Wilbur-Ellis groups the golf, lawn care, nursery, greenhouse, forestry and aquatics markets under an umbrella term, “pro markets.” Michael Kropp, national director of pro markets, reports the business is growing 5% or more across all markets in the company’s footprint, and the lawn care sector has had almost double-digit margin growth.
“There are distinct differences,” Kropp explains. “For example, our models of pricing in the market are not always driven by rebate but rather an agency model. But in some ways, it is the same. The active ingredients are 100% the same across all markets.”
He says the team at Wilbur-Ellis works together as ag reps identify new opportunities with customers and can bring in their pro markets counterparts. One example is with PCA Mike Parks, based in Healdsburg, Calif., who specializes in aquatic management.
“I work with vineyards but in a complementary way, not directly with their crops,” Parks explains. “Aesthetics of the vineyard’s common grounds are important. Additionally, I can help them manage their irrigation water. Algae and floating weeds can damage pumps; rooted weeds can jeopardize a levy. It can get down to crustaceans, shrimp, mussels and a myriad of critters that can cause a problem and clog up drip emitters.”
Due to California’s climate and water supply, helping customers maximize the resources to which they have access has had great value.
“We have to understand the potential effects of any sort of treatment, including nontreatment. What if I do nothing? That could be equally as important as using a product,” Parks explains. “We focus on using water as efficiently as possible and its irrigation suitability—keeping that water supply as healthy as possible for the crop.”
Providing ag and turf solutions benefits customers as Parks says customers appreciate a company that can serve all of their needs for the crop and accompanying land.
“Having an additional point of contact with the customer helps to keep them coming back to us because they feel we have the ability to be a one-stop shop,” Parks says.