Before sunrise each morning, the employees at Delta Sod (662 Central Ave., 504-733-0471; www.deltasod.com) are already busy at work.
"Contractors enjoy doing business with us because we start at 6:30 in the morning," says Lee Mauberret, who co-owns the sod growing company with Ross Heidingsfelder. "We can get to their job site when they're ready to go to work."
Mauberret and Heidingsfelder started the company in the spring of 2006 to help with the city's Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. As people in south Louisiana rebuilt their homes and businesses, the co-owners recognized a business opportunity that would "make the city greener," Heidingsfelder says.
Over the last six years, Delta Sod has partnered with Habitat for Humanity in projects such as the Musicians' Village, Brad Pitt's Make it Right foundation, and Build Now, a local nonprofit committed to building elevated, energy-efficient homes. Through its philanthropic efforts, Delta Sod provides convenient, quality lawns for homes and businesses throughout south Louisiana.
The company delivers and facilitates the installation of sod. Also called turf, sod is grass that has already been planted. It creates a lush, green lawn in a very short period of time. Sod takes root better than seed and is a more reliable, faster way to produce an attractive lawn. While seeding produces sparse coverage and requires more watering, sod provides instant gratification and can be installed any season of the year.
"It creates instant green and instant ground cover," Heidingsfelder says. "And in south Louisiana, lawns are very important to homeowners."
As one of the largest grass wholesalers in the area, Delta Sod provides St. Augustine, Centipede, Bermuda and Zoysia grasses to landscapers, contractors and the general public. The company also stocks Grade A cypress bark mulch, pine straw and "super sacks" of soil. One super sack contains anywhere from 1-1.5 cubic yards of sand, garden soil or premium blended soil.
Delta Sod is one of the area's few suppliers of Palmetto St. Augustine, a new, high-quality strand of St. Augustine turf grass. Predominant on Louisiana's south shore, Palmetto St. Augustine exhibits high disease resistance, excellent shade and drought tolerance, and a finer texture for ideal home and commercial use.
The company sells its turf by the pallet, square slabs which cover 450 square feet, as well as in larger mini-rolls, which are about 16 by 36 inches. The company works with contractors, who provide installation services for customers. Generally, installation takes several hours, depending on the lawn's size.
Customer service is an integral component of Mauberret and Heidingsfelder's business. About 90 percent of their clientele consists of repeat customers, which they attribute to Delta Sod's customer-driven, service-after-the-sale approach.
"We have a friendly, knowledgeable staff to answer questions, and we have a quality product at a great price," Heidingsfelder says. "We are in the customer service business. That's how we see it."