A ground maintenance firm is flourishing after going into battle to combat the threat of “alien invaders”.
As in other parts of the UK, invasive species like Himalayan Balsom and Japanese Knotweed are wreaking havoc across North Wales.
But Greengrass Services Ltd, based in Dyserth, near Prestatyn, are coming to the rescue of customers throughout the region.
Their work in destroying the imported horticultural menaces is part of a growing portfolio of services by the company founded by local entrepreneur Nathan Billington, 39, some 14 years ago.
In addition, they have secured valuable long-term contracts with the likes of North Wales Police, the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the housing association, Cymdeithas Tai Clwyd
According to Mr Billington, the advice and practical help they had received from Welsh Assembly Government’s Regional Centre Service had been a crucial element in the company’s growth.
Mr Billington said: “The assistance has been coordinated by Business Support Manager Richard Seller who has been absolutely fantastic.
“We want to be sure that we are doing everything properly so it has been immensely helpful in terms of business advice and navigating the potential minefield of employment law.
“Most small and medium enterprises don’t have that kind of expertise on tap and the assistance provided by the Regional Centre Service is free of charge.
“As a result we have also been able to design bespoke health and safety, environmental and equality policies.”
Richard Seller added: “They want to do things the right way, the staff are loyal and they want to develop team leaders.
“I have enjoyed working with them and it is extremely satisfying to see the company flourish and grow in what has been a difficult period for the economy.
“We are currently helping them apply for a Local Investment Fund Grant of £10,000 towards new machinery which will allow them to secure even bigger contracts and improve productivity.”
Established in 1997, Greengrass employs six permanent staff and will be taking on several seasonal workers in the Spring.
They are on course to reach a target set in 2007 to double the size of the business by the end of this financial year.
Nathan recalled: “When I started it was basically mowing people’s lawns, doing gardens and ground maintenance in and around Rhyl and Prestatyn.
“We now specialise in a number of areas – domestic and commercial grounds maintenance, tree work and dealing with invasive species like Himalayan Balsom and Japanese Knotweed.
“Since 2009 we are responsible for the entire Tai Clwyd Housing Association estate which includes 79 sites which we visit every two weeks for nine months of the year.
“We’ve also got a contract with North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and we do all 48 of their sites. In addition, we do around 20 of North Wales Police’s sites.
“In the main, they are three year contracts so that gives you confidence to invest in new machinery which in turn has enabled us to have a period of three years of continuous growth.
“We have to keep looking for more grounds maintenance contracts, for more customers to serve because that’s the only way we can plan the growth of the company.
“So far, so good. We get recommended by our clients all the time and we have just grown and grown. Customers appreciate the quality of the work that we do and our aim is to build on this momentum.”
Small businesses requiring assistance should contact the Welsh Assembly Government Regional Centre Service on 03000 6 03000 or visit www.business.wales.gov.uk. For more information about Greengrass Services go to www.greengrassservices.co.uk or ring 01745 571712.