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Turner holds out branch to unemployed

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  • | 1:48 p.m. May 21, 2010
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Darrell Turner celebrated a milestone at his tree and landscaping firm earlier in May: The company's first new hires in more than two years.

All told, the company, which plants and maintains trees for businesses, homes and government entities, has hired 13 people in the past few weeks. That includes truck drivers, laborers and two shift supervisors. He currently has 51 ongoing jobs and hopes to land a few large government contracts by the end of the summer.

Turner might need to hire a few more people in the next month. While that doesn't mean the recession is over or even waning for his company, he is nonetheless enthusiastic about the turn of events. “It's still challenging,” Turner tells Coffee Talk. “We're finding people aren't as concerned about price [as they] are about how companies will provide service after the sale.”

Bradenton-based Turner Tree & Landscaping has been hit hard by the recession. The company's annual sales plunged from more than $15 million in the boom to $8 million in 2009 — a decrease that prompted him to lay off 90 of the company's 180 employees in 2008 and 2009.

Then the winter freeze of early 2010 decimated the company's stock of trees, which cost Turner close to $1 million.

Now Turner has another challenge: Finding workers. The applicant pool is deeper than ever before, he says, but some employees from past layoffs he wanted to bring back have already left the area.


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