Client Story - Mind Earth Tree and Landscape
Client Name: Warren and Marina Shumway
Business Name: Mind Earth Tree and Landscape
Business Website: https://mindearth.com/
Industry: Landscaping/Tree Removal
Location: Bow, NH
SBDC Advisor's Name: Julie Glosner
In his early 20’s, Warren Shumway, Co-owner of Mind Earth Tree and Landscape was loving life, spending his days working for a tree service, cutting down trees. “It was the most exciting job I ever had, and I absolutely loved it,” says Warren. It offered adventure, danger, a great workout, and it was profitable to boot! There was just that one big drawback that Warren couldn’t ignore. He was killing trees. He loved cutting down trees that were sick or dying, but to cut down a beautiful, healthy tree was another story.
He recalls the first beech tree he ever cut down. As he climbed the big, beautiful, 150-year-old tree, he says, “I just felt so guilty. Like, why are they cutting this tree down? It didn't make sense, and that was the beginning of where I just didn't enjoy it as much.”
So, after some time, Warren traded in climbing trees full time for a corporate job but continued to climb part time. It was about 15 years ago, when Warren really began to miss the tree service and his wife and Mind Earth Co-Owner, Marina reminded him of what he always said was the best job he ever had.
That’s when they decided it was time to get back into tree service, but this time, they would do it with a goal of sustainability and only removing trees that had to come down. Mind Earth Tree and Landscape was born. It’s their mission to “turn outdoor spaces into a source of health, beauty and inspiration while respecting our planet’s health and vitality.” For every tree Mind Earth Tree and Landscape cuts down, they have two trees planted. Mind Earth also offers tree pruning, property clean up, plant health care, trail building, and more. They can even help turn your back yard into a mountain bike skills area!
Evidenced by its quick growth, Mind Earth Tree and Landscape’s mission was one that resonated for many. The business grew so quickly, in fact, they had to upgrade from conducting the business out of their home to getting a garage. Rapid growth was a big challenge, along with filling staffing needs with the right people. “It’s having people you can trust,” says Marina.
Warren explained that while they had a couple of good people, there was also a learning curve, likely stemming from generational differences. “I just feel like if you're at a job, you should be working,” says Warren. “And when I was young, if you drag brush, you've got two hands, so you drag at least two pieces of brush. You're not holding your cell phone and dragging brush.”
To meet the challenge, Warren and Marina cut back. Marina is doing all the tree plant health care, and while Warren still climbs, they are contracting out a lot of the tree removal work.
It was those staffing challenges and a need for new ideas and direction that prompted Warren and Marina to reach out to NH SBDC Business Advisor, Julie Glosner. “I was just kind of overwhelmed with it,” says Warren of the staffing challenges. Marina adds, “Yeah…trying to go about it and figure out the best way, whether to offer benefits, what kind of benefits. There were a lot of questions.”
Julie provided them with business advising services, helping them establish a direction for their business as it is evolving. “She’s amazing. She really is,” comments Warren.
Marina continues, “yes…getting us in touch with the right people, giving us a lot of good tips, as far as who to talk to about this or who to talk to about that.”
Warren is especially impressed with Julie’s follow through, sharing “some people don't follow up or don't follow through. And she's really good about making sure that everything is followed up.”
Thanks to Julie’s help, Warren and Marina feel 100 percent committed to Mind Earth’s new direction of focusing on plant and tree health care; something that was always in the back of their mind, but now they are doing it and looking more long term. They explained how Julie’s style was not to force feed clarity in their business direction, but to help pull it out of them by asking the right questions and helping them to think about what they’re doing. She also kept them accountable to the steps they needed to take.
Today, Warren and Marina express gratitude and appreciation for Julie and NH SBDC. Warren says,
“I think any business that doesn't take advantage of it [SBDC] is just selling themselves short.”