Brian Baker, President & CEO of Turf Ventures, discusses how Evolutionary Capital has impacted his decisions and his business. My name’s Brian Baker, President/CEO of Turf Ventures. We supply golf courses with chemicals, fertilizers, seed, all their maintenance supplies to make the grass and turf do what we want it to do for the golfer. How Has Evolution Capital Partners Changed Your Business? Evolution brought a lot to the table for us. Like I said, we were really a small local company. I had this vision in my head of taking our small local company and getting in each market. Go to Cincinnati and find the local guy and build a very similar business to what we had at Chicago land turf there and then to go Pittsburgh. Evolution was interested in us as a company, a small little company, but really they’re a private equity group, they want to see it grow. If we didn’t have that side of things, that plan, I don’t think we’d be sitting here. How Does Evolution Influence Your Decisions? Really what they’ve done is they challenge us on things. When you’re a small company like that you pretty much make the decision and you roll with it, you sleep with that decision. And often times just out of lack of anybody asking you if it’s the right decision, you believe that you’ve always made, you get into a lull of where you just think yeah well I’ve got it under control. With Evolution they’ve challenged things and they’re not scared to stop and say hey now think about that differently, what could you do different, what are your options here. That’s invaluable. It really is. You need somebody that will stop, hold on, slow down, especially as an entrepreneur, and look through the different steps and do the process that you need to to get it set so that you don’t have to answer problems and you don’t have fix problems after the fact. How Has Your Company Grown With Evolution? We’ve now gone from a company that not many people outside of our geography really knew who we were. I don’t think that hurt us with our customer base, it certainly didn’t open up as many doors on profitability and different lines and opportunity to get maybe some more exclusive deals or some different things going and with the size now we’re able to drive a lot more buying power out into the market so we can bring more to the bottom line. We were recognized by Inc. 500/5000 on their list which was a great deal for 3 year growth and that’s something I never would have dreamed of when we first started. I kind of had my eyes set on growing the business but the stuff that comes with it, the awards, the notoriety; it never even was thought of. Without Evolution’s backing and support, we would still be the small, which is okay, but we would just be in Chicago, and just be the small local place that we always were.
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