With 40 years of industry excellence under their belt, the team at Speciality Trees is celebrating past successes and looking to embrace future opportunities as the business continues to grow.
This year marks Speciality Trees’ 40th year in operation. This is a significant milestone in the eyes of those who have been party to the company's growth and survival over the years. It all came about in 1977 when founding owner and visionary Ernie Linton investigated and introduced new techniques for the container growing and transplanting of advanced Eucalpyts. Along with speculative trees sales, he had secured a contract growing opportunity for a major Melbourne shopping centre, and the start of an area of the business that continues to grow today.
Through the years that followed Ernie, the Kuiper and Rothfield families continued his legacy expanding the range and depth of quality grown material offered to the landscaping industry in containers and bags. Even the devastating fires of 1983 and the one in three-hundred-year hail storm of 2010 couldn’t stop the business; a testament to the owners and managers at the time.
“Along with quality, resilience is another important concept that drives the business,” says Hamish Mitchell, current owner and Managing Director of Speciality Trees. “We haven’t seen Ernie’s ghost for a while at the house - that’s another interesting story - but I think he’d be pretty happy with our progress.”
Under Hamish’s guidance and vision since 2007, the company has stepped up again, with the purchase of more land and innovative machinery to drive productivity. “We are all about having quality material and clever processes employed in the business to produce trees that are more resilient in the landscape,” Hamish says. “It is a vital concept to understand as through every initiative, from training and talks to industry groups, representation on committees and working groups and in conversations with developers, landscapers and councils, offering trees with the ability to adapt to its conditions and to last for generations is paramount to our business now and a tree’s survival beyond the next 40 years.”
“We have encountered hardships through our time but with solid planning and great staff we have been able to overcome this adversity and grow,” says Hamish. Now with 40 years behind them, the focus is very much on the future. “We joke about changing the world one tree at a time, but for us it is that simple. When the world understands the role that trees play in their lives, then all of us in this industry will benefit from increased exposure, profit and turnover.”
Those closest to the business know that Hamish is passionately focused on growing the company by supporting the team’s development and implementation of industry best practice methods. Spend some time with him and his team and you will notice that conversation quickly turns from growing and supplying great trees to this higher goal of bettering the community and making the world a better place.
“As for climate change it is here, so we all need to adjust what we grow and how we grow it to be a viable business in the long term. We want to embrace the opportunities that come with this shift. Trees have never been viewed with this level of importance and the nursery industry is at the forefront of tremendous opportunity.”
Speciality Trees has been an active participant in industry forums over the years, giving up many hours of time supplying material into MIFGS, supporting Tree & Shrub Growers, AILA, AILDM, Landscaping Victoria and representing NGIV, NGIA, HIA and the greater green industry on issues that face the industry but also those that have the potential to shape it into the future. And right there is their mindset. It is more than survival but one of sharing prosperity with a bigger and broader market for all those willing to pull together to make it happen.
“In 1997, on our 20th anniversary we received NIASA accreditation followed up by EcoHort certification in 2008. This is super important when it comes to being a quality nursery. What will we tick off in our 40th year? A recognition and appreciation of hard work is great, but the laying of solid plans for growth beyond 2050 would be fabulous,” says Hamish.
Speciality Trees will take some time out in the next few months to recognise their 40th anniversary.
For further information about the Specialty Tree services and products contact Lee-Ann on email@example.com OR 03 9796 8308.