  

It was formed in 1977 by Morris Newlin. He started it out as a design/build and maintenance company. He brought his brother in to run the garden centers. I bought the company in December 2020. We have one retail garden center. We have a main operations and administration location, and we have a satellite operation in Winston-Salem. It’s design/build, landscape maintenance and we also do fine gardening and estate work. We’re 40 percent design/build, 30 percent maintenance and 30 percent retail.

2.  How did you find your way into the industry? 

I got into the industry at a very young age. I lived in Toledo, Ohio. My best friend’s family had a retail garden center and grew annuals. In order for me to be able to keep my dirt bike on their farm and be able to ride, I had to work in the garden center and help with the annuals. We would plant spring annuals, we’d help in the garden center loading customers and by picking apples and strawberries. Then I started mowing lawns. I moved to North Carolina in 1990 and went to work at a garden center. I got a degree in horticulture from N.C. State in 1995.

3.  What is your most memorable day at work? 

The most memorable day in my career was Dec. 17 of 2020, when I signed the paperwork to buy New Garden Landscape & Nursery. It was my dream since I was a young man to own a landscape company and be able to help give people opportunities that might not have been provided within their own families. My wife and I took Morris Newlin and his wife out to dinner to celebrate his retirement and celebrate the movement of New Garden Landscaping & Nursery into the future.

4.  Do you have a family, and what do you all do for fun?  

I married my high school sweetheart Christie, we’ve been together since 1992. We have two daughters, Katelyn and Alexis, 18 and 14. For fun we like to travel, and we also are into sporting events. My team is N.C. State, and my wife and daughters root for UNC-Chapel Hill, so we have a divided house.

5.  What are your expectations for this upcoming season?  

For 2023, I foresee that we will have to work harder for our sales. I think we’ll have somewhat of a downturn in the economy. But internally, we’ll be more proactive with our sales and not be order-takers and work on really selling the clients. We work with high-end residential, so a lot of our clients are somewhat recession-proof. I hope to show at least five-percent growth in 2023

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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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