MILLVILLE – Lord’s Landscaping has been a part of the region for more than four decades, starting when William and Donna Lord opened their operation at the feed business run by her grandfather, Amos McCabe.
He allowed Bill to store his equipment in the back of the property and eventually helped him transform the building and property to what it is today. Bill added on two other properties to operate five company divisions: garden center, growing facility, landscape design, maintenance, and small installs.
They ran the company until their retirement in 2018, and a year later their daughter, Amy, and her husband, Patrick Hughes, bought the business. They began an effort to modernize the year-round operation, which included ditching hand-written paper receipts and utilizing a digital point-of-sale system that allows customers buying plants to pay outside.
“Due to this process, our sales have increased, our efficiency has made everything faster, our customer service is better, and we lose less money on waste,” Amy Hughes said.
They were barely a year into running the business when the pandemic struck, forcing the Hughes to quickly pivot to online sales and curbside pickup. That early work to modernize the retail business was a huge boon to their pandemic sales though.
“We had a three-day period where we just stayed up all night entering stuff into the system so that it could go online,” Hughes said, noting the online sales have been so popular that Lord’s has hired an employee to manage them moving forward. “It stunk at the time, but it was an opportunity that we needed a push to do that we otherwise probably wouldn’t have done.”
As a family-owned business, Hughes said that it’s great to have Patrick there to support her and vice versa as the days wear on. They bring that supportive environment to their entire staff, about 60% of which are former students of the Hughes who left their careers as high school teachers to take over the family business.
“I think that kind of adds more to the community and family aspect, because we are a family business,” she said. “They were talking to us about what our next generation looks like and I think in the short term it will definitely be them.”