Ruppert Landscape has partnered with Knox Lane, an investment firm that focuses on businesses in the service and consumer sectors. Ruppert’s management team, including CEO Craig Ruppert, will continue to lead the company and remain significant minority owners in the business.
“We are excited to partner with Knox Lane, a strategic move that will enable us to accelerate our growth and provide further opportunity for our team,” Ruppert says. “Their capital, experience, and strong track record of partnering with leading companies will enable us to continue our focus on helping our team achieve their professional and personal goals, delivering high-quality commercial landscaping services to our customers, and giving back to our community.”
Ruppert Landscape conducted a thorough, one-year process with the guidance of their board of directors to evaluate their strategic options. Taking the interests of the family and employee partners, the team and their customers, they narrowed it down to Knox Lane.
“We met with quite a few teams who were interested in partnering with us,” Ruppert says. “What we liked about Knox Lane was that they saw good value in us. They understood our industry and appreciated our history, culture, processes, and procedures. We felt that they were a really good option and fit for us.”
This partnership with Knox Lane supports Ruppert Landscape’s long-term vision to grow the company’s footprint within current and adjacent markets and expand organically and through strategic acquisitions.
“Providing opportunity for our team is at the heart of everything we do,” Ruppert says. “With growth comes an increased ability for our team to learn more, take on more responsibility, get promoted and earn more. The additional financial and strategic resources provided by Knox Lane will enable us to provide even more opportunity for our team and will help facilitate our continued evolution.”
While Knox Lane is the majority owner, any strategic decisions like growing or selling the company will be made jointly by the board of directors. The new board includes the Ruppert management team and their new financial partners.
To express their appreciation to their employees and their role in the company’s growth, Ruppert awarded appreciation bonuses to all of their employees with tenure over one year.
Excluding the top leadership, 1,200 employees received bonuses ranging from $7,000 to just over $200,000 with the proceeds from the recent partnership with Knox Lane. Because the funds were made possible with the proceeds from this new partnership, this is a one-time occurrence.
This surprise bonus was shared during branch gatherings as they covered the strategic partnership. The bonus amounts were determined based on years of service and salary.
“Everyone receiving this bonus was instrumental in helping create the value that we’ve been able to realize,” Ruppert says. “This bonus is money that is well-deserved and a way for us to acknowledge the value of our teams’ contributions and the essential role that they will play in our company’s future.”
This bonus was given in addition to the company’s annual year-end bonus as well as their other employee benefits. Those employee benefits include 401(k) with matching, paid time off and holidays, medical insurance, and paid uniforms. The company also offers company-paid disability and life insurance for eligible employees, tuition reimbursement and ongoing training that enables employees to learn, contribute and advance in their careers.
“Our philosophy has always been to take great care of our employees, who in turn will take great care of our customers,” says Phil Key, president of Ruppert Landscape. “Every team member at Ruppert is committed to excellence every day.”