Sussex Tree now offers crane service

June 2, 2016

ass="p3">Sussex Tree was founded by Jeff Meredith Sr. in 1987. In an “impromptu career change,” according to his son, Jeffrey Meredith Jr., he used his past experience in customer service combined with his lifelong love of working with trees to create his new company. His son added that the company had originally been a way to make ends meet, and his father mentioned numerous times that he never dreamed it would grow to the success and size it obtained. 

It initially was run by just Meredith Sr. along with one or two other employees, servicing the local Seaford, Bridgeville, and Georgetown areas. Eventually, the company expanded to service the beach areas and took off. “We have really set ourselves apart by the service we provide especially in these areas,” the younger Meredith said. “We operate very efficiently in this high end market and have upheld the service this type of clientele expect.”

Sussex Tree has always been a full service tree care company, providing tree removal, tree trimming, stump grinding, hedge trimming, tree transplanting and plant health care services; however, in 2009, they established a landscaping division, STI. STI, like Sussex Tree, is full service, offering landscaping design and installation, maintenance contracts, mowing, hardscaping, planting, etc. “This growth was a natural fit since we work in client landscapes every day,” Meredith said.

Meredith joined his father’s company three years ago after working in engineering and construction management. His previous career allowed him to develop customer service skills and financial management, which he says has proven “very beneficial” with the Sussex companies’ recent growth. 

He added that they are “still a family owned business(es) and myself, my father, my brother in law, and my wife all have pivotal roles within the company(ies).”

This dedication to the company and continuing growth have surely contributed to the next step the Merediths have taken. After nearly 30 years in business, Jeff Meredith Sr. and his son have decided to start another company to add another service for their clients and the public at large. The new company is Sussex Crane LLC.

“Is it odd to purchase a crane?” Meredith asked. “We often use a crane for complicated, hazardous situations, or where a customer doesn’t want equipment in the yard. We’ve been using a crane service for this type of removal for 25 years.”

As the tree business has grown, the number of times a crane is needed has increased. “So why not think of buying one and starting a sister company?” Meredith continued. The new company was a natural fit, and being able to offer crane service will further set their company apart from competitors, he added.

As an extra bonus, Sussex Crane has been able to keep the same operator, Ephraim “Eph” Mulford, who has been working with the Merediths for tree removal for more than 20 years. He is certified by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operator, and, of course, the company is insured and bonded. 

“Eph has a solid reputation in the county for being the ‘best’ operator when it comes to tree work,” said Meredith. “This opinion is shared by many other of the local tree companies as well. When the opportunity came up, we approached him about joining our staff to help us and he quickly accepted. We are blessed to have such a skilled staff, which now he is a part of.”

The crane purchased by the Merediths has 127 feet of boom and will be offered for general crane services such as erecting prefab trusses for home or commercial construction, commercial steel erection, lifting HVAC units into place, and so forth. “We feel we might have a niche market,” Meredith said.

The crane has a fixed two-man basket which can lift workers high in the air to service lights in parking lots, for example.

The 38-ton crane is considered medium sized and falls under Department of Transportation regulations as not requiring a permit to transport down highways, Meredith said. 

“This allows us to respond faster to emergency situations, such as storm clean-up, when we’re needed as soon as possible. We won’t have to wait for a permit.”

Based in Bridgeville, Sussex Crane will service all of Sussex County, some of Kent County and parts of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. 

The tree care business is a tightly knit group. “We plan to help friendly competitors as well,” Meredith said.

Tree removal is one the most dangerous parts of the tree care industry. Often, the tree is close to a building, service line or delicate area. To remove such a tree requires a great amount of experience and the proper equipment. Sussex Tree has both.

The staff is well trained and the equipment is the best in the industry. Sussex Tree offers tree removal, pruning, trimming, stump grinding, tree transplanting, hedge trimming and plant health care services. Its full-service landscape division, STI Landscape Center, provides high-end design, installation and maintenance, including lawn care, residential and commercial mowing, mulching, hardscaping and snow removal.

The Merediths say, “Our clients’ satisfaction is our number one concern. Our promise is to deliver the highest quality to our customers in a friendly timely fashion.

“Every part of every job will be perfect. No exceptions.”

For more information on their services:

 Visit sussextreeinc.com or sussexcrane.com (coming soon), or call Sussex Crane at 302-956-6913; Sussex Tree at 302 -227-1980, or STI Landscape at 302-645-6262.

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