Armed with its newly acquired private equity backing, Virginia Green has made its first move outside of its home state.
The 20-year-old Richmond-based lawncare company last week acquired L.S.L. Lawn Service in Maryland.
It marks the 10th acquisition for Virginia Green in three years and the first time the company will have operations outside of the commonwealth.
It’s also the company’s first acquisition funded by the war chest it received late last year in a deal with California-based private equity firm Golden Gate Capital.
As part of the deal, Virginia Green founder Gil Grattan sold a stake of the business to Golden Gate in exchange for an undisclosed amount of growth capital, intended to fuel continued acquisitions.
Grattan, who remains a co-owner and CEO, said L.S.L.’s seven employees will all stay on in the transition to Virginia Green, including Larry Lawrence, who owned the 17-year-old company before selling to Virginia Green.
“We basically are purchasing the accounts, the equipment and the owner stays on for some length of time,” Grattan said.
L.S.L.’s territory expands Virginia Green’s reach into southeastern Maryland, in towns like Waldorf and Leonardtown. Those markets are contiguous to areas of northern Virginia where Virginia Green had previously expanded via acquisition, such as Dahlgren.
Grattan launched Virginia Green in Richmond in 2004, before expanding initially into Williamsburg, then Charlottesville and Fredericksburg and on to Northern Virginia. Last year the company landed in Roanoke and Hampton and closed out 2023 with the opening of a branch in Harrisonburg.
Virginia Green now provides fertilizer, weedkiller, seeding, aeration and other lawn services to 75,000 customers around the state, 95 percent of which are residential accounts.
The company has around 365 employees and 11 branches, 10 of which are in Virginia.
Grattan said the company has other acquisition discussions under way.
“We feel like we’ll make additional acquisitions this year,” he said.
Grattan said Virginia Green will plan to add more trucks and additional employees to L.S.L.’s operations over time, and will begin to offer Virginia Green services that L.S.L. previously didn’t offer, such as aeration and seeding, tree and shrub care, soil testing and flea, tick, and mosquito control.
The L.S.L. brand will continue to be used for the time being and it will operate as a division of Virginia Green.
But with other out-of-state acquisitions in mind, Grattan said Virginia Green is weighing how well, if at all, the Virginia Green brand will travel outside its namesake state.
He said he’s enlisted the company’s ad agency, Richmond-based Elevation, to come up with a new brand it could use for its operations outside of Virginia.
While that branding exercise is ongoing, one thing is for sure: “We’re going to keep Virginia Green in Virginia,” Grattan said.