Date: Friday, January 19, 2024
AUTHOR: Team Viably

CUSTOMER STORY: Country Oaks Landscape Supply Explores Innovation For Growth

Mark Cherry at Country Oaks Landscape Supply with the words "Capturing Value From Innovation" overlaid.

In the heart of Burton, Michigan, you’ll find a company that exemplifies creativity, innovation and sustainability: Country Oaks Landscape Supply. Owned and operated by Mark Cherry, this family-owned business has been transforming waste into value for over five decades, creating and delivering high-quality compost and mulch products, with sustainability in mind.

Country Oaks Landscape Supply is steeped in a rich history that dates back to 1970 when Mark Cherry’s father laid the foundation. In 2001, Mark took over the reins of the business, keen on preserving the legacy while steering the company towards innovative horizons. Today, Country Oaks is known for its top-tier US Composting Council STA-certified compost, a testament to its commitment to quality and environmental stewardship.

Country Oaks has built its strong reputation on manufacturing the highest quality compost and soil blends from municipal yard and food waste and crafting high-quality mulch from natural wood waste. Mark’s state-of-the-art composting system at Country Oaks stands as a beacon of his innovative spirit. The system not only ensures the production of top-tier compost but ingeniously uses excess heat to warm the buildings on-site.

Challenges Met With Innovation

Country Oaks grappled with processing incoming organics and food waste with contaminants through their high-speed grinder. While efficient, the high-speed grinder presented a significant challenge in processing incoming waste with contaminants. Fragments of metal, plastic, and other foreign materials are common in municipal green waste and pose a substantial and recurring risk of machine damage and downtime. The implications were not just operational but also financial.

Organics recycling facilities that utilize high-speed grinders can expect to encounter operationally disruptive contaminants three or four times per year, at a minimum. It is common for each instance to bring about machine failure, costly repair expenses, and the opportunity cost of lost production time. This challenge threatened to undermine Country Oaks’ operations and inflate operating costs, ultimately putting a strain on the company’s resources. However, in true Country Oaks fashion, they turned this adversity into an opportunity. Partnering with Viably, they adopted the Komptech Crambo low-speed, high-torque, dual-shaft green waste shredder for size reduction, ensuring smoother operations.

The Komptech Crambo operates by utilizing two horizontally rotating shafts fitted with 134 aggressive teeth that work together to tear, break, and rip apart the incoming organic waste materials. What sets the Crambo apart is its innovative ability to withstand touch contaminants that are prevalent in green waste. Its low-speed operation reduces the impact force, subsequently minimizing the risk of damage or downtime caused by hard contaminants. Furthermore, the shredder’s adjustable cutters can be configured to produce the optimal particle size for the compost production process. This fine-tuning ability ensures the maximum efficiency of subsequent processing stages. The Crambo has become instrumental in enhancing Country Oaks’ productivity, reducing operational costs, and maintaining the consistency of its high-quality compost output.

Further showcasing his innovative thinking, Mark took a bold step by installing a state-of-the-art compost aeration and heat recovery system at his facility. This cutting-edge system not only efficiently captures and harnesses the heat generated from compost piles but also utilizes it to heat his buildings and maintain an on-site aquaponic greenhouse, where a harmonious ecosystem of fish and plants thrive together. This ingenious utilization of heat capture and distribution not only demonstrates Mark’s unwavering passion for the organics industry but also highlights his relentless commitment to continuous process improvement. With this remarkable addition, Mark’s facility could be one of the first to revolutionize the way composting and operations intersect, leading the way toward an even more sustainable future.

Strengthening Through Strategic Partnership

Country Oaks Landscape Supply’s working partnership with Viably has been instrumental in their growth story. Viably’s strategic insights have helped Country Oaks refine, increase operational efficiency, and deliver top-quality products to the market. Viably, known for its deep industry knowledge and strategic expertise, has been an instrumental partner in helping Mark’s company optimize operations and enhance its offerings.

One of the critical outcomes of this collaboration was the introduction of the Komptech Crambo green waste shredder into Country Oak’s operations. Viably recognized the challenge presented by the high-speed grinder and identified the Komptech Crambo as a solution, heralding a significant improvement in operational efficiency and cost optimization.

The partnership with Viably exemplifies an optimal blend of operational prowess and strategic insight. As Country Oaks Landscape Supply continues to innovate and grow, its relationship with Viably remains a cornerstone of its innovative evolution, symbolizing a partnership that moves beyond a transaction and into the realm of strategic growth and sustainable success.

Country Oaks Landscape Supply, under Mark Cherry’s leadership, is more than a business. It’s a testament to the power of innovation. With Viably at his side, the future looks even brighter for this Michigan gem.

For more information on the Country Oaks Landscape Supply, visit:


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