Wichita attorney purchases most of Complete Landscaping’s local assets

UPDATED — Almost all of Complete Landscaping Systems’ local business has sold.

“We have purchased 90 percent of their local operations,” says Rick Hodge, a bankruptcy attorney.

Hodge owns Yard Concerns, a company that until now has mainly existed to service commercial and residential properties he owns.

“Now we’re going to try to grow it and branch out,” Hodge says.

During a slower season in a month or two, Hodge says he’ll relocate equipment he purchased from Complete Landscaping to another building.

“We are not Complete Landscaping by any means,” he says. “Complete is still in existence.”

Complete Landscaping owner Laura McMurray didn’t have an immediate comment.

The company, which McMurray purchased in 2010, has had a series of financial and legal issues since then, much of them stemming from a dispute with Bank of America, which once had been a large national account for the company.

“I know that Complete has been having a lot of problems,” Hodge says. “I knew they had some cash flow problems. … I’m fearful their entire ship is or was sinking.”

His career as a bankruptcy attorney influenced his decision to buy most of Complete Landscaping’s local assets and accounts, he says.

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Complete Landscaping and Michael’s Complete Lawn Care to share work space

WICHITA — Complete Landscaping Systems owner Laura McMurray was looking through tax lien notices when she saw competitor Michael’s Complete Lawn Care.

She also saw an opportunity and called co-owner Michael Ackerman Jr. to brainstorm how the two businesses could help each other.

“We have two companies that are struggling,” McMurray says.

She has extra space at her company’s headquarters at 1727 E. Second St., so McMurray proposed they combine work spaces – without combining business.

“We’re not merging … but we will be operating out of the same facility.”

McMurray, who says the move means a savings of at least 60 percent annually for each company, says it’s an approach that other landscaping companies are taking nationally.

“It’s just completely thinking outside the box to try to save overhead costs,” Ackerman says. “I would have never thought this would happen.”

Ackerman, who owns Michael’s with his parents, Connie and Mike Ackerman Sr., has 11 full-time employees and anywhere from 35 to 60 employees during peak season. He leases 15,000 square feet of space in three buildings at 2320 S. Mead.

McMurray, who has 23 full-time employees and about 100 during peak season, has two 7,000-square-foot buildings, one of which she’ll continue to use and one that Ackerman now will use. He says he especially likes that there’s lots of exterior space, which helps for all of the company’s large equipment.

The two businesses also will begin using each other as subcontractors.

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Law firm files suit against Complete Landscaping citing breach of contract

WICHITA — In a lawsuit filed last week, a Texas law firm claims Wichita’s Complete Landscaping has failed to pay more than $143,000 that it last month signed a consent agreement to pay.

Loewinsohn Flegle Deary filed the lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court.

According to the suit, Complete Landscaping hired the firm in 2009 to represent it in another lawsuit, which “was successfully settled in approximately October 2010.”

An exhibit in the current lawsuit shows that Complete Landscaping president Laura McMurray signed a consent agreement on Sept. 9 to pay $143,251.45, which is the balance for the law firm’s services.

The lawsuit says Complete Landscaping also owes $1,574.19 in interest.

McMurray and her in-house legal counsel declined comment.

No one with Loewinsohn Flegle Deary returned a call for comment.

Complete Landscaping Systems ranks in top 500 of fastest-growing U.S. companies

WICHITA — Last year, Complete Landscaping Systems owner Peter Salmeron was wowed to make No. 1,582 on Inc. magazine’s list of fastest-growing private companies in America.

This year, new owner Laura McMurray is even more thrilled to make the top 500.

Complete Landscaping, which has $30 million in annual sales, ranks 418th out of the top 500 fastest-growing companies.

“It was a significant jump this year,” McMurray says. “This is just an enormous honor.”

So is she teasing Salmeron, her fiance, about ranking higher?

“No, no,” McMurray says. “We celebrate it together.”

Salmeron doesn’t mind, either.

“No, and I tell you what, I would expect we would do even better next year,” he says.

The Inc. ranking is not all they’re celebrating.

Green Industry Pros, a publication for landscape industry professionals, has named Complete Landscaping its top sustainability company of the year for “all things going green,” McMurray says.

“It’s a huge thing,” she  says of her company’s efforts.

Usually, she says, a California company wins because emissions and other regulations are so stringent there.

“For us to win it in little Wichita is just simply an enormous honor,” McMurray says.

“We just have some exciting stuff going on,” she says. “You know what? It’s pretty darn cool to say the least.”

Complete Landscaping Systems to move into Baldridge Electric space on East Second; Baldridge looking for new space

WICHITA — With its recent acquisition of Green Thumb, Complete Landscaping Systems is expanding its space by buying the building next to its current headquarters at 1727 E. Second St.

George Baldridge of Baldridge Electric wasn’t looking to move from 1717 E. Second St., but he didn’t mind either.

“Part of it’s downsizing,” Baldridge says. “We just have a lot more inventory than we need to have, and the times are tough.”

His current building is 8,000 square feet with another 12,000 square feet of yard area.

Baldridge would like to find another building in that area that’s about 5,000 square feet with at least 1,000 square feet of land for trucks and material.

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