The following is an interview with Prem Penglin. Prem is the owner of Purchase Green Fresno which launched in February 2021. The interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
For a pdf version of this interview, download below.
Thanks so much for hopping on the call, Prem. Right off the bat, if you wouldn’t mind just introducing yourself, your store, where you’re located.
My name is Prem with Purchase Green out here in Fresno. I’ve been in this industry for almost 15-20 years, and my family has been in it for 30. We’ve been using Purchase Green product as installers ever since 2010, and then we just opened this location in February 2021.
Could you expand a little bit on your landscape industry experience before becoming a Purchase Green franchise owner?
Our company specializes in pavers, concrete, back and front yard remodels, and reconstruction. Artificial turf plays a role in it. We’re not the sole artificial turf installer, but most of our installations include turf, which is how we came to be a part of the PG family as an installer originally.
Very cool. What went into you deciding to become a franchise owner?
When I saw the opportunity, it made sense. With our background as an installer, we used turf on a very specific basis. Eventually, as you grow your company you say, ‘you’re an installer, you’re killing it in the game, what’s next?’ Become a distributor. Get better pricing, start calling in a couple of contractor buddies and see where it goes. When we saw the opportunity to level up our game and become a distributor with the industry we’re already in, it’s just something that made sense.
What did your process look like for determining your franchise location, determining that you were going to be in Fresno?
When we originally started talking, we were looking at three to four potential locations. Our family has been around Fresno for a while and we’re very familiar with the area. It’s a location where if we’re in a drought, especially in this area where water is very scarce, the demand for turf is a little bit higher in my opinion versus San Jose. The main thing for me was the cost of entry in Fresno is a little bit more affordable, and we’re able to get more warehouse space. When you’re starting a new business, you don’t know all the ins and outs. We’re coming from an installer side where it’s a service. So, switching that and going brick and mortar, you got to buy a warehouse, get inventory, a bunch of stuff you got to pay upfront for, it starts adding up. Thankfully, Purchase Green has a great foundation, Tony [Vena] is a great CEO, he knows what he’s doing, we’ve got a great team behind our backs. There’s a great support system that sets you up for success.
Can you talk a little bit about identifying the physical store location? What were you looking for?
This warehouse is big. It’s 105 feet wide and about 110 feet long, a good amount of square feet. The main thing was visibility. The last thing you want to be is tucked in a corner where it’s hard to find. In a best-case scenario, you’re next to the highway. From there, the next thing would be to find something as big as possible because you’re going to need the inventory space, you’re going to be moving around forklifts and putting trucks in here. The third would be try to get a loading dock, that makes you a lot more efficient. otherwise, you’re going to be loading stuff off the trucks in a parking lot.
What was the biggest challenge in launching Purchase Green in Fresno?
The training part. It was getting to know the products properly. We knew the products, but we knew the products just enough to sell them to our customers from an installer side. If you’re an installer and you’re coming from that background and very familiar with the industry so it’s not too bad of a learning curve. If you’re coming from a different industry, then product knowledge is probably the biggest thing that can be a challenge.
Let’s talk a little bit about the product. How do you feel Purchase Green products compare to others in the industry?
The reason why we stayed with Purchase Green was because of the product warranty, the customer service, and the product itself. The grass is softer, the blades are thinner, it looks more real. Some competitors use thicker blades, so it looks a little bit more artificial.
Great to hear! What are your favorite things about working with Purchase Green?
The people. The top thing is people. You can tell a lot about a company by the people that work at it and the people that run it. Someone like Travis, who’s my regional manager, he’s easy to work with and always helpful. Anyone else that I’ve spoken to has always had the same attitude. Second, the flexibility and seeing that if I need some help, they come out and help. I like the involvement, I like the helpfulness, and when we were in San Dimas for training, I was able to hire our warehouse guy Joey out of San Dimas. I was able to find Nicole [Fresno Assistant Manager] out of another PG franchise. It’s comes down to the fact of just the amount of helpfulness and involvement we get from Purchase Green.
Anything that Purchase Green could improve on when working with franchises?
The introductory training at headquarters in San Dimas could have been a little more organized. I felt like we were running around a little bit. Apart from that, I haven’t seen too many issues. Every time we have a suggestion, it’s taken seriously, which is very nice to see because I’ve dealt with other companies where our suggestions were just in one ear and out the other.
Any pieces of advice for future franchise owners?
Be prepared to get your hands dirty. If you’re coming from an installer background, you’re already involved and on deck. Some folks aren’t. Be prepared to work long hours. Be prepared to drink a lot of coffee. Through any ups and downs within this industry, having good financial backing and having a good support system helps that out.
What are you looking forward to for the remainder of 2021?
It’s just really seeing how this first year goes with this location and see what’s in scope for next year. That’s when we’ll see proper growth and have enough data to compare 2021 to 2022.
What’s your outlook on the artificial grass industry as a whole? Where is it headed in the next five years?
It’s a growing industry. For example, out here in Fresno where there’s plenty of new development, a lot of these homes are not coming with yards in the front, so a lot of these folks are like ‘we’re already in a drought, let’s get some artificial grass in here.’ It’s a growing industry not just for the landscaping side. There’s plenty of uses for it on the interior side as well. I can see it growing quickly and rapidly over the next few years.
That was everything on my list! Anything you want to add?
Purchase Green is a great company to be with. As I mentioned, the staff are great people. They’re always willing to help and if we ever need any support, they’re there. If you have any questions, they’re there. As the company grows, we grow – and I think that’s why we call it the PG family because we’re all here to help each other. If you’re a part of it, you’re in a good place.
That is a great way to close. Thank you so much for taking the time.
Launch your own business and drive your own success, all with the backing and support of an international brand.
The synthetic turf industry is an American success story. The market has seen an approximate increase of 15 percent since 2017.