When Maumee Bay Turf opened for business in spring 2006, co-owners Brad
Morrison and P.J. Kapfhammer had big ideas and big dreams. Their unofficial motto was - and still is - “There’s nothing outside we don’t do.”
The business, located at 740 S. Stadium Dr. in Oregon, has 16 full-time employees year-round and 30 full-time employees in the summer.
Morrison, a 1987 graduate of Clay High School, and Kapfhammer, a 1990 Clay grad, began mowing lawns in the late 1980s and early ‘90s to make some cash.
“If you wanted to hustle and you wanted to work, you could make a few bucks,” Morrison said. “We went to high school together, but he was a little younger than me. When I played basketball at Bowling Green, he cut grass and took care of my accounts. I didn’t want to lose the accounts, so I sent everything to him.
“We started snow plowing places with one truck. P.J. hated snow, and he said I was nuts for plowing snow. He bought a truck and I bought another truck. We’d plow snow together but did landscaping and grass cutting independently. We saw we were stronger together and found a niche for something we could do as far as generating things in slow times. We brainstormed and decided we were going to do this,” he said.
And so Maumee Bay Turf took shape. The business includes a wide range of goods and services, such as power equipment sales and service, mowing and landscaping, athletic field installation and maintenance and snow plowing. It also has a full-time certified auto mechanic.
“We’re very diverse,” Morrison said. “P.J. and I are type A personalities. If we’re not busy, we’re not happy. P.J. is the backbone of the business. He’s there all the time. I’m more of the sales guy who goes out and manages and takes care of what’s getting done. It’s a great relationship.”
When asked how long he’s known Morrison, Kapfhammer’s response is “too long,” followed by a chuckle.
Kapfhammer, an avid golfer, said he and Morrison became friends years ago at the Ball Works Driving Range on Navarre Avenue.
“I already had a lawn-care business going and he was doing it part-time,” Kapfhammer recalled. “Brad had just become a (school) teacher, and the lawn care was my full-time thing.”
Kapfhammer said the two realized they could be good business partners because, “Brad does certain things real well and I do certain things real well.”
The early days of Maumee Bay Turf consisted primarily of mowing and landscaping and plowing snow. It later added installation of natural grass and synthetic turf to area athletic fields.
“We deal with about 200 high schools and colleges in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana,” Morrison said. “A lot of the money we make is in renovation. A lot of fields are getting worn out, and it’s just more cost-effective to use synthetic turf.”
In 2009, Maumee Bay Turf installed synthetic turf football fields at Perrysburg and Ottawa Hills high schools. It also installed a synthetic turf field at Clyde High School in 2008.
Ottawa Hills football coach Chris Hardman has plenty of good things to say about the new artificial surface at the Green Bears’ Norm Neidermeier Stadium.
“It was fantastic,” he said. “It was safe, it was aesthetically pleasing and it played wonderfully. The game just seemed a little faster and our opponents loved playing on our field. We handled water in a couple games, and it couldn’t have been better.”
Morrison added, “There is not one school we don’t deal with. Nobody else around here does what we do. We do irrigation, fertilization, and we will mow some of the fields for these schools. We do field painting for Sylvania Schools and we provide products and services for other schools like Clay, Northwood, Perrysburg, Washington Local, and Patrick Henry.”
“We’re a design, build, maintain company. That’s the best way to describe us. We sell bleachers and install them. We put in new lights and running tracks. We’ve really aligned ourselves with reputable companies,” he said.
Maumee Bay Turf sells and services mowers, trimmers, chain saws and plows and sells road salt. It also is a fertilizer distributor for The Andersons.
“That was a great affiliation for us,” Morrison said. “Any equipment that is used to landscape or plow snow, we fix it, we service it, we sell it. During snowstorms, we’re open 24 hours for guys who break down. As soon as snow warnings go out, we’re open 24 hours. If your snow plow breaks down at 4 in the morning, you’re going to lose your account if it’s not plowed by 6:30 and the place opens at 7. We carry all of the parts in stock.”
Morrison said a big key to the success of Maumee Bay Turf is project manager Ryan Fussell.
“In three years we’ve never had a single call-back on any of his work,” Morrison said. “That’s how you gauge your people.”
When asked what he likes most about running Maumee Bay Turf, which, by the way, features a full-size weight room that is used by 30 to 40 members of the community each week, Kapfhammer said it’s being his own boss.
“I like dealing with problems,” he said. “We’re basically a one-stop shop. Anything having to do with outside, we wanted to deal with every aspect of it. It was a natural progression to get bigger in the industry. I like seeing how we can get something done the fastest and the best.
Maumee Bay Turf is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. It is closed on Sundays and holidays. Call 419-720-8873 or visit www.maumeebayturf.com for more information.