Most modern cities, like Toronto, Calgary, and Ottawa, are made up of a series of large buildings, which dominate the urban landscape and bring us further away from any semblance of nature. When perusing the downtown core of these cities, you may come across the odd park here and there, but you’re mainly surrounded by nothing but concrete. Despite major corporations perpetuating the development of ‘concrete jungles’, you can still venture along the outskirts of most cities and find fresh produce, and even tree farms.
H. Richardson Farms is located in northern Ontario and specializes in tree seedlings, saplings, and transplants that are grown and delivered to their clients with the highest quality and care. Their motto, ‘Rooted in Quality,’ is a clever play on words which perfectly describes their knowledge of tree-planting. They are devoted to providing their clients with the best plants and trees available and add privacy and beauty to their clients’ properties.
We had the opportunity to have a chat with the founder, Harry Richardson, and learn more about his business and how he came to decide a loan from Lending Loop was the right fit to support his business’ growth.
Let’s begin with your business’ background: when did you start? How long have you been in business?
It started as a family business but I’ve been operating alone for 20 years now. We grow everything naturally; seedlings, saplings, and transplants. We ship across Canada and our target market is people who have cottages, farms or nurseries. We have a team of professional growers that tend to a selection of trees carefully.
Do you face any challenges while growing?
Yeah, mainly weather challenges. All of the seedlings start outside and we try to come up with efficient ways to grow in different seasons.
Do you service nearby communities?
Absolutely. We have local clientele. They’re the ones that live nearby, have country lots and come by to buy strawberry plants, shrubs and such.
Generally speaking, we market from coast to coast; where there is a piece of property that you are looking to make far more green. That’s our real market.
What sort of clients do you have?
We have a wide variety of clientele. Some own large properties understand their local environment and landscape, and they tend to want to fill more space. They’re knowledgeable – know how to take care of their product and they look after the trees very carefully.
We also have the younger generation, millennials mainly, that are interested in the farming business. They are into finding ways of growing organic products, such as the Food Box program, where you pay a monthly fee to have organic products delivered to you.
How did you learn about Lending Loop?
I received a letter in the mail with Lending Loop’s description and rates. I contacted them and had a great experience. They were very helpful, very open about their process and rates and seem to actually care about you. It was great.
Before receiving funding from Lending Loop, I worked with another lender out of the States. The interest rate was ultimately around 43-44%. I went to the bank to refinance the loans but they weren’t helpful at all.
I got tired of banks. They’re not responsive, and they don’t tend to understand agriculture, because it’s not their thing. I couldn’t get a real conversation with them a lot of times. So it was frustrating.
And what are you using the loan for?
The loan is a working capital until we get to the springtime. It’s basically seasonal to get through a certain stretch. And with the low-interest rate that Lending Loop is offering, we’re doing very well.