THE KENDRICK & O'DELL STORY
In March 1978 the seed was planted. Dan Kendrick and Kevin O’Dell, two hardworking and budding entrepreneurs who shared a passion for plants, trees and gardening, started their own landscaping company. Like the scrawny seedling that matures into a hardy, robust and beautiful shade tree, Kendrick & O’Dell has flourished.
Today, over 35 years later, they and their staff (“family” would be a better term) form one of the region’s premier landscaping companies. Interview anyone who has been associated with them and you’ll find the same adjectives cropping up again and again: dedicated, knowledgeable, competent, skilled, committed, conscientious, responsive, friendly, hardworking, passionate, attentive, flexible, adaptive, innovative, creative, cutting edge. It’s a chorus of praise.
You can’t fake or manufacture these qualities. They only come from the inside out. The praise reflects the very core of Kendrick & O’Dell. It gives evidence to the roots. A good tree produces good fruit, which is a fine way to describe the Kendrick & O’Dell family.
Very simply put, they love what they do and are excellent at it. Without this love and skill, then all you have is “a business.” But when passion, skill and character come together, you’ve got not just a business but a life. And all this explains why Kendrick & O’Dell has thrived for 35 years.
As Kevin O’Dell put it,
“Much of this is just who we are. We’re not just horticulturalists with a passion for plants and trees and design. We go to Findlay Market in downtown Cincinnati. We love fresh fruits and vegetables and buy from roadside stands. We’re outdoor people who have lived on farms and grown up around nature. We’re at work when the sun rises and work hard until it sets. It’s like this for all of us.”
When you dig around a bit in the Kendrick & O’Dell story, you instantly find two other striking features: they have long-term employees and long-term clients, some going back nearly to the beginning. There is a joke going around in the industry that Kendrick & O’Dell never hires—and it’s almost true! There are very few turnovers because the company just doesn’t lose folks. Many have been with the company for decades and a strong commitment to its employees, yields untold benefits for all: company, employees and clients. Such unprecedented longevity and depth of relationship between company and employees fosters long term motivation, good employee benefits, safety training, and a deep, deep commitment to continuous horticultural education.
And it appears the clients are thrilled! Because of this employee loyalty, typically the folks that come to work on your project are both trusted and familiar faces who often become friends of the long term clients. This mutual loyalty and commitment is in stark contrast to the volatile and shifting relationships experienced between vendors and clients in today’s world. When you work with Kendrick & O’Dell, you quickly learn that they’re committed not just to the job but to you.
There you have it. It’s blend of strong character and unswerving commitment. It’s a blend of creative art and deep knowledge. It’s their skill and dedication to quality and detail that make them stand out. Dan Kendrick states,
“Our greatest strengths lie in our relentless drive to please, our desire to understand what our clients like and need, and most importantly our ability to harmonize the elements of nature with the human aspects of design. Ultimately both our clients and the staff at Kendrick & O’Dell must be satisfied with the final outcome, knowing we haven’t compromised the process.”
“As a supplier, our nursery has enjoyed a very good business relationship with Dan and Kevin for more than 30 years. In today’s ever-changing marketplace this speaks for itself. Their priority has always been quality and viable plant material. In addition, they’re just good people to work with.”
Dave Deeter, owner of the well-known Deeter Nursery in Clayton, Ohio north of Dayton.
Dave specializes in deciduous shade trees and evergreen conifers. Deeter Nursery was established in 1912 by Dave’s grandfather, and then handed down to Dave’s father. For now Dave gets his turn at the wheel, but his sons are not far behind, tapping into the family legacy and learning the trade the right way.