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Spruce Up Your Commercial Landscape by Planting Some New Trees

Maintaining your commercial landscape is a task that is important to you. Not only does your landscaping say a great deal about how well your property is maintained, it brings countless benefits to you and your community. While it’s obvious that trees offer energy-saving and health benefits, there are at least two reasons to plant some new trees on your commercial property today: appearance and property value.


Appearance
A quick and fairly inexpensive way to make your landscaping appear more sophisticated is to plant new trees. Research has shown that commercial areas with trees are more attractive to shoppers and tenants. By simply planting some trees and properly maintaining them, you’re able to stimulate economic development. In addition to providing a beautiful environment, trees offer shade and reduced energy costs which are valuable to you and your customers. A laboratory experiment also claims that visual exposure to settings with trees reduces recovery time from a stressful situation. Adding some trees to your commercial landscape will not only add beauty but peace.


Property Value
With an abundance of tree types available, the possibilities for improving your commercial landscape are endless. If you’re looking for a great way to increase your property value, trees are an excellent solution. If you’re looking to benefit from increased property value sooner than later, look for trees that are known for their quick growth habit. Some examples of fast growing trees include Red Maple and Eastern White Pine. Because these types of trees grow quickly, it’s important to plant them in a suitable area and have them properly maintained. If you don’t need fast growing trees, there are plenty of trees to select based on other requirements.


A great way to improve the overall appearance of your commercial landscape is to plant new trees. In order to ensure that the right trees are selected for your specific landscape, consult the professionals at Yellowstone Landscape today.

 

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Landscape Expectations vs. Landscape Budgets

Let’s start with a quick story…

A few years ago we were awarded the landscape maintenance contract for a large townhome community. As the board president was signing our contract, he told us that he had voted for us because we were more than just “mow, blow, and go”, like his previous landscape providers had been. He scheduled an initial walkthrough with us to “have a look at some areas that could use a little extra help”.

Excited to start out on the right foot, we showed up for the property walk with notebooks and cameras ready.  We spent 3 hours walking around the community, listening to him talk about all the things he felt his previous landscaper did wrong. He also talked about all the choices he would have made, if he had been to one to select the plant palette for the community when it was built.  He then asked us to come back to him with a plan for how we were going to attack the areas he’d pointed out to us.

We came back to him a week later with renderings of the beautifully reimagined landscape that could be his. It was like a work of art we were unveiling to him. The drawings incorporated the exact plant materials he had told us he preferred, and we expected to hear nothing but praise for how well we’d paid attention to his needs.

Instead, he was just embarrassed.

“It’s absolutely beautiful. But we don’t have the money for all this. We just want you to do what’s in the contract we signed with you. If you do a good job, maybe next year we can talk about doing a little something extra.”

 

Sometimes clarifying the client’s expectations is the most difficult part of what we do. Serving a client well often starts with helping them to define what they expect from us. Then, we have to delicately balance their expectations with their budget.

We can design a beautiful space for a client that would rival anything they’ve ever seen on Pinterest, but if they can’t afford to install and maintain it, then we’ve failed to serve that client well.

This is the challenge we face when working with a lot of new clients. It’s easy to look at other properties’ landscaping and say “I want that”, without understanding the level of investment is to get “that” particular look.

Here’s something we like to remind our clients - landscapes are living things that are in a constant state of change. With the help of trained Landscape Professionals, they are constantly improving, becoming healthier and more beautiful. And the client’s vision of what their landscape should look like won’t happen overnight, no matter how much they spend.

Improving and enhancing a landscape takes time, and many of the things we do will not be immediately apparent. In fact, if the client is serious about making a dramatic change to their landscape, it will often require making it look worse before it gets better.

But over time, the client’s expectation will become their reality. Turf will get greener. Shrubs and trees will look healthier and more full. Flowers will be more vibrant.

As budgets change, the key to serving a client well is to help them define and adjust expectations accordingly.  With consistent communication and planning, their budget and their expectations can be aligned.

Are you searching for a new commercial landscape partner? One who will take the time to understand what you really expect from your property’s landscape.

Request an appointment to meet with your local Yellowstone Landscape Professional today. You can afford a more beautiful landscape.

 

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Movin’ On Up

It’s that time of year again.

The time of year when landscape companies find out where we rank among our competition.

Each summer the landscape industry’s major publications create their listings of the largest landscape companies in North America. The data is gathered, analyzed, and rankings are sorted by each company’s revenue.

We used to wonder who, outside of our employees and others in the industry, would care about these rankings. But for the last couple of years, the article on our blog where we revealed where Yellowstone sits on this listing has been one of our most popular posts of the year.

Obviously, it’s a tremendous honor to be included anywhere on these listings, but over the past few years, we’ve been steadily “movin’ on up” the list and, in the 2017 edition, we’re up one spot to number 12.

Why do we look forward to these listings every year?

Two reasons.

First, it tracks the growth of our industry from year to year. This year, the Top 100 companies generated $9.16 billion (yes, billion with a “b”). That’s an increase from 2016 of almost 7%. This means that customers are investing in the services we offer across the country. It means that our industry’s largest companies are healthy and growing.

Second, we care about these rankings because they give us a chance to show how far we’ve come in a relatively short time. We’re proud of the company that we’re becoming, and these listings allow us to share our progress with our employees, our customers, our colleagues, and our future Yellowstone Landscape Professionals.

More than two years ago, we laid out 5 key elements of how we track our company’s success. One of those keys is growth. So, as we continue to climb up the rankings, and especially now as we enter the top 12, there’s no doubt that we are growing. But what the listings don’t show are all the other positive changes in our company that come with growth.

In the last year, we’ve hired new employees and promoted existing team members, deserving of more responsibility. We’ve begun partnerships with dozens of new clients. We’ve renewed relationships with clients we’ve been proudly serving, some for more than a decade. We’ve expanded to new service areas and welcomed our new team members in North Carolina.

None of that shows up directly in a Top 100 listing, but those are the kinds of things that are the truest measure of why our growth is something to be proud of.

In closing, as has become our practice when these listings come out each year, we pause and say a heartfelt “Thank you” to our clients, our employees, and everyone else who’s helped us get to where we are today.

It is a great honor to be a part of such a vibrant and growing industry.

 

To see the entire 2017 list of Lawn and Landscape’s Top 100 companies in their May issue, click here.

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3 Outdoor Hazards on Your Property (And How to Prevent Them with Landscape Maintenance)

Avoiding injuries - it’s a concern property managers and owners always have in the back of their minds. Owning a commercial property ultimately means that you are liable in the event anyone gets hurt. Routine maintenance is constantly performed inside the building to ensure it is aesthetically pleasing, functional and up to code. Likewise, you want to make sure your landscape is always safe. Several hazards can appear on almost any commercial lawn, but a quick response will easily eliminate them as threats.

1. Diseased or Damaged Trees
Trees bring a lot of beauty to a landscape. However, they can also bring quite a few dangers especially after a stormy or windy day. Pay attention to how well all your trees are holding up so that you know when it is an ideal time to remove a dying one. A tree that is leaning more than 15 degrees to the side needs to be handled right away because a high gust of wind could easily knock it over. In particular, you want to pay attention to trees that are near power lines or buildings because those can result in significant property damage as well.

In addition to removing the tree, you also want to make sure you deal with the stump that is left behind. The stump should be eliminated the same time the tree is being taken down. A stump can trip someone, and it makes the perfect habitat for termites, cockroaches and other troublesome pests.

2. Debris-Ridden Walkways
Everything from parks to apartment complexes should have a walkway so that people do not have to walk across the grass to get to the building. Leaves, branches and other pieces of debris will fall onto the walkway over time, resulting in a significant hazard. Slip and fall cases are one of the most common lawsuits in the country, and you do not want anyone slipping and hurting themselves while on your commercial property.

3. Flooding and Standing Water
You want to be certain there is an efficient system in place that prevents water from pooling on your landscape. Water can make its way onto walkways, and increase the risk of someone falling. Standing water is also a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can pester guests. Keeping water away will also protect your building from any water damage.

Find exceptional landscapers who can assist you with Yellowstone Landscape. Learn more by calling 877-785-6685.

Avoiding injuries- it’s a concern property managers and owners always have in the back of their minds. Owning a commercial property ultimately means that you are liable in the event anyone gets hurt. Routine maintenance is constantly performed inside the building to ensure it is aesthetically pleasing, functional and up to code. Likewise, you want to make sure your landscape is always safe. Several hazards can appear on almost any commercial lawn, but a quick response will easily eliminate them as threats.

 

1. Diseased or Damaged Trees

 

Trees bring a lot of beauty to a landscape. However, they can also bring quite a few dangers especially after a stormy or windy day. Pay attention to how well all your trees are holding up so that you know when it is an ideal time to remove a dying one. A tree that is leaning more than 15 degrees to the side needs to be handled right away because a high gust of wind could easily knock it over. In particular, you want to pay attention to trees that are near power lines or buildings because those can result in significant property damage as well.

 

In addition to removing the tree, you also want to make sure you deal with the stump that is left behind. The stump should be eliminated the same time the tree is being taken down. A stump can trip someone, and it makes the perfect habitat for termites, cockroaches and other troublesome pests.

 

2. Debris-Ridden Walkways

 

Everything from parks to apartment complexes should have a walkway so that people do not have to walk across the grass to get to the building. Leaves, branches and other pieces of debris will fall onto the walkway over time, resulting in a significant hazard. Slip and fall cases are one of the most common lawsuits in the country, and you do not want anyone slipping and hurting themselves while on your commercial property.

 

3. Flooding and Standing Water

 

You want to be certain there is an efficient system in place that prevents water from pooling on your landscape. Water can make its way onto walkways, and increase the risk of someone falling. Standing water is also a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can pester guests. Keeping water away will also protect your building from any water damage.

 

Find exceptional landscapers who can assist you with Yellowstone Landscape. Learn more by calling 877-

785-6685.
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3 Ways Our Clients Use Landscaping to Tackle Their Toughest Challenges

When most people think about their property’s landscape, they envision colorful flowers, pruned shrubs, healthy trees, and vibrant green grass. Professionally maintained landscapes are beautiful and create a great first impression, but what else can a landscape do?

Over the past few years, some of our clients have begun to find new, practical uses for their landscapes. They use our commercial landscaping services to help solve problems that go far beyond curb appeal.  Here are 3 examples of how our clients are thinking differently about the landscaping at their properties and in their communities.

Landscape to Improve Air Quality. This first example is a practical lesson we’ve learned from some of our manufacturing clients.  These are companies that build very large, very complicated, and very precise products. Think airplanes and heavy industrial equipment.  One of their biggest challenges is controlling the quality of the air inside their enormous manufacturing facilities. They can’t risk allowing dirt and dust to get inside and contaminate their work areas. So, in addition to large, expensive air purifying systems inside the buildings, they’ve found another key to controlling particulates in the air – covering the dirt outside the buildings with grass.  This common sense solution reduces the amount of dust in the air outside, so there’s less chance of it getting into the building. This allows them to change out expensive air filters less frequently, and their industrial air purifying systems don’t have to work so hard to keep their assembly areas clean.

Landscape to Control Erosion. For communities and commercial properties with hills and slopes, dealing with erosion usually means installing a retaining wall. But retaining walls aren’t always the most aesthetically pleasing solution to the problem. For some of our clients, installing a landscape feature area is a better long-term solution to control their erosion problem.  By using a mix of ground covers, shrubs, and trees, then adding in other natural elements like boulders, we can turn an erosion control project into a property beautification project.  The key is to select a mix of plants with shallow and deep roots, to help firm up the soil.  We choose plants native to the area, and look for options that don’t require excessive amounts of water.

Landscape to Make Roads Safer. Cities and local governments are always looking for new ways to make roadways safer.  To help prevent head on crashes medians have long been used to divide opposing lanes of traffic. Today, more cities choosing to fill their medians with landscape materials, rather than metal guardrails or concrete barriers. Single rows of trees, planted uniform distances apart, offer the same protection for motorists as a guard rail or concrete wall, but add a touch of natural beauty to the asphalt roads and highways.  Similarly, adding shrubs and native grasses to medians keeps the headlights of oncoming traffic out of nighttime drivers’ eyes.

While the aesthetic value of your landscaping will probably always be your primarily concern, more of our clients are finding that their landscapes can serve some very important practical purposes, too.  Landscaping can improve air quality. It can help control erosion. And it can be used to save lives, when it makes our roadways safer.

Looking for some innovative ideas to tackle your property’s biggest challenge? You might discover the answer in your landscape. Meet your local Yellowstone Landscape Professional and let’s put your landscape to work for you.

 

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Who Really Notices Your Commercial Property’s Landscaping?

For a Commercial Property Manager, dealing with your commercial landscaping provider can be a hassle. From tenants complaining about dirt blow onto their cars, to noisy mowers and trimmers disrupting important morning meetings, commercial landscapers can have you wishing your building was somewhere in the middle of a downtown concrete jungle.

Sure, it looks nice when it’s done, but did you ever wonder who really notices your commercial property’s landscaping?

One property manager recently told us:

“I only pay attention to landscaping if it looks really good, or if it looks really bad. Everything else just kinda blends in.”

Yikes.

Is it worth all the trouble just to have someone say your landscaping “blends in”? Not to mention all the expense?

Of course not.

You deserve a landscape that gets noticed by the right people – for the right reasons.

And exactly who are the right people?

There are two kinds of people that will always notice your commercial property’s landscaping. They are the people you need to impress if you want to lease your space quickly, and keep it leased for years to come.

First, you should always make sure your prospective clients take note of your property’s landscaping.

You invest in quality commercial landscaping because you know that a great commercial property - one that’s fully leased for top dollar - starts from the second your prospective client lays eyes on your building. Your landscaping is the very first thing they will see.

If they’re looking at your listing online, the first photo is usually the exterior of the building, right? Wouldn’t it make sense to have some curb appeal to show off in the first photo of your slideshow?

If they’re driving up to your office building or retail center, it only makes sense to welcome them with a beautiful entry.

Your prospective clients are comparing yours to all the other available spaces they’re considering for their business. They’re imagining their business thriving and growing in your space. Does it fit the brand they’re trying to build?

Landscaping defines a commercial property just as dramatically as anything inside the building.

Is it upscale modern, with clean lines and intricate flower displays? Is it eco-friendly? Does it offer healthy amenities like outdoor seating for lunch breaks or walking trails around the grounds?

Prospective clients have a long list of things they need to check off before they decide to lease with you. Your landscaping can significantly impact their overall impression of your property and is often the deciding factor between yours and other similar spaces.

Once the client chooses your property, your landscaping’s work is just beginning.

The second group you need to impress, your client’s employees and customers, will also notice your commercial property’s landscaping.

Landscaping adds measurable value to retail centers. (Consumers reportedly pay up to 12% more for identical items in shopping centers with high quality landscaping.) It enhances the buyer’s perception of value and adds to the experience of buying your goods and services.

For a commercial office property, landscaping impacts the employees who work there in a number of very important ways. First, landscaping inspires creativity. Colorful flowers, manicured bright green grass, healthy trees, and manicured shrubs stimulate the mind and enhance worker performance.  Landscapes also impact the job satisfaction that employees feel. By providing employees a well maintained outdoor environment, the opinion of the employer and opinions about how the employer values their employees increases exponentially. When given a beautiful environment to work in, employees are more likely to show up and be productive every day. They take fewer sick days remain at their companies longer.

Happy, productive employees build successful companies. Those companies become highly desirable clients for commercial property managers.

So, does landscaping really matter that much to your clients and their employees?

Yes, we know it does.  We’ve had so many Property Managers tell us that by simply keeping their grounds beautiful and tidy, we’ve made their job so much easier.

They lease their spaces faster and keep their clients in those spaces once they’re leased.

No matter what type of commercial property you manage, your landscape does make an impression. Make sure it’s a good one.

 

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Secrets of an Effective HOA Landscape Maintenance Committee

HOAs.

Love them or loathe them, more than 68 million Americans now live in community associations.

Most residents (87% according to CAI) report being satisfied with the job that their association does to maintain their home’s value. However, in spite of our best efforts, the image most often associated with a monthly HOA meeting is a very vocal, very dissatisfied resident arguing with the members of the Board.

Any guesses about the topic most likely to be at the center of that argument?

Ding, ding, ding. If you said “landscaping”, you’re 100% correct.

And that’s exactly why it’s critically important that your HOA has an effective Landscape Maintenance Committee in place.

Regardless of the size of your community’s common areas, or the dollar amount of your HOA’s landscape maintenance budget, a committee formed with the sole purpose of watching over your landscape(and your commercial landscape contractor) is a huge asset to your association.

 

Structure

Landscape maintenance committees are typically assembled as a “standing” committee, meaning that they will regularly meet to handle ongoing tasks.  For a specific, landscaping-related project, especially one with a significant price tag attached to it, like a large-scale rejuvenation and replanting project, you may wish to consider forming a special “ad hoc” committee, which only exists for the duration of that project.

While landscape maintenance committees aren’t required to include a member of the elected HOA board, having an elected community leader in the group will create a more effective committee. Including a Board Member will help the committee stay within its defined responsibilities, and keep it from being pulled off task by other volunteer members coming to the group with their own agendas and aesthetic preferences.

The size of the committee can vary widely, but for even the largest communities there is rarely a need for more than 5 members in a landscape maintenance committee. Members of the committee are free to contribute as much time as their schedules allow, but the most effective committees will hold formal meetings where they discuss their findings, outside of the monthly HOA Board meeting. If volunteers can’t commit the time that will be needed, it’s best to keep the group smaller and filled with only the most engaged members.

 

Responsibilities

Your landscape maintenance committee should be created by your elected Board with an explicit purpose to execute a specific set of duties. Committees operate best when given a defined set of tasks for which they are responsible each month.  While they don’t have the authority to act without the Board’s approval, they are still very important to the association, especially when you consider that for most community associations, landscaping and grounds maintenance is the largest annually budgeted expense.

Some of the responsibilities often assigned to Landscape Committees include:

  • Creating recommendations for the Board on landscaping improvements within the community.
  • Communicating with representatives from the community’s landscape maintenance provider.
  • Inspecting the work performed by the community’s landscape maintenance provider.
  • Suggesting additions and amendments to the community’s landscape maintenance program.
  • Evaluating RFP responses, checking references, and conducting contractor interviews when selecting a new commercial landscape maintenance provider for the community.
  • Providing monthly summary updates to the Board on landscaping and grounds maintenance issues.

 

While a landscape maintenance committee doesn’t remove the ultimate responsibility for the appearance of the community’s landscape from the Board, an effective landscape committee can certainly make the Board’s job much easier.

 

For more ideas on HOA Committees, this article from First Service Residential is a great resource.

Photo image credit: Pixabay

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Not Feeling the Love from Your Landscape Contractor? Here’s How to Fix That.

Does this sound familiar to you?

“When they started, it was great. But over time, it’s like they just stopped caring. And now they’ve had so much turnover, I don’t even know who to call anymore.”


You hired a landscape company thinking it was going to be different this time. They talked a good game in the sales process, but now you’re just not feeling the love anymore.

We run into this problem all the time with prospective clients. You’ve been burned before, so your natural response is to be skeptical that we’ll be any different than the last landscape company (or the one before that... or the one before that). We understand. And you’re right to ask the question:

Six months down the road, when I’m not a new client anymore - when the sales guy has moved on to the next deal - am I still gonna be feeling the love from Yellowstone, or am I gonna be right back where I am today?

 

Here’s how we answer that:

Let’s start by acknowledging that there are a lot of reasons that a vendor-client partnership can go south: repeated service failures, personality conflicts, personnel changes, just to name a few.

But nothing is as damaging to a vendor-client partnership as when a vendor allows their client to stop feeling important.

You don’t get responses back from the vendor as quickly as you used to (or at all). Your weekly email updates stop. Your monthly property walks get rescheduled constantly. Routine preventative maintenance checks are replaced by frantic calls when something is broken.

As a client, you stop feeling important when your vendor stops communicating with you.

Because we understand that, this is how we handle our communication with our clients. We create weekly, monthly, and annual touchpoints to help measure how our clients feel about the services we’re performing for them over time.

Weekly. Every client is assigned a dedicated Account Manager. You’ll have their cell phone number and email, so you’ll always be able to reach them if you need anything. Every week your Account Manager and Branch Manager meet to discuss, in detail, everything that’s going on with your property. If there are any open issues, that’s when they’ll figure out how and when they’re going to fix them. Then they’ll relay the solution and the timeline to you. Some clients ask for formal reports each week, other prefer a short email on Friday afternoons. We tailor our communication methods to meet your schedule. What’s important is that you have the information you need. How we get that information to you is up to your personal preference.

Monthly. After the contract is signed, our salesperson doesn’t just shake your hand and run off to chase the next contract. For many clients, he or she will be in touch every month to check in and see how things are going. It might just be a phone call, a quick meeting in your office, or a lunch – whatever works best for your schedule. We want to make sure that our service teams are doing the things that were promised, and if we start to slip in any area, we want you to know that we’ll do all we can to make it right, as quickly as possible.

Annually. We send out a brief, but insightful survey to all of our clients every year. Our corporate Client Services team will send you a link to an online survey to measure how happy you are with our services. When all the responses are in, our company President and the entire Executive Team dedicate time to review every single response. If they see anything in your survey that tells them we’ve got an unhappy customer, they’ll be on the phone immediately with your Account Manager and their Branch Manager to see that it gets resolved.

So, if you currently find yourself not feeling appreciated by your current landscape contractor, start by defining a clear communication schedule. Bringing back that loving feeling may not be as simple as setting a recurring event on your calendar, but it’s a good start.

 

We began a recent post with the quote, “Consistently Communicate that you are Competent and you Care.” When your vendor starts their service philosophy from this mindset, it’s much easier to believe them when they say they’re going to be different than your last vendor, or the one before that.

If you’re ready for a competent, caring landscape partner, schedule a meeting with your local Yellowstone Landscape Professional. We’d love to meet you.

 

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Landscaping and Brand Image - What Is Your Curb Appeal Saying to Potential Customers?

Curb appeal is important for any business. Whether you have an apartment complex, office building or a public institution, you want to convey the right image to everyone driving by.

You don’t want people to steer clear of your organization because your landscape has fallen into a state of disarray. Consider what an outsider would think of your building just from looking at the surrounding property. Is it eye-catching? Is it representative of your business standards?

Following are some questions to consider when it comes to your office’s curb appeal.

What is Our “Personality”?

Many business owners have difficulty figuring out what kind of aesthetic they should go with for their property’s landscape. An easy place to start is with your company culture. A whimsical company may consider something outside the box and colorful. A more traditional firm might go for something clean cut and neutral. Whatever your culture, understand that a messy, unstructured landscape might inadvertently convey a lack of quality control to others.

Have You Considered Outdoor Meeting Areas?

Some businesses need to be straightforward and conduct all business inside. However, you should think about whether your company could benefit from some outdoor seating areas. Office buildings can promote a renewing lunch break for their employees by including some tables amongst shaded foliage. Corporate properties can welcome clients and guests with meeting spots on patios and in courtyards. Some other amenities to consider include umbrellas for shade and decorative fountains.

Does Your Landscape Work With or Against Signage?

While a properly maintained landscape is important, it is also vital that potential customers are able to see your business’s sign. It is possible to find plants that work well to complement any signage. Placing a sign in a flower bed delivers a bright and vibrant first impression for your company. Remember, you want the landscaping around your sign to be well maintained and not overgrown.

What’s Good for the Entire Year?

You don’t want the front of your property to only be attractive for half the year. You want something that is going to be manageable all year round. This means employing the proper maintenance practices for the season you’re in. For example, in cold weather, ensuring all your walkways are kept free of ice. A reliable landscape provider will offer a maintenance schedule that meets your needs in every season.
Every square foot of your property is a chance to create a positive impression for your business.

Yellowstone Landscape can help you achieve the perfect aesthetic to fit your business needs. Contact our team by calling 407.512.5714 today.

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CORPORATE OFFICES

3235 North State Street
PO Box 849

Bunnell, FL 32110
877.785.6685

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