Harmony Brands Offers Streamlined “Farm to Yard” Buying Experience
Sarasota, FL – April 22, 2014 – In an effort to consolidate the fragmented landscaping and lawn care industry, two major turfgrass producers have joined forces to create a singular company. Harmony Outdoor Brands, LLC represents the joint efforts of Bethel Farms, LLLP and BuySod, Inc, two of the top sod producers in the United States.
Bethel Farms started in 1958 as a family-owned, agricultural company in Arcadia, Florida, selling cattle, poultry, nursery plants and other live goods. The business spans three generations and has grown into a national operation supplying the major home improvement stores.
Buy Sod, Inc. was formed in 2002 by three long time sod producers in North Carolina who recognized they could better serve customers by producing and marketing new, improved varieties of turfgrass across a wider geographic footprint. Buy Sod owns and operates nine sod farms across North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia and also supplies home improvement stores across the country.
The idea to unify behind a singular brand made sense to both companies. “It started with the way sod was sold,” states Will Nugent, Bethel Farms CEO. “The consumer had no single source to buy, install and care for their lawn. This piecemeal approach left customers on their own to seek out lawncare companies, landscapers, installers, wholesale suppliers and bulk delivery companies.” As the largest sod supplier to the major home improvement stores across the U.S., Bethel Farms worked to spearhead a network of certified growers that could supply premium sod and lawn-related services on an uniform basis.
“That’s when we realized we needed to partner with other top notch growers,” states Nugent. That decision lead to a partnership with BuySod, a major sod supplier in the Northeast and Mid-atlantic U.S. Together, the two companies solidified their efforts behind the Harmony brand name, a line of best-in-class grass varieties that are grown specific to each region of the country.
The grass grown for northern climates is different than southern warm climate varieties, so each retailer offers Harmony turfgrass best suited to that zone. “We have even gone so far as to create matching grass seed blends,” states Charles Harris, BuySod CEO. “In this way, the entire system matches up and produces a consistent look with a uniform color and appearance.”
Both Nugent and Harris agree that the “farm-to-yard” concept provides the end user a superior product. “Since our farms grow the sod, we know where each pallet comes from, how best to grow it, and how best to care for it” states Nugent. As a result of this knowledge and expertise in growing sod, demand grew from the initial sale of the sod, to installation of the turfgrass and ongoing lawn care.
“What started as a nationally available sod product has evolved into an outdoor living ecosystem,” states Mike Pope, VP of Sales and Marketing. “What the consumer really wants is a better outdoor living experience which maximizes their time with friends and family, while minimizing upkeep and maintenance. That’s why we refer to our ‘techs’ as ‘Personal Growers’ since they have direct training right on the sod farms. They bring this experience with them when they tend to the customer’s lawn.”
To meet that demand for turnkey outdoor lawn services, Harmony Brands has opened a new corporate office in Sarasota, Florida and staffed it with industry experts in outdoor goods and services. “Our goal is to streamline the buying process,” Pope continues. “Our turfgrass is now available online and can be ordered right off a smart phone.” Mobilizing both the grower network and the sales process has been a multi-year effort, as the new company continues to add growers and services. “In the near future, you will be able to order your new lawn, have it installed, have it mulched and then maintained, right from your phone.”
While the buying process is quickly becoming more streamlined and virtual, the benefits are still very much physical. “Speaking for the entire brand, our goal is to improve America’s outdoor living experience,” states Nugent. “By creating a more intuitive and manageable process, we hope that more families can enjoy their lawns and engage in meaningful outdoor and recreational opportunities.”