What started as LeafFilter Gutter Protection in Matt Kaulig’s house in 2005 has grown into Leaf Home Solutions, with 64 offices in 32 states and two Canadian provinces.
CFO Larry Napolitan says Kaulig knew his company had great potential but didn’t want to expand too quickly on his own. So to facilitate growth, the company partnered with Gridiron Capital LLC, a private equity group in Connecticut.
“Since then, LeafFilter has grown at a much quicker pace, opening approximately 10 offices a year,” says Napolitan. “There are 40 million feet of LeafFilter protecting 250,000 homes.”
He says the company prides itself on going beyond simply installing gutters and gutter protection, working with customers to identify problems and personalize solutions. And to extend those solutions inside the home and continue the company’s growth trajectory, in January it opened its first Leaf Home Safety Solutions office in Hudson, serving the Cleveland/Akron/Youngstown markets.
Same customer, more services
The new company offers safety solutions such as walk-in tubs and stairlifts to allow people to stay in their homes.
“Our customer is still the homeowner, but now we are working inside the house,” he says. “Our mission is to enhance the safety, mobility and independence of homeowners. We want people to be able to stay in their homes as long as they want to.”
With the business established in Northeast Ohio, Leaf Home Safety Solutions opened its second office in March, in Chicago.
“We anticipate the home safety solutions business will someday be as big, if not bigger, than LeafFilter,” Napolitan says. “The potential is enormous. There are still plenty of would-be LeafFilter customers we can serve, but there are some areas of the country—particular in the deserts out west—where broadleaf trees don’t really exist, so clogged gutters aren’t a problem. But home mobility customers are everywhere.”
LeafFilter’s expansion into the home safety market is the result of an overarching customer service philosophy that has been at the company’s core since its founding.
“Everything we provide is highly personalized,” Napolitan says. “We’re solving issues specific to each customer, building relationships that result in each customer getting what they want and need.”
That relational philosophy powers everything within the company, from its growth strategy to its hiring practices.
The challenge of rapid growth
Napolitan says the company has been able to grow so quickly because of its people.
“I know a lot of companies say that, but I truly believe it,” he says. “We have great products, but it’s the people who make this business special. We listen to our associates and value their opinions. We recognize individual success along with company success.”
However, with that rapid growth come challenges in keeping up with the necessary hiring. To keep pace, the company added a talent department focused on recruiting people who align with its core principles.
“This is the type of place that attracts people who want to grow and make a difference, not just in the business but in the lives of customers,” Napolitan says. “If you come in here with that mentality, you can build a career here; we promote from within whenever possible.”
To create a positive company culture, LeafFilter hosts a number of activities, including:
- Themed lunches and team-building activities; during the Olympics, it held its own games, with each department representing a country
- Company sponsored employee softball teams
- Kickball games
- A party at the Columbus Zoo for the company sponsoring a giraffe
- Involvement in charitable organizations events
And it recently updated its office spaces.
“We want people to enjoy coming to work, so we invested in our office spaces to make them enjoyable and welcoming to all,” he says.
Napolitan says since he joined the company three and a half years ago, it has grown almost 500 percent, with every location growing year over year. He believes ample opportunities for growth will continue as long as LeafFilter sticks to its core philosophies of developing relationships and identifying solutions for customers.
“We have never seen a year with declining revenue,” he says. “As we continue to make our brand and products available to customers, we continue to find more people who are interested in becoming customers. That’s a testament to the quality of our products, but even more so, a testament to our people and the work they do every day.”
Behind the scenes, every successful business has a network of support. For Leaf Home Solutions, Huntington is an integral part of that network.
“Huntington embraced our company early on,” says CFO Larry Napolitan. “They saw the potential and worked with us to help us grow.”
Before Leaf Home Solutions’ LeafFilter business got involved with private equity firm Gridiron Capital, Huntington handled all of LeafFilter’s treasury management needs.
“It made sense for us to work with Huntington on financing our growth,” Napolitan says. “They knew the operations of the business and how it worked because they talked to us all the time, really getting to know the business.”
As Leaf rolls out its new Leaf Home Safety Solutions business, Napolitan says the company will continue to rely on Huntington’s financial expertise.
“They have always made sure we find ways to grow efficiently,” he says. “They have good, smart people there, and they provide great support.”
For more information, visit leafhomesolutions.com.