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Companies in the News: Updates from David J. Frank Landscape Contracting, WAC Lighting, Stihl and more

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(Photo: David J. Frank Consulting)
(Photo: David J. Frank Consulting)

David J. Frank Landscape Contracting celebrates 65 years

David J. Frank Landscape Contracting is celebrating its 65th anniversary by breaking ground for a new 10,000-square-foot mechanic shop. The groundbreaking took place on April 8, the birthdate of the company’s founder and namesake.

David J. Frank, who passed away in 2019, founded his company in 1959. At the age of 9, Frank began mowing lawns in his suburban Milwaukee neighborhood. By 12, he was already caring for more than 30 neighboring homes.

In 1974 he relocated the growing business, which had expanded its landscape services, to its current location in Germantown, Wisc., where he purchased 4.5 acres and built a combined office, garage and shop.

The new 10-bay shop will service the company’s dozens of vehicles and hundreds of pieces of equipment and will replace the 50-year-old four-bay shop that is outdated and unable to accommodate an extensive and expensive renovation. The old shop will be torn down to make way for office expansion when the new shop is finished in fall.

WAC dedicates office to late executive

(Left to right) Laurie Cannella, Sean Tham, Brian Kennedy, Chi Chow, Mike Macaluso, Becky Li, Tony Wang, Aubrey Bertin, Chris Demeter, Craig Ripple and Jon Hoffman of WAC Lighting. (WAC Lighting)
(Left to right) Laurie Cannella, Sean Tham, Brian Kennedy, Chi Chow, Mike Macaluso, Becky Li, Tony Wang, Aubrey Bertin, Chris Demeter, Craig Ripple and Jon Hoffman of WAC Lighting. (WAC Lighting)

WAC Lighting dedicated a main office in honor of the late executive Leonard M. Schwartz. The office will be called the “Leonard M. Schwartz Memorial Conference Room.”

According to Founder Tony Wang, the wall plaque reads, “One of the finest men we ever met. A gentleman in every sense of the word; he was very generous, kind and successful in his personal and professional life. Leonard was instrumental in helping build WAC into the industry leader it has become today. He always inspired people and had a great gift for seeing the best in everyone. We will sorely miss his patient empathy, fierce friendship, and generosity of spirit.”

Schwartz was employed by WAC for more than three decades, serving as executive vice president of sales and marketing, sales representative and consultant. Leonard enjoyed a long career in the lighting industry dating back to the late 1950s.

Stihl provides update on battery-powered sales during annual financial press conference

The Stihl Group, a manufacturer of chainsaws and outdoor power equipment, continued to roll out its battery strategy in fiscal year 2023 with an increase the share of sales from battery-operated tools to 24 percent — up from 20 percent in the previous year. As a result, almost every fourth Stihl product sold is battery-operated, according to the company.

STIHL is well on its way to taking a leading position in the battery segment. Our customers know that they can rely on the high quality of our products and our service,” said Michael Traub, chairman of the executive board of Stihl.

Sales of gasoline-powered products declined significantly alongside the jump in battery-powered purchasing, according to the comapny. Stihl aims to increase the share of sales from battery-operated products to at least 35 percent by 2027, with a target of 80 percent by 2035. The company will expand its battery-operated product and service portfolio both in the handheld product range and the introduction of new wheeled products — including its first battery-operated zero-turn mower — a battery-powered zero-turn ride-on mower.

Other reports from the company’s financial press conference included a decrease in overall sales in North America. The company also adds that, despite the decrease, it expanded its dealer network and increased the market share attributable to battery-operated products in the region.

Blingle first quarter report emphasizes franchise growth and innovation

Blingle, an outdoor lighting franchise, highlighted its opening to the year with a Q1 report. According to the company, Q1 was a shift in its franchise model, aimed to help franchisees manage cash flow in a more predictable manner. Blingle began a flat rate model in which royalties switched from a percentage of revenue to a flat monthly rate. Additionally, most of the franchisee services are now optional, saving the franchisee money if they wish to not use select services.

“As part of our efforts to continually improve our franchise model, we gathered feedback from all of our franchisees to see what they were looking for from us,” said Josh Skolnick, founder of HorsePower Brands. “Our goal is to serve our communities, which includes the franchisees, with ease and provide them with a service they can be proud of using.”

To pair with this new model, Nels Peterson was promoted to vice president and brand leader. Peterson, an experienced lighting expert with more than three decades in the industry, will serve as a day-to-day resource for the franchisees, while also overseeing all field operations. His goal in the first year of the new role is to open 24 new locations this year in tandem with launching Blingle’s new university and training that it receives from product vendors.

“Blingle is continuing to grow in the lighting space as the outdoor lighting trend gains steam,” said Peterson. “In my position, I am able to support the franchisees with my expertise so they can install projects that achieve the vision of each client.”

In addition, the brand opened 3 new locations and signed 2 new franchise agreements to start the year. The new locations that opened in the first quarter include Naples, Fla., Miami, Fla., and Richmond, Va. Blingle signed franchise development agreements to bring the brand to Port Charlotte, Fla., and Kansas City, Miss., in the second quarter of this year.

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