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Conserva Irrigation Sees Potential in Leaky Pipes


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Making the pitch that growing Conserva Irrigation is job one after divesting Mosquito Squad, Outdoor Living Brands CEO Chris Grandpre said he sees massive potential in servicing irrigation systems in a world of growing water restrictions and costs.

Having seen the OLB headquarters and leadership team up close in a previous visit to its headquarters in Richmond, Virginia, I’m inclined to believe Grandpre’s take on the irrigation segment that is largely served by independent contractors that don’t specialize in the category.

“Ninety-nine point nine percent are one guy in a truck, no website and probably with a magnetic sign on the side of his truck,” Grandpre said of the irrigation business, which hasn’t previously had a national, professional brand leading the way.

With Americans generally becoming more environmentally conscious in recent years, Grandpre said part of Conserva’s opportunity is helping large corporations like Target—a long-time partner of Conserva—to view water costs as an ongoing expense that can be trimmed while reducing its strain on aquifers and stormwater treatment facilities.

“Sixty percent of the water we use is used outside,” he added, showing a chart that estimates the biggest sources of water use in the U.S. “We’re wasting water, so our thesis coming into this industry sector is create a professional player.”

By focusing on proactive maintenance, replacement of inefficient irrigation equipment and the constant situations that damage said equipment—be it a lawnmower, snowblower or wild kiddo—Conserva’s main point of differentiation is showing property owners that outdoor landscapes can remain lush while using a fraction of water that traditional, leaky systems waste.

So far the saved gallons and dollars are adding up at Outdoor Living Brands, with Conserva hitting approximately 65 units at the end of last year—and already approaching 90 during the first half of this year.

Looking to add significant scale across the country, Conserva’s partnerships with national retailers like Target present significant opportunities to move the needle through brands that are putting a higher focus on environmental sustainability.

With water shortages and increasing municipal restrictions on water use, Conserva’s business plan is solid whether you approach the space through the lens of environmental stewardship or purely as a means for saving money through wasted water.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
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