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Freeze wallops entrepreneur

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  • | 3:28 p.m. January 14, 2010
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Freeze wallops entrepreneur

When Darrell Turner told the Review last year that the recession had forced him to work harder than ever before, a thaw-out probably wasn't what he had in mind.

But the early January freeze on the Gulf Coast has brought Turner, who runs Bradenton-based Turner Tree & Landscape, a whole new crisis. Specifically, Turner says that nearly $1 million worth of trees at his farms in Manatee County were destroyed during the 12 hours between Jan. 10 and Jan. 11, when temperatures dipped as low as 22 degrees.

“It was the worst we've ever experienced,” says Turner. “But we're still very much in business.”

Turner's company provides trees and landscaping services for businesses. The company also does work with municipalities and the Florida Department of Transportation. Turner, in the Review's 2010 economic forecast issue in October, projected the company would reach about $8 million in annual revenues this year — down about 50% since the boom.

Of course, that was before the freeze. Turner estimated that 250,000 trees were lost overnight, with the biggest hit coming at the company's farm at Myakka City, where virtually everything there died. That includes a large set of Washingtonia Palms worth more than $600,000.


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