A Florida SBDC Success Story: Business is Blooming at Uniscape Landscape and Design
Uniscape Landscape and Design is a landscaping service specializing in designing lawns and ponds, to pool decks and waterfalls. Company owner, Claude Memoli Jr., has had a passion for the landscaping industry all of his life and has worked hard to grow his business over the years with his wife, Debbie Memoli. Through high school Claude worked for his bother-in-law and two years after his graduation, he opened a lawn service business which would eventually blossom into Uniscape Landscape and Design.
Claude recalls the difficulty of the housing market crash in 2008. The company had six employees before the crash, soon thereafter only Claude and Debbie remained. Claude remembers that, “times were very difficult,” and they had to restructure the business from sales through to operations. With the restructure of the business, Debbie focused on the daily office administration while Claude spent his time working solo on bids and providing all of the physical labor for their projects. The challenges took their toll on Claude and Debbie both financially and physically. In 2013, Claude had a revelation, “he was the one holding the company back from growth”. Claude adopted a new philosophy: no job was too big or too small to turn down. Fast forward to 2016, the business has more than doubled and once again have six staff members, multiple subcontractors, and projected continued growth. There have been a few memorable projects throughout the years. Most notably, Claude and his team worked with George Lucas’s studio in creating a landscape scene off the Sanibel Causeway for a Chevy Blazer commercial.
While growing the landscaping and waterfall aspects of the business, Claude saw a business opportunity in farming Koi fish. Since the opening of the Koi farm, Claude has received several awards for their Koi and pond design and construction is a large portion of the business model. Additionally, Claude began selling pond and other landscaping products online. They are building up their online store so they can extend their business nationally.
In 2012, Claude and Debbie sought the resources of the Florida Small Business Development Center at Florida Gulf Coast University. From the satellite office in Cape Coral, Consultant Amanda Stirn worked one-on-one with Debbie on financial repair of remnants from the 2008 bust and subsequently helped them design and implement marketing strategies they use to this day. Claude says, “we really appreciate the help the SBDC provides, they helped us actually restart and build-up our business.” Amanda remains by their side to this day assisting in marketing and promotion. She says, “they went the extra mile and purchased a drone to take videos of their projects in progress and their Koi Farm to put up on their website as a selling tool”. Claude and Debbie both recommend the services of the Florida SBDC to anyone starting a business as well as those who are ready to take their business to the next level. Claude says, “they guide you through the whole process and are there with you not just for you.”
Uni-Scape Landscape and Design, Claude and Debbie Memoli, (239) 283-7733, www.uni-scape.com, Uniscape1@embarqmail.com