BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Toro has acquired certain utility and underground product assets of Astec Underground.
DURHAM, N.C. – Finding a niche and looking forward – that’s what has been successful for Hoffman Nursery. With the motto, “We grow good grass,” this wholesale nursery focuses on growing ornamental and native grasses for the wholesale trade. The North Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association (NCNLA) recently recognized Hoffman Nursery by naming it Grower of the Year for 2011.
"NCNLA is proud to present the 2011 Grower of the Year Award to Hoffman Nursery in recognition of more than 25 years of premium plant development and its expanded production facility," said Ross Williams, NCNLA executive director. "The award also recognizes Hoffman's active support of horticultural research, environmental stewardship, and community service."
The Grower of the Year is an NCNLA member that exhibits a high level of professionalism in the management or ownership of a field or container nursery in North Carolina (or other states where that operation may be located). In addition, the Grower of the Year exhibits leadership in the nursery industry through participation in local, regional, state, and national organizations.
John and Jill Hoffman started Hoffman Nursery in 1986 on 45 acres in rural Durham County. Specializing in ornamental and native grasses liners, they ship to wholesale customers all across North America. With the increased popularity of grasses, the nursery has expanded to include a production facility with automated mixing and potting equipment and over 60 cold frames and hot houses. While their focus is on producing premium plants to fill this niche, Hoffman Nursery has a broader vision to actively support horticultural research, environmental stewardship, and community service.
To improve horticultural practices, the Nursery collaborates with several researchers from N.C. State. Current projects include working to find safer and better pesticides for containerized grasses, developing a Miscanthus that won’t self-sow, and searching for more effective ways to use beneficial insects. They also run an active trial program and partner with public institutions to test the grasses in a range of environments.
In their operations, Hoffman Nursery tries to reduce resource use and minimize their impact on the environment. They use best management practices such as micro irrigation in the houses and cover crops on stock fields. They handle all stormwater on site with a series of bioretention basins and bioswales. In addition, they practice integrated pest management and continually seek ways to reduce pesticide use. Their horticultural and community connections are also important to the staff. The nursery hosts student groups and donates plants and time to community projects. These connections, as well as those with the research community, keep the staff current and build their expertise.
Realtor Nick Galiano wanted to create a downloadable application that would let clients browse his firm’s home listings from mobile phones. Professional software developers wanted him to cough up $30,000 for a trio of apps for Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone, Research In Motion’s (RIMM) BlackBerry, and devices using Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system. Then he found Appsbar, a Deerfield Beach (Fla.)-based company that builds apps at no charge, seeking instead to make money from advertising placed inside the apps.
“It’s amazing how you can create something in a couple of hours that would have taken a company $10,000 and six to eight weeks to develop,” says Galiano, who built the app for his Metairie La.-based company using the Appsbar website.
Small business owners eager to create mobile apps, whether to market services to customers or improve internal productivity, are finding a growing array of alternatives to hiring professional programmers. Aside from Appsbar, the list also features such companies as MyAppBuilder, AppBreeder, AppsGeyser, Mobile Roadie, and Socialize, which makes the AppMakr tool.
Appsbar Founder Scott Hirsch says he got the idea to start his company while running another business, when he was shocked to discover how expensive apps were and how long they took to develop. “I thought, ‘this is ridiculous,’” he says. To have a custom app developed could cost anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 and take six weeks to 12 weeks, he says.
Appsbar mainly caters to small and midsized businesses such as bars, gyms, banks, event planners, and accounting firms. The service has amassed 60,000 users since it began in April 2011. While Appsbar doesn’t charge fees, clients must agree to let the company place ads inside apps available through online bazaars, such as Apple’s App Store. “Apps are the fastest growing thing in the history of consumer products,” Hirsch says.
“Everyone is impressed by how fast it’s growing and I think it’s just starting.”
For the rest of the article, click here.
Signature Control Systems Inc (“Signature”) launched a new online store “SCS Shop” thus allowing USA based customers to purchase a variety of irrigation products and services direct from Signature.
“With the changing business climate and current economic challenges facing the industry today, our company plans to bring its wide variety of high quality products closer to our end-users and to expand its reach to new end-users and thus expanding the reach of products and services via the ease of purchase over the internet” said Curt Schaubel, vice president.
This announcement coincides with Signature’s previously announced Dealer Expansion Strategy. “Without disclosing any of our strategies, those of our end-users we included in this planning, welcomed and supported the idea, particularly knowing that Signature’s core technology and intellectual property products would still be sold via authorized Signature Dealers.”
Signature sells its products and services globally via a growing list of dealers. “In addition to buying from our 500-plus Dealer locations, the SCS Shop will allow our end-user clients an alternative purchase point, along with the ability to research products to best fit their specific local needs” added Schaubel.
In conjunction with this announcement, the new SCS Shop will also start to highlight and bring into more focus the daily Signature Weather email and the Signature ET data. “Our customers and irrigation professionals can stay current with their weather forecast and together with the Signature ET download, all Signature controllers connected to the network continue to irrigate in accordance with the weather changes.” continued Schaubel.
Ariens Co. introduced a new program at The Rental Show (annual convention of the American Rental Association) on Feb. 5-8, 2012 in New Orleans aimed at the rental equipment industry. The program includes a full line of products and related accessories for snow removal, mowing, chore and debris handling offered under the Ariens and Parker brands.
“Ariens Company meets the multiple seasonal needs of the rental business with a very broad equipment offering. This line-up provides residential and semi-professional landscape contracting customers with products and brands that are backed by more than 75-years of heritage in the power equipment industry,” says Dan Ariens, Company President. “The chore product offering, in particular, provides a unique value proposition leveraging our strengths in building durable, all-steel, quality equipment as defined by our market-leading Sno-Thro® brand.”
Ariens and Parker products are designed, fabricated, assembled and tested at manufacturing facilities in Brillion, Wis., Lincoln, Neb. and Opp, Ala. As an integrated manufacturer, Ariens Company produces nearly all the metal components in its line of equipment in order to maintain quality and cost of the product, according to Ariens.
The Ariens brand is currently available in North America through The Home Depot,
W.W. Grainger, MSC and independent power equipment dealers. The Parker brand is available through Grainger and MSC.
The Ariens Co. rental program offers the following product categories:
Snow Removal Equipment and Accessories
Mowing Equipment and Accessories
Chore Equipment and Accessories
Debris Handling Equipment and Accessories
Utility Vehicles and Accessories