A grocery store usually doesn’t get their milk from a cow, nor does a clothing company buy a tee-shirt directly from a cotton farmer. Landscapers too have suppliers who provide the materials we work with. One aspect of the landscape field most homeowners may not know a lot about is where the professionals go to find the products we offer. We are proud to work with our suppliers where we are able to benefit from the service that we are then able to pass on to our clients. Graciously, one of the sales personnel, Crystal Novy with Aspen Valley Landscape Supply answered a few of my questions to help shed some light on the relationship between a landscaper and their suppliers.
Simplescaping: What unique perspective can the landscape supplier offer their clients?
Crystal: We try to service our customers to the same standards their clients expect from them. Quality materials, timely delivery of product and the design support behind it. We help our clients with everything from creative design to helping turn their vision into an affordable reality. It is all about the people and the relationships. Our customers are loyal to us as we are to them.
Simplescaping: What is your favorite type of material to work with and why?
Crystal: That is a tough one! I love working with all our products (depending on the situation). Valders is amazing as it gives you absolute creative freedom. There is nothing that they can’t produce. If you have a vision they make it happen. Bluestone is just beautiful and my personal favorite aesthetically. Then there is Belgard – the support from Belgard is amazing and their product is top quality. They carry the same beliefs in servicing the customer which is the core value in our company.
Above is the Aspen Valley yard in Elgin, IL full of brick, stone, retaining wall, drainage, and more.
Simplescaping: What is a common question you are asked by contractors?
Crystal: Measuring questions are the most common. We help contractors from start to finish and we have more of a value to the contractor when we can help them figure the project.
Simplescaping: How do you develop your relationship with contractors?
Crystal: Listen. First and foremost I try to listen to exactly what they need and are looking for in a supplier. Listening to what they need allows us to tailor our service to that specific customer. Relationships develop over time once they see that we follow through, stand behind our product and come through in the eleventh hour (which happens a lot in our industry!)
Inside the sales office of Aspen Valley, contractors line up for help. I find myself at Aspen Valley several times a month to check out material in the yard.
Simplescaping: What is your favorite project you’ve worked on and why?
Crystal: My favorite projects would have to be the ones where I am personally involved in helping the contractor/homeowner with their product/color choices. Knowing that they arrive at Aspen Valley feeling overwhelmed with choices and leave knowing exactly what they want is very gratifying.
Simplescaping: What tools do you provide to contractors to help them with their clients?
Crystal: We provide our contractors with samples, literature, and as many training seminars as we can. Whether it be for brick paving, sealing, pond building or installing landscape lighting. We try to offer the contractor the tools to succeed. Contractors often send their clients to our locations to help in the decision processes and we happily meet with them to give them the direction they need in making color and product choices. We also help the contractors in estimating their jobs, making templates for custom natural stone, etc.
Above is an extensive display of products to check out at the Aspen Valley yard. I usually try to help a client narrow down some selections because the sheer amount can be overwelming. For a client that needs to see a product in a large quantity, paver displays can be helpful.
Simplescaping: How do you decide what types of products to offer?
Crystal: We tailor our product lines to our customer’s needs. If we see that there is a demand for an item or product within our industry, we do our best to add it to our product lines.
Simplescaping: What makes you unique to other suppliers?
Crystal: We have no fees for stock item returns, no section fees and we have no pallet deposits on brick/stone products. We understand that time is money and if they are short they lose a laborer picking up more products. We would rather have them bring more to the job and stay until completed. Once finished return the unused product for full credit onto their account, whether it is one paver or 50 square feet, there are no questions asked.
Simplescaping: What other jobs in the landscape industry have you held?
Crystal: I am fortunate enough to say that Aspen Valley has been my first and only job in the landscape industry that I have held. I am in my fifth year with Aspen and I could not ask to work for a better company. I have had extensive training in all product lines and have cross-trained in multiple positions within our company.