Today we’d like to introduce you to Tracey Price.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
After 9/11, businesses along Swarthmore Avenue in Pacific Palisades decorated their storefronts in red, white and blue for the holidays. Yet, they left their planter spaces empty, save for a random cigarette butt or Baskin Robbins spoon. I approached the business owners, offered to landscape their planters and extend the patriotic theme for maximum curb appeal. A business was born.
My husband, David Price, and I founded American Growers Company in 2001. High school sweethearts, we are both born and raised in Pacific Palisades. David received his horticulture and agronomy degree while I studied apparel design. We melded our two passions into a landscape business.
The scope of projects continued to increase and we just never said, “No.” Our business grew from front yards to entire estates, orchards, community schools and parks. Our services include architectural plans, renderings, hardscape, pools, pergolas, and outdoor kitchens. We take landscape from initial design to install and maintenance. We also offer a seasonal spruce-up service, where we prune, fertilize, and adjust the irrigation as the seasons change. We even customize holiday decor so your home looks just as festive outside as it does inside.
As the scope of projects increased, in 2006 we partnered with American Landscape Inc. and American Heritage Landscape. These two commercial divisions work on the city/county/hospitals/hotels/museum contracts, even stadiums and amusement parks. We recently completed Dodger Stadium, The Natural History Museum, UCLA Hospital, and the Jurassic World ride at Universal Studios. We pride ourselves in the investment of infrastructure for our great City of Los Angeles to preserve the legacy of our communities for the future, creating spaces for generations to come together and connect. Beautifying these iconic landmarks brings us great joy.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My best advice, “Be Nice!” It gets you so so far! Many years ago, a local nursery always gave me the grumpiest service, if I got any service at all. They would tell me one price, then my foreman would call a few minutes later and be told a lower price. I totally called them out in a very nice way and said I deserve the same price as anyone else. In fact, if they want more of my business, they should offer me an even lower price. They have now remodeled their nursery and purchased two new delivery trucks. I joke with them that my business provided the opportunity for them to expand and improve! I also bring doughnuts, cookies, lunches for crews; a thoughtful regard goes a long way and the benefits are exponential.
I have also learned to not give away too many design ideas before a contract has been signed. Unfortunately, at times I have been too forthcoming and homeowners have taken my concepts and attempted them with someone else. It really stings to see your design ideas on Instagram, performed by someone else. I try to be gracious, but sometimes I have to tell a potential client, “I am more than happy to provide that information once a contract is signed.”
“Always know your customer.” This old adage my mother shared with me many moons ago. If a client seems to be super particular, I will order sample plants and ask the client to approve on site before I place the entire landscape order. Then, I document with photos, bonus points if there is a sliver of the client in the photo. I had one client refuse our install, stating the plants were too small and not what she picked out. I had a photo of the actual plants on the cart at the nursery, with a sliver of the client’s purse in the photo. I then had proof these plants were exactly what she had selected and I would not eat the cost for the products. He lawyer husband wanted to fight me on it too, yet, I had the photo! I probably over-document but that’s okay, I can delete these files when I’m very old… but not until then!
As you know, we’re big fans of American Growers Company. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Our goal is to design, install, manage, and maintain the finest quality landscapes unique to Southern California. We pride ourselves on our commitment to superior customer service, respect for the environment, and dedication to our surrounding communities. We draw plans for an outdoor space that is an extension of the homes architecture and the homeowner’s lifestyle. American Growers Company works with our clients from the initial design consultation to the monthly maintenance of a complete landscape.
When we named our company “American GROWERS Company,” I did not realize we would actually be welcomed into family’s homes and GROW with them through the decades. We consider it an honor to be called back to reimagine a space for a growing family. For example, one client with very small children swore they would never want a pool, too dangerous. They wanted a custom treehouse, swings, raised veggie beds and a water-play table. Ten years later, they called us back to design and install a pool, spa, pool house and fire pit with outdoor TV for their teens to enjoy.
Getting involved and giving back always proves beneficial. We host community clean-ups and partner with local organizations to improve dilapidated parks, team building to raise money for cancer research. After installing the Palisades Village, American Landscape partnered with Caruso and local restaurant Porta Via to crowd-fund the renovation of Fire Station 69 in Pacific Palisades. We raised over $65,000 towards water-efficient landscape, automated irrigation, and low-maintenance curb appeal. We are beyond grateful for the opportunity to landscape our alma mater, Palisades High School, and raise money for new signage too. Los Angeles remains a very tight-knit community if you put yourself out there to benefit the greater good.
Our motto is “Only Positive Solutions.” How can we resolve an issue so it is a win-win for all parties involved?
Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
We are grateful to be deemed an ‘Essential Business” during Covid-19. The shift happened very quickly, we had to handle many logistics including sourcing scarce PPE, distributing technology to work remotely, and tracking productivity. We are now experiencing industry-wide shortages and inflation on materials; everything from citrus to lumber can be extremely challenging to find and we anticipate price increases from 200-300% over last year. These will be the lingering and ongoing effects of the shut down. Yet, the real estate market has stayed strong. Many clients realize that Italian Villa and African Safari will not be happening any time soon, so they may as well invest in their homes and realize their increased property values! It has been a blessing to create spaces for clients to stay safe, stay together, and enjoy family time in their own beautiful and relaxing retreat.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.americangrowersco.com
- Instagram: @americangrowersco
- Facebook: American Growers Company
Caitlin Atkinson Chad Smith