Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

JUN 2018

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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Jim Schwantz OF THE ACRES GROUP by Jacqueline A. Soule, for LC/DBM Jim Schwantz the founder and CEO of Acres Enterprises, Inc., one of the largest privately owned landscape contractors in Illinois, started in 1983 with just himself working out of his garage and home. Now, 35 years later, there are three business offices, and over 700 employees. In 2011, Jim was awarded the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association "Man of the Year" Award. Left Grand Haven in Romeoville, Illinois is an active adult community of 677 homes. The Acres Group installed and main- tains the planting beds. The community received an Illinois Landscape Contractors Association Gold Award for Landscap- ing Excellence in 2015. A Acres Group does care for acres of land- scapes, but that doesn't mean they are all over the map. In fact, Jim Schwantz, founder and CEO, says that the key to his success was to find the right niche mar - ket and stay there. He considers that the company does a boutique business with - in the landscape industry. They specialize in townhome Homeowner Associations (HOA's), as well as commercial proper - ties including office buildings, industrial parks and shopping centers. Beginnings Schwantz mowed lawns as a kid, and never thought about doing anything oth - er than working in the green industry. Taking care of landscapes is his passion. The business officially began 35 years ago, in 1983. Schwantz started working out of his house and garage in Arlington Heights, Illinois with a focus on residen - tial maintenance and lawn restoration. Back in the 1980s, much commercial maintenance was based on using chemi - cals. Schwantz did not favor that ap- proach, and his concern for the long-term health of the landscapes and the health of the customers using those landscapes brought him ample clients, and an in - creasing need for more employees. The business has been growing ever since. Focal Point Schwantz says he owes the success of his business to the fact that their custom - ers are the focus of what they do. It is not all about making money, it is about fos - tering positive relationships, he explains. "We are here for the long haul. Most of our customers have been with us for 15 years." After a reflective pause he added with a chuckle "Or more!" Schwantz explains that it takes more than focusing on the clients. The Acres Group success is based on four key con - cepts. "Our customers are the focus of what we do. We strive for continuous im - provement. We seek employee involve- ment. We maintain integrity." These four concepts are the underpinning to creating positive business relationships with the Acres Group clients - relation - ships based on trust and respect. "We deliver what we say we will, when we say we will, and with a willingness to go the extra mile for our customers." It's been his focus for the past 35 years and will be for the next 35 years. 24 LC DBM

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