Because of the support of generous vendors, Stephen Mazelis can take on significant charity landscape projects. “Good people attract good people,” says the owner of Mazelis Landscape Contracting Corp. in Nesconset, N.Y., quoting the executive direct of the chamber of commerce, who said this to Mazelis when he told her, “I can’t comprehend how everyone has come together and was willing to give me discounts (on materials).”
Mazelis organizes the landscape projects, rallies the labor, supervises the progress and ensures that the project is executed from beginning to end. But he also partners with suppliers who provide him materials at no or very low cost, and this is what ultimately makes the project happen. Without these gifts, Mazelis would be taking on a much more significant financial burden in a tough economy.
The key is to develop lasting, personal relationships with suppliers. And, it’s important to align with suppliers that share your vision. Finally, focus on building a friendship – that’s ultimately what will preserve a long-term vendor relationship, Mazelis says.
- Buy local. Mazelis looks close to home and develops partnerships with independent businesses whose owners are hands-on and customer-focused. “I try to use smaller, more local nurseries as opposed to bigger operations because then you are really dealing with the owner, who is on site on a daily basis,” Mazelis says.
- Get personal. Meet up at the golf course. Go out to dinner. Ask about the family. Do more than business. “Over time, we get to know our suppliers better this way,” Mazelis says.
- Give credit. Go ahead and drop names. Mazelis is sure to mention suppliers that have stuck with his business throughout the years and support his charity efforts.
This is one of three stories that ran in Lawn & Landscape's Business Builder e-newsletter. To continue reading about Mazelis Landscape Contracting Corp.:
Community spirit: Stephen Mazelis focuses on paying it forward. His mission has made an impact on the community where he lives and works.
Keeping customers content: Here is how Stephen Mazelis ensures customers are treated right.