This is the speech by our head gardener / general manager Michael Chudy for our 2022 holiday party.
It’s really nice to be here with all of you, again.
First off, a few thanks –
To Jade, Kaysha, Robin and James for putting together this party.
To our family and friends for coming out tonight to celebrate with us.
And most of all to our 2022 team, thank you for an exceptional season.
I’d like to take this opportunity
To reflect on where we’ve come from,
And to share some thoughts on where we’re headed.
Gardenzilla opened in August of 2014 –
A little more than 8 years ago, now.
Those of you who have been here the longest
Have seen profound change in that time –
It was just six years ago that James and I headed north to purchase the company’s second vehicle.
Five years ago Robin and I would still receive plant deliveries into my backyard.
Four years ago Sara, alongside Katie Fenton, became our first Garden Team.
And three years ago that we moved into the Esandar yard –
An impossibly large space
That now feels so impossibly small!
A company is nothing more than the sum of its people,
And while we have seen friends come and go over the years,
The story of the people here tonight began in 2016, when Jim Bunn joined the company –
Was followed in 2017 by James and Justin –
In 2018 by Robin and Wallace –
And in 2019 by Sara, Josh, Kailan, Hilary, Kaysha, Simon, Vittor and Kevin –
When the world turned upside down in 2020 we implemented a one-person-per-vehicle policy,
Joined by Jim Cotton, Ryan, Sean, and Mackenzie –
And in 2021, back together again, by Abid, Jade, Claire, Mary, Koi, Jesse, Lee and Tiffany –
This year we welcomed
On Installs, Andrew,
On Garden Team, Paula, Kyle, John, Gab, and Jessica
And on Maintenance, Alex, Ronan, Jasther, Tiago, Matthew and Nelson.
I am deeply grateful
To work alongside each of you.
The reviews and feedback we receive daily from our clients tells a story about the people who work here –
“From start to finish there is a sense of warm personal service coupled with professionalism.”
“Just a phenomenal experience. Staff is friendly and extremely responsive throughout the process”
“by far the best lawn maintenance company we have ever used. they are by far the most professional and kindest people we have ever had at our home. i would highly recommend them to anyone.”
There are hundreds of reviews that read the same way –
The work we do makes a difference.
– – – – –
It’s become a tradition to share a year-end Gardenzilla-by-the-Numbers –
So, from smallest to largest, here goes –
25 – vehicles operating in our fleet, up from 20 last year
31 – cubic yards of ecosalt shoveled into buckets in early November
our biggest delivery last year was 10 cubic yards
42 – of us this summer – up from 33 last year, and the number of us working at Gardenzilla this summer, up from 33 last year.
188 – five star reviews
900 – properties maintained by our maintenance and garden care teams
4300 – perennials and shrubs planted into client gardens
44,000 – yard waste bags
49,000 – hours collectively worked
3.7 Million – our approximate sales in 2022, up almost 40% this year, and doubled since 2020
By every measure, this was a BIG season.
– – – – –
I have two awards to hand out this evening –
The first, our Attendance Award, goes to the employee with the most reliable attendance through the year.
It was a very close race, but the Attendance Award goes to Sean Daley,
With special mentions for Koi and Tiago.
The second, our Longest Hours Award, goes the employee with the most total hours through the year.
It was another close race, but the award for most hours worked this year goes to Koi,
With a special mention for Hilary, just 11 hours behind him.
It’s a longstanding tradition to include a holiday bonus on the last payroll of the landscape season.
So, I’ll confirm that a $350 bonus was added, with thanks, to every pay cheque this week.
– – – – –
I have many happy memories from this season –
Josh’s music first thing in morning
Watching Mackenzie crush the blower ball competition
Getting back from vacation to find my office taken over by dozens of small rubber ducks.
Seeing our yard invaded by a carnivorous dinosaur, a dancing chicken, and Thor, God of Thunder.
Celebrating YET another season of Jim Cotton in shorts –
And Wallace’s relief when he retired his Santa Suit
And then most recently
Seeing maintenance, garden team, and installs all working together
To close out almost a thousand fall cleanups in the last seven days of the season,
A perfect ending to an amazing year.
I really look forward to meeting each of you over the winter, and
I really hope to see each of you back here next spring.
On behalf of our snow team –
I wish all of you
A green (and very Merry) Christmas.
Happy holidays everyone.