Maumee Bay Turf Center in Oregon makes its mark with customer service
By Bonnie Gretzner
Brad Morrison and PJ Kapfhammer, owners of Maumee Bay Turf Center in Oregon, take personalized service to the extreme. In their business of commercial property maintenance, snow removal, athletic field construction, landscape design, and more, the two go out of their way to serve the customer. Says Brad, “We’ve picked up CEOs during a snowstorm to bring them to their business.” Adds PJ, “If a customer needs us to wash windows or clean their gutters, we’ll do it.”
Business has been growing steadily since 2006, they say, because customers trust them to exceed expectations. For example, they handle snow removal for a hospital, and they say as soon as the first flake falls, they have seven trucks on site that will work until the snow stops. “We’ll pick people up in the parking lot and drive them to the doors. Businesses that want to make sure their customers and employees are safe know what they’ll get from us,” says PJ. In fact, he adds, “We never say no. If someone asked us, ‘Do you climb telephone poles?’ Brad would tell them we’ve been doing it for years, and then he’d be on the Internet figuring it out.”
Brad oversees the athletic field portion of the business, and Maumee Bay Turf Center now installs natural and synthetic turf in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. The company handles the design, engineering, installation and maintenance of all its fields, and they have worked with many local high schools, such as Perrysburg High School and Lake High School. The company can also move quickly when necessary. After the Lake football field was irreparably damaged from a tornado in June 2010, the company had the new synthetic field ready to use in less than two months. “We maintain the field, we show the customer how to do it, and we sell the equipment for it,” says PJ. “We aim to be a one-stop shop.” The company now also installs artificial turf to residential and commercial lawns. The pet-friendly products carry an eight-year warranty but can last up to 20 years, says Brad.
PJ handles the equipment, financial and personnel aspect of the business. The store has five mechanics, and they service and sell mowers for homeowners as well as commercial use. Their philosophy on customer service means they will mow the homeowner’s lawn while his mower is in the shop, and they’ll deliver it once the job is done. “We serve all customers, big and small. We think every dollar is a bonus; it all adds up. We haven’t gotten too big for our britches, and we never will,” PJ says. The store is a distributor for The Anderson fertilizers, and also offers landscape design, where project manager Brian Hamilton will visit a customer at home, take pictures, and design a computer layout.
Although the two opened their store five years ago, they have more than 20 years’ experience, having cut grass and plowed driveways since high school. After high school, PJ ran a lawn maintenance business and partnered with Brad, at the time a landscape and athletic field contractor, on the snow-plowing business. “We got tired of waiting for it to snow, so one day we mapped out a whole business in 20 minutes. We found a location, invested money to fix it up, and opened in about five months,” says PJ.
Its reputation has spread, Brad says, and word of mouth has been the most effective marketing. “Sending a postcard to schools doesn’t work. The schools have to trust you, and they learn who to trust by talking to other schools and finding out who did their field,” he says.
Both Brad and PJ pride themselves on being active in the community, and that was recognized in 2007 when Maumee Bay Turf Center earned a PRISM Award. The award honors start-up, expansions, innovation and community involvement of local businesses. And in 2009, the company added a strength and conditioning center on site to provide an area where student-athletes and adults can work out, free of charge. “It’s a passion of mine, working with kids and training them how to lift properly,” says PJ. “They can come here at any time by entering a pass code. It keeps them out of trouble. I know what it’s like to be that kid that got in trouble. I tell them, ‘I was you before you were you, but it didn’t define who I was. I was able to channel it into something positive.” Both PJ and Brad are football coaches, and Brad also coaches basketball. In December, they donated $950 for the purchase of hockey uniforms for a benefit to raise money for a paralyzed player. Says PJ, “We’re doing well in a down economy, so we give back. We want to be a part of the community.”
If you have found this story interesting, informative, or inspiring, please let Brad or PJ know! Maumee Bay Turf Center is located at 740 South Stadium, Oregon, 43616, 419-720-8873, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://maumeebayturf.com/.