Meet your merchant: Weiss Landscaping, BP Landscape join forces
Weiss Landscaping and Design
402 Lower Grass Valley Road, Nevada City
The friendship between Brian Coalson and Adam Weiss goes way, way back. In fact, their parents even planned to have kids at the same time so the two Nevada County boys would grow up together.
By the time they hit middle school, the duo had already established a tight partnership and they launched their first business venture: fleece hats.
It didn’t exactly pan out.
When the two went on to become roommates at California Polytechnic State University, their next business proposal was a little more edgy: cowboy hats with flames. That didn’t exactly take off either.
Once they graduated from college — Brian in history, and Adam in art and economics — their interests took them in separate directions. Brian went on to get his teaching credential and became a local teacher and coach. Adam, who had grown up working in his family’s nursery, Weiss Brothers Nursery, spent a year learning the art of stone masonry, then landed a job as technician for Autometrix, a small Grass Valley company. Although Adam’s job eventually took him all over the world, he longed to be home with his new family.
With the knowledge he had amassed from years of working at his family’s successful business, his next venture seemed like a no-brainer.
“Throughout high school and into college I had made money doing landscape maintenance,” said Adam. “I knew I could build a business around that, especially with recommendations from the nursery.”
With that, Adam called up Brian and asked him if he wanted to be his business partner. With school enrollment in decline, the future of Brian’s teaching position was uncertain, so he opted to take the plunge.
“I loved the idea of working with my best friend, even though nine out of 10 people warned against it,” said Brian, with a laugh. “I told him I’d try it for a year.”
With the dream of building a business that would endure, the two said they were very purposeful and meticulous when it came to developing a business plan. They sought out longtime business owners in the community and asked them for advice when building a business that could weather the fluctuating economy.
In July of 2007, the two officially launched Weiss Landscaping Inc., and landed their first installation job at Morgan Ranch.
“I got some colored pencils from a kids’ store and drew up designs,” said Adam. “We were working on a shoestring budget, and I showed up with my drawings.”
Brian and Adam put their hearts into their first job, which included installing concrete, wood and stone.
“We worked hard and delivered — the customers loved it,” said Brian. “Their neighbors liked what we did and hired us for our next job. It just took off from there. We never had a problem finding the work, the challenge was managing the work — in the beginning we didn’t have the support staff we needed.”
Although the business began to grow and solidify over the next few years, Adam and Brian kept a close eye on their competition. One company in particular stood out — BP Landscapes — a large, well-known and respected business that had been around since 1990. Although it had been established 17 years earlier, it had also started the same way — with young friends working hard and teaching themselves the business. As with Weiss Landscaping, skill and a strong work ethic had also been the key to its success. By 2007, Bob Zucca was solely at the helm of BP, overseeing more than 20 employees.
“We always saw BP as the company to aim for — they set the bar high,” said Brian. “We sometimes bid on the same projects, but it was always with integrity. Even though we were competitors we trusted and respected each other.”
Then one night at a Nevada Irrigation District meeting, something interesting happened. NID was looking for local contractors to take on a massive job involving the Banner-Cascade pipeline — it included irrigation, fencing and planting upwards of 1,500 trees. They suggested that Weiss Landscaping and BP Landscapes team up on the job.
“It was a huge project and I had always respected the guys at Weiss Landscaping,” said Bob. “We trusted each other’s integrity from the gate.”
The joint project worked so well that eventually the two companies began gradually working toward a merge. In August 2014, it became official.
“The merge was built on trust,” said Bob. “Because of that, things went very smoothly. We were two businesses that had been very busy for quite some time. When we came together, the different aspects of the two businesses were one big complement. As far as our responsibilities go, we’re like the Olympic rings — all things overlap. Today we absolutely have the finest group of employees — a team of the ages. Some have been with us almost 20 years. We’ve got incredible teamwork and camaraderie.”
Today, operating under the name of Weiss Landscaping, the company has a staff of roughly 35 and has recently moved into a new office — an old Victorian house on Lower Grass Valley Road adjacent to Robinson Enterprises. The new property is large enough to house its 16 trucks and 20 trailers. They are also in the process of building a new workshop. They host an employee barbecue once a month on the property.
The merging of the two companies’ resources, expertise, staff and equipment has enabled them to expand and enhance their services, said Brian. They work closely with award-winning landscape designers and architects.
Services include residential and commercial landscape installation, as well as residential and commercial maintenance.
With a long history in the business, they know which landscape products are enduring and of high quality, said Bob. In addition, their installation practices are forward-thinking; for example, drip lines are secured, valve boxes are clean, wires are organized, shutoff valves are handy and timers are labeled — all in order to streamline future and ongoing maintenance.
“We’re really ahead of the curve when it comes to water-wise landscaping,” said Bob. “People are rethinking their yards, and with our technology, some people are able to knock hundreds of dollars a month off their water bill. This is an example of why we’re getting so many jobs — we’re even looking to hire more people.”
Having set out to build a business that would last, Brian says he’s confident the team has reached their goal and more. The merging of the two businesses now appears to be greater than the sum of their individual parts.
“People warned us about working with friends, but every time my alarm clock goes off I’m excited to go to work,” said Brian. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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