Starting at the beginning
When I incorporated and chose the name ProScape in 2005, after 7 years of operating “Luke’s Lawns & Landscaping”, I did so because I thought it captured the professional image I had always tried to portray. If you read my previous blog about the whole Landscape Doc story, you know that my little landscaping business was just a means to an end anyway. It wouldn’t be a forever thing, since I was set to graduate from pharmacy school in 2 years, but I wanted to be a true legit business, a landscape professional. As it turned out, there was someone else who liked the name ProScape for a business as well.
In my very first year of operating as ProScape Lawn & Landscape Services, I was at a nursery in Columbus and learned that there was a company called ProScapes Lawn & Landscape Maintenance, that operated as ProScapes of Dublin. A little disappointed my name wasn’t as creative as I thought it was, our paths never crossed much, since at the time I didn’t really do any work in Columbus, primarily only Marion and Morrow counties. However, I did work with a few different suppliers out of Columbus, and through the years that followed, I always had to be careful to differentiate that we were ProScape in Marion. We even occasionally would get calls, even payments, for what we called “the other ProScape in Columbus”.
At one point, I did a little research on the company, intrigued to learn who else had the witty intellect to come up with such a good name. Turns out the owner was a lady named Julie, but everyone mentioned that she went by Jules. That’s all I really knew, since I had never met her or spoken with her.
In 2014, I distinctly remember joking with a friend at breakfast that I should call her up and offer to join forces. I never did anything about it, but the thought crossed my mind quite a few times. Starting around that same time, we began doing a lot more business in the Columbus market, especially Dublin, Powell, Lewis Center, Upper Arlington, and New Albany. Although we had a satellite location in Worthington for winter operations, by late 2017 it was obvious that we needed a Columbus location. It just didn’t make sense to have multiple crews spending hours every day driving back and forth. We realized our options would be to either start a net new location in Columbus, or we could look to acquire another business and merge our operations.
It started with an email
As we evaluated those options, I remembered ProScapes of Dublin again. On a bit of a whim, on a Sunday evening in November, I was sitting on my couch at home, and I pulled up their website. I found Julie’s email address, and I sent her an email, briefly explaining that I had heard of her and known of her company for many years. I explained that our goal was to continue to expand in and around the Dublin area, if she ever would consider selling her business and joining forces, to let me know. I remember hitting send on that email and being a bit excitedly nervous, but thinking logically that most likely, nothing would come of it. But I still chuckled to myself how ironic it would be if something did come of it.
The next day I got an email back that said she would, in fact, be interested in talking, and we should get together. It turned out, Jules had started talking with someone else, not long before that, about a merger. Later that same day, we met at Panera and talked about her team, her customers, and the possibility of joining forces. I found out that, like me, Jules is not only very passionate about landscaping, but also her staff, and she wanted to make sure especially that they were well taken care of. I explained our culture, my beliefs, my vision, and our values. We found a lot of common ground in that meeting, and it springboarded many more conversations over the next few months.
The next four months after our initial meeting were a complete whirlwind, involving lots of phone calls and meetings with lots of people. We knew that if a merge was going to be successful, it needed to happen before spring so that we could get our operations united and off on the right foot. It was a sprint, complicated by several untimely snow storms, but on March 23, we officially closed and became one ProScape.
It has now been nearly 5 months since the official start of what we sometimes refer to as Super-ProScape. We have officially integrated all our people and processes, and we are working as a cohesive team. I definitely want to extend a heartfelt thank you to our team who has made the transition and growth possible! I absolutely could not have made everything happen on my own, and it is one of my greatest joys to see our team members grow in their leadership and technical knowledge, overcome challenges, and to see ProScape blossom into something that is far bigger than Luke Henry, or any one individual!
I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank our customers for being patient and gracious through our transition. I would be lying if I said everything has gone smoothly and as perfectly as planned. Of course that’s not even realistic. Our team worked harder than we ever have, but with all the balls in the air, a few got dropped here and there. We have learned from mistakes, and I am very confident in our direction and ability to exceed our clients’ expectations! It has been quite a journey, but we are very excited about the days ahead!