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Westchester County’s Prospero Nurseries Harvests Success

Thu April 06, 2006 - Northeast Edition
CEG



With the exception of a few places in Manhattan, trees are hard to come by in the concrete jungle that is New York City. Go a little north to suburban Westchester County and a markedly different landscape unfolds — one that’s perfect for a company such as Prospero Nurseries.

The White Plains company, founded in 1972 by Pat and Tony Prospero, began as a garden center where the brothers primarily raised ground cover plants. By 1990, the company had blossomed into a wholesale nursery with more than 30 employees, serving customers in Westchester County, New York City and Fairfield County, CT.

Today, the nursery, which is run by the second generation of Prosperos, brothers Guido and Joe, sits on 12-acres just off Interstate 287 in the center of Westchester County.

Prospero Nurseries offers a vast array of trees and shrubs, and recently branched out to provide wholesale decorative stone products, including: paver bricks, flagstone, blue stone, sand and gravel and screened topsoil. The brothers hope to extend the stone yard even further and have already designated 2 acres for increasing their stone product inventory.

During the prime growing season, Prospero will hum with activity day and night, regardless of the weather.

“We pride ourselves on quality and service,” said Joe Prospero. “Even during peak season, our employees load up purchases very quickly, so the landscaper is able to head back to the job site in no time — we know and respect the fact that to a landscaper time is money.”

To assure healthy, high-quality stock, Joe said his company typically buys from growers that are located in colder, northern climates so that the plants will adapt better to New York winters.

The peak growing season is serious business and equipment must perform exceptionally and efficiently.

“During peak season our machines can be running non-stop from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., six days a week,” Guido said, “and our original Kubota, now 10 years old with more than 6,500 hours, has never had a significant mechanical failure.”

Prospero Nurseries purchased its first loader, a Kubota R-400 from Westchester Tractor in Golden Bridge, NY. Soon after, Prospero added a Kubota R-410 and a Kubota R-420. And two more are on the way — both Kubota R-420 loaders — which will bring the company’s total Kubota loader fleet to eight.

Joe and Guido anticipate that the new Kubota R-420 loaders with cabs will increase efficiency during rainy periods.

Prospero also purchased several Kubota RTV-900 four-wheel-drive utility vehicles with dump bodies, which also have proven to be very helpful around the nursery.

“One of the reasons that we keep such a large fleet of the Kubota equipment is so that we are prepared for any situation,” Joe said.

Prospero relies on Kubota compact articulated wheel loaders to maneuver nursery stock around its facility and to load purchases for customers. The Kubota loaders are equipped with forks for moving pallets and sweepers, which are used two or three times a week to clean up the driveway and loading area. The load-sensing transmission enables the wheel loaders to automatically shift from high-speed low torque, to low-speed high torque, as load conditions vary.

Prospero Nurseries has been prosperous since Joe and Guido took the helm 15 years ago. In their first year, the company harvested approximately $1-million in sales. Today, it enjoys sales in excess of $13 million a year. With help of Kubota loaders and the company’s dedicated staff, as well as Joe and Guido Prospero’s leadership, the forecast for the company’s future appears sunny — even when it rains.