It's hard to believe our next annual conference is just a few months away.
Last year in Baltimore, we made history. With record attendance and a dramatic rebranding, we launched a new era for U.S. Lawns. Most of us are still working to implement the details of the new brand today. But as we head into the 2014 conference season, it's important to reflect on how we've changed in the last nine months, and why.
It started with unprecedented growth. Over 270 locations...170 franchisees...market presence in 44 states. In franchising, this kind of reach has major implications. Every provider from Raleigh to Reno must deliver a consistent, replicable experience. Our franchisees must be unified by a single message.
Your Turf. Our Lawn.
In 2013, we realized it was time. Time to come together...time to show the world our strength. We'd seen the landscape industry crowded with amateurs since the recession began. Local businesses needed to see immediately, at a single glance, that U.S. Lawns was the #1 commercial grounds care franchise in the nation.
As the trucks rolled into the streets of Baltimore, bearing our new insignia, a drum corps wearing our crisp, new uniforms marched us into the sun. Few can forget that moment of excitement which defined the entire conference-or the rallying cry that soon rang out: Your Turf. Our Lawn.
Since that inspiring weekend, it's only gotten better. Those freshly wrapped trucks soon appeared on the streets in the Carolinas, Florida and Mississippi, where franchisees initiated a race to see who could rebrand fastest. Competitive camaraderie spread like wildfire, with many of you stepping up your internal operations. We saw franchisees cooperating across territory lines at an unprecedented level. And crew members also got in the game, starting their day with our newly-adopted company chant.
Everyone wants to feel like they're part of something big. We always knew U.S. Lawns was an incredible team, but now we've articulated our success in a bold, unapologetic way. And clients look at us differently, because of our updated appearance. Potential franchisees who once passed us over are coming back again.
As for us, we look at ourselves with renewed confidence in our ability to grow, succeed and meet the challenges of tomorrow. It's important to remember what we said at the conference: rebranding isn't change. Everything about our "new look" is simply a better expression of the values we've always held. Strength; professionalism; community; loyalty; trust...those of you who have been with U.S. Lawns for a long time can attest that these are truly at the heart of our DNA.
Last year we rebranded. We began a journey. The task of communicating our vision to the world will keep us engaged for years to come.
Let's get ready for Nashville...2014.