HOW WE GOT STARTED
Doerler Landscapes was founded in 1962 by William K. Doerler on the day that I was born. The story goes something like this. Bill Doerler grew up very poor in Friendship, New York. The son of hard working immigrant parents, (his father was a gardener and his mother was a caretaker/maid) Bill didn’t have enough money to pay for college. So he did what any industrious, hardworking young man of his generation did, he worked his way through College. Pursuing a degree in Ornamental Horticulture at Cornell University, he alternated semesters at school with semesters at work. He worked in the Friendship Cottage Cheese Factory (you can’t make this stuff up), sold pots and pans door to door, and even harvested minnows for bait to make ends meet.
Upon graduation from Cornell and after a brief stint as a pilot in the Air Force, Bill married his wife Mary. Upon promise of employment at a local landscape company, Bill moved to Lawrenceville, New Jersey in the late 50’s. Life was going swimmingly along for Bill and Mary. Bill was hard at work as a Landscape Designer and Mary was a home maker having a girl in 1960 a boy in 1961 and she was pregnant with me in 1962.
This is where things get somewhat interesting. In the middle of October, six weeks before Steve was born, Bill got into an argument with his employer about succession planning and was summarily fired from his job. So he did what any self-respecting man (with a 2 year old, a 1 year old and one on the way) in his situation would do. Not wanting to upset his wife with the news about the loss of his job, he left the house every day and “went to work”. Six weeks later, after I was born (child number 3) Mary was finally informed by Bill that he had lost his job and was starting his own business called Doerler Landscapes. And so it began.
My father originally leased some land in Hamilton before buying a house in north Lawrence with a Princeton mailing address. Just to make life even more interesting, Bill and Mary decided to have one more child in February of 1964 (4 kids from May 1960-Feb 1964), and he moved the business to his house in “Princeton”. So this where he came up with the concept of orange and black trucks. A lot of his early work was in Princeton, so he adopted Princeton University’s colors of orange and black.
I only mention the orange trucks because a lot of people ask me where the color came from. In retrospect it was a brilliant piece of marketing strategy since a lot of people recognize the family name and associate it with “The landscaping company with the orange trucks.”
I bought the business in 2000 and my father is enjoying retirement (and we still have orange trucks). As we enter our 55th year in business we continue to “Grow Relationships”. We still delight in designing and installing new and exciting custom projects to create vacation retreats at home. So that’s our story and the rest as they say. . . is history.
Steven J Doerler