Startup founders dream of having Mario Cambardella’s timing.
He’d been thinking about the troubles of the plant supply chain over the course of his career in landscape architecture and urban agriculture. His passion for horticulture and innovation led him to start his first company after graduate school and ultimately land as City of Atlanta’s Urban Agriculture Director, a first-of-its-kind position to change how city policy can support local food.
Cambardella told Hypepotamus he’d been toying with the idea of starting ServeScape, an e-commerce marketplace and online landscape design studio, for some time before officially setting a launch date in March of 2020.
That date, of course, brought out the ‘plant parents’ and gardening enthusiasts in droves. Those looking to do some spring gardening now needed a safe and convenient way to purchase plants and get them delivered.
“We got shot out like a cannon,” Cambardella said, recalling the early days of the e-commerce startup. The team did $100,000 in revenue in the first 100 days by “solving problems in the landscaping space from inspiration to installation.”
Currently delivering to metro Atlanta and Athens residents, ServeScape makes it possible to shop online from local farmers and wholesalers in a “farm-to-landscape” approach. Their delivery and installation abilities are key for those whose DIY projects require multiple trips to big-box garden centers.
They’ve grown a full-service landscape design studio in Chamblee, Georgia, where customers looking for “inspiration, passion, and problem-solving” around gardening needs can curate what they are looking for.
Hyperlocal supply chain, regional reach
Cambardella, an Atlanta native who earned his undergraduate and two master’s degrees from the University of Georgia, said focusing on the hyperlocal plant supply chain was key to building ServeScape’s early success. Unlike products supplied at large garden stores, the farms and wholesalers on ServeScape’s site are local and specifically climatized to the Southeast’s unique weather conditions.
“We get material from farmers who are responsibly growing material for peak performance for years to come…we’re committed to Georgia Grown in this hyper-local supply chain because we think it renders the best plant material that Atlanta homeowners can buy,” he added.