Until a couple years ago Gary Morrical's MulchWorx firm was one of nearly 80 firms doing residential and commercial landscaping in the Fort Wayne area. Like most of the others, when mulch was required he purchased it, picked it up from the producer, delivered it to his job site and spread it around trees, bushes and flower beds.
Today his company still does residential and commercial landscaping, design and mowing, but he's taken it to the next level. Now he's a mulch manufacturer and mulch distributor throughout the Fort Wayne area, across Indiana and to neighboring states as well.
What makes MulchWorx unique and popular with other landscapers is its two, 50-yard-capacity blower trucks. His three-man crews can blow in more mulch in two hours than it would take a much larger crew pushing wheelbarrows a day or more. According to Tevell Brown, MulchWorx sales manager, “economically it makes sense for them to have us distribute the mulch than to pay a large crew for a whole day. On top of that,” he added, “these specialized trucks can blow sand for beaches, gravel for driveways, compost for gardens and even river rock. They were used once to blow grain into a warehouse in Kansas.”
Morrical, who purchased MulchWorx in 2006 from Eric and Jacy Holsworth (Jacy is now the MulchWorx office manager), had big plans for the firm from the start. “I felt we could grow quicker if we could become manufacturer of the product instead of a purchaser or middle-man. One of the main reasons to start manufacturing was that we already had the blower trucks. Our goal is not to be the biggest, but to be the best in our niche which is quick installation with our blower trucks.
“Hardest part of expanding into manufacturing was raising the capital to purchase the big combination grinder/dying machine, several front-end loaders and finding a suitable property to set up shop. This three-acre lot on East Washington Boulevard, which we got a year-and-a-half ago, is perfect for us,” he added.
“The learning curve on the grinder/dying machine was tricky,” he says, “but we've got it down now and have eliminated mistakes we made at the beginning. We buy 50-gallon drums of red, black, brown and dark brown dye by the truck load. Dye is first measured into the machine. Then we feed in rough mulch that is ground to a nice, fine landscaping size and it comes out the other end in rich colors.”
The two big storms last year practically inundated them with downed trees and limbs brought in by city trucks, contractors and individuals. So much arrived that they had to turn trucks away and then quit accepting it altogether in order to remain within fire codes. Crews worked a lot of overtime and used up a lot of diesel fuel to grind incoming logs and make way for more. On the other side of the coin, MulchWorx gained enough wood to last for a long time and produce a lot of mulch. It still accepts already ground material from companies that do clearing work for the power company or residential tree jobs. There is a small fee for dropping off logs.