There’s something to be said for doing business with companies that share your values. Just ask Rob Palmer, owner of Weed Pro, an Ohio-based lawn care firm with clients ranging from residential and commercial, to cities and schools. Their services cover fertilization to seed control, aerations, and athletic field management.

In fall 2000, Palmer attended the Industry Green Conference in Indianapolis, where he sat in on a marketing session for lawn care businesses that inspired him to start his own business a year later. He and his wife left their careers to start Weed Pro in Cleveland.

When the business began, Advanced Turf Solutions didn’t do business in Cleveland, but Palmer and Dave Winter, an Ohio based sales representative of ATS, were on the Ohio State Lawn Care Association board together.

Winter shared with Rob the structure and philosophy of Alex Cannon and ATS. Palmer, who at the time was doing business with big-box suppliers, really liked that the people at ATS all had a stake in the business. As Palmer tells it, “Maybe they were more motivated to make themselves successful more than the other guys, the 800-pound gorillas.”

It was a sentiment Palmer identified with as a small business owner who had invested everything he had in his own success. For Palmer, working with people intent on meeting customers’ needs and providing above-and-beyond customer service was about convenience and costs.

“Being a small company and working with a small company, the values were similar. I felt like it would be much more likely for us to get our return on investment dealing with Advanced Turf Solutions.”

As soon as Advanced Turf Solutions opened a location in Ohio, Palmer became one of their first clients. Although the location was in Columbus, not Cleveland, Palmer worked with his sales representative Sam Weil who made the distance a non-issue.

“The companies I was buying from in large quantities had a lot of bureaucracy. It was difficult to get a price. ATS is a company that isn’t built with layers of overhead. It doesn’t cost the products to be too high or their service to be too slow,” Palmer says.

Though Palmer was initially impressed by ATS’s convenience, his loyalty stems from their engaged commitment to helping his business grow. He credits his Cleveland representative Sam Weil and Dan, his Columbus representative, with consistently going above and beyond.

“Their sales folks are career-oriented people who have real work experience or who have studied agronomics in college, making them more knowledgeable than a lot of the other guys. And you can’t put a price on that.”

Recently, Palmer has started selling to a nursery with 800 acres of trees that has had some insect issues. Sam, who used to spray trees before he was working for ATS, has been out to that nursery with Rob a couple of times to consult on the solution.

“I couldn’t do it without someone with that agronomic experience from his own hands-on, real-time experience,” Palmer says. “There was no immediate sale in it for Sam, but by helping us on that end with our customer, it opened up business opportunities for me.”

For Palmer that is what keeps him coming back to ATS. “Helping me get that win, get that victory—if they help us grow our business, they become my partner.”