Accent Landscape in El Paso becomes fully employee-owned

Apis & Heritage Capital Partners helped with the conversion.

El Paso-based Accent Landscape Contractors is now a fully employee-owned enterprise. 

Apis & Heritage Capital Partners recently converted both Accent and Apex Plumbing in Denver to employee-owned businesses.

"We're immensely proud to announce these groundbreaking partnerships with Apex Plumbing and Accent Landscape Contractors. Not only will they preserve jobs and generate wealth for the employees, but they will also help to ensure the long-term sustainability of these great businesses in their communities," said Todd Leverette, A&H founding partner. "We're grateful to all of our partners, including Democracy at Work Institute and The Rockefeller Foundation, as well as visionary owners, Brian and DeAnn Wilkie of Apex Plumbing and Cameron Stevens of Accent Landscape Contractors, for sharing our vision of increasing economic equity and entrusting our fund with helping their employees to own their future."

"I could have sold my business to a competitor or private equity, but I know what can happen next – the culture changes and people get laid off. I didn't want that for my employees. They are like family to me, and they helped build the company," said Cameron Stevens, founder and owner of Accent Landscape Contractors. "A&H offered me a fair market price, did not require me to carry a large seller's note, cut through all of the red tape, and showed me throughout the process that my workers were going to be able to carry Accent forward. I'd like to express my gratitude to A&H and their investment partners for making this transition to employee ownership possible." 

A&H finds businesses with large workforces of color where the owner is ready to retire and provides financing and technical support to convert the companies into 100% employee-owned businesses.

"Closing the racial wealth gap is why we created A&H," said Phil Reeves, A&H founding partner. "Today, over 40% of all Americans surveyed report they could not easily pay an unexpected $400 medical bill while about 2/3 of Black and Latino workers retire with no savings. Whereas, the average employee in an employee-owned business in the US nearing retirement has $147,000 in his or her ESOP account, which we think will be transformative for our workers, their families, and their communities."