In 1984 a young and ambitious Mike Curlee started working for a small fertilizing company that was just starting out. They had about 400 customers when Mike started. As one of only 2 or 3 employees he quickly became familiar with all aspects of the lawn care industry. They steadily grew over the next ten years and Mike learned and grew with them. In 1994 Ken West came to work for the same company. With only a few years of experience in landscaping and lawn maintenance, he began to learn the industry under Mike’s direct supervision. The two became friends and eventually peers as Ken worked his way into management over the next few years. By the year 2000 they had helped to grow that company to over 8000 happy customers. Without warning, in the spring of 2001 the company was sold to a large, multi-national corporation. The company Ken and Mike had collectively given over 20 years of blood, sweat and tears to help establish and build was gone with the stroke of a pen. The news was devastating, customers were confused and the future was uncertain. The idea for a new company began to take shape and by the fall of 2001 Top Lawn was born. Ken and Mike were friends, co-workers and hunting buddies and now they were business partners. They set out to build a dependable company; a company that could be trusted to provide for its employees and its customers. They were determined to build a company that would provide quality service, a healthy work environment, and keep its promises. This vision continues to drive Top Lawn to this day. It is this vision that drives us to develop the best employees, maintain exceptional communication, and use the best products, equipment and techniques to provide the highest level of customer satisfaction achievable. From out of our own families and the community around us we have built a team of caring and qualified professionals who share the same vision and commitment to excellence. Our unique experience in the past and our unwavering vision for the future are key elements in our ongoing mission to make Top Lawn a company that truly is “Above the Rest”.
Top Lawn seeks to provide professional services that enhance the quality of life of our customers and add to the value of their homes and properties. We strive to provide a healthy work environment where people are encouraged to grow in skill, knowledge and prosperity. We are committed to being a company that is reliable, accountable, and personable. We are determined to establish and maintain a company name that is synonymous with quality service, expertise, and professionalism.
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We would like to take this opportunity to possibly over share a bit. Top Lawn has been around long enough to see this trend begin to repeat itself again and again. Former lawn care company owners starting new companies with the intention of growing them as large and as fast as they can so they can once again sell them to the highest bidder. These are the same people who made all those promises and “commitments” to their customers a few years ago only to sell their accounts and skip town with a bag full of cash and a bunch of people wondering why one of the big multi-national companies is now servicing their property when they originally signed up with that “local, family owned and operated” mom and pop on the corner.
What normally happens when a sale like that takes place is that the parties agree to a non-compete clause. This means the original owner is legally forbidden to take part in a similar business in a given area for a certain period of time.
What we are seeing happen now is that after the expiration of the non-compete, the original owner comes back to town and starts the whole process over again; making empty promises, giving away “valuable services” and accumulating as many customers as fast as they can so they can sell them again and take a few more years off.
Top Lawn was born out of just such an arrangement. In March of 2001, owners Mike and Ken learned that the company they had shed their blood sweat and tears to grow from 400 customers to 8000 customers was selling to a multi-national conglomerate. The company name they collectively gave over 20 years of their lives to help build and establish was dissolved with the stroke of a pen. With that, Ken and Mike set out to build a dependable company that could be trusted to provide for their families, their employees and their customers.
That is where our heart is. We currently have seven immediate family members working here at Top Lawn. We are trying to build an enduring company; a company that we can be proud of and that our customers and families can count on. We know you have many choices in lawn care services and we MUST provide you with great reasons not only to hire us, but to STAY with us.
I started this letter by saying that maybe we are over sharing a little bit here. Maybe it is the frustration of trying to compete with companies that are started with their exit strategy already mapped out; companies that don’t have to depend on the income from this business to provide for their families, or maybe it is the wound that is reopened when we remember what it was like for us, our families and our customers when it happened to us. We wanted to bring this into the light to caution you and also to thank you for your loyalty to our company. We do not take it for granted and we will do everything in our power to convince you that you have made the best possible choice for your lawn care needs.