Fiore shares background, vision for LandscapeHub

April 4, 2018 -  By

With LandscapeHub, Fiore and the company’s other co-founders are looking to help alleviate some common issues associated with supply chain management and procurement.

Lisa Fiore’s roots in the landscape and nursery industries run deep and wide. She is a co-founder and the CEO of LandscapeHub, an online marketplace for plants and landscape products, and formerly the fourth generation owner/operator of Chicago-area Fiore Nursery & Landscape Supply.

In Chicago, the name Fiore, which means “flower” in Italian, is synonymous with nurserymen and landscape contractors.

“I love the industry,” says Fiore. “I grew up in it. I love growers, and I love landscapers.”

Her dream, she says, always has been to “elevate the industry.” At a company management planning retreat in fall 2016, she started to envision how she could do that. It began with a discussion about how Fiore Nursery & Landscape Supply could better manage its supply chain.

“It’s fragmented and it’s cloudy,” Fiore says of the supply chain. “We were trying to find ways to help our sales folks and buyers get access to our information quickly.”

Two days later when the retreat ended, Fiore and her business partner and cousin David Fiore knew their idea—an online business-to-business platform for buyers and sellers—would help their nursery, but they also believed it could help the entire industry. Supply chain management and procurement are not uncommon challenges.

“We realized this was going to be a separate enterprise,” she says. That enterprise became LandscapeHub, a platform for landscape professionals to source, discover, quote and assemble plant and landscape material orders.

“We’re a tech company, and we’re excited to optimize and bring value to this industry,” Fiore says. “Our goal is to support and improve the lives of green industry professionals. Technology can actually help us do that.”

In late 2016 and early 2017, Fiore began to step back from her role at the nursery and got acquainted with Chicago’s tech industry. She connected with LandscapeHub’s Co-founder and CTO Chad Cooper, who had experience developing the online marketplaces and HomeFinder. She also brought on Co-founder and Vice President of Sales Ed Rockhill, who had worked for Fiore Nursery and is a veteran of large landscape firms like Mainscape and Brickman.

LandscapeHub was created with empathy toward both the buyers and suppliers, Fiore says. Buyers are primarily landscape contractors, but also include municipalities, golf courses and garden centers. Suppliers include growers, manufacturers of landscape products, dealers, distributors, brokers and independent sales representatives. It’s free to buyers and suppliers pay a transaction fee when a sale takes place.

Last summer, the company launched LandscapeHub as a minimum viable product with 10 suppliers and five buyers.

“We launched it in a raw state to get it in the hands of users, so we could iterate and build out the product based on user feedback,” Fiore says. “We want to build what’s meaningful to the buyers and suppliers.”

The site now has around 500 buyers and 90 suppliers.

To ensure the platform remains a business-to-business platform, buyers request an invitation that gets approved by LandscapeHub’s operations team. Suppliers are vetted by the company’s three market managers.

“It’s growing, and suppliers are excited because we’re providing a sales channel for them, targeting landscape contractors,” she says. The reception from buyers has been positive, too, though Fiore notes it’s a challenge to get buyers to change their behavior, even though they realize their current process for ordering plants and materials is clunky and inefficient.

“Everyone knows how to buy shoes and airfare online,” she says. “We’re introducing the concept of procurement through multiple suppliers. It’s really reframing the procurement process and get them familiar with the site and the workflow, which is different than it is today.”

Fiore believes LandscapeHub will be able to provide additional value for the industry, such as using the data generated by the platform to help growers price their products today and forecast for the future. This company is also standardizing product nomenclature for the industry, it hopes to provide more shipping options than are available today and it’s in talks to integrate with landscape software providers.

“It’s grandiose, but we have some amazing investment partners that see the vision,” she adds. LandscapeHub recently raised more than $4 million in seed funding, and it has big goals. First, the company intends to prove buyer adoption in the Midwest this year and next.

“Then we will rapidly grow in other buyer markets,” Fiore says. “We want to provide a national platform.”

Photo: LandscapeHub

This article is tagged with and posted in Today's Green Industry News
Marisa Palmieri

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

Comments are currently closed.