ASPM expansion

MATT WILKE and his wife, Robin, are looking forward to the new headquarters for ASPM Landscapes, a business Wilke started in Chicago in 2008 and moved to Northeast Nebraska in 2012. It currently operates from a property near Off Road Raceway on Old Highway 8. The new facility will be at 2501 E. Omaha Ave., near Cornhusker International. 

By now, Matt Wilke has grown accustomed to building things from the ground up.

The owner of ASPM Landscapes in Norfolk has started his business from scratch twice — once in the northwest suburbs of Chicago in 2008 and again in Northeast Nebraska in 2012.

Now, he is paving the way for an even more successful future for the business by constructing a new headquarters at 2501 E. Omaha Ave., near Cornhusker International.

“We’ve just outgrown where we’re currently at,” Wilke said. “We’re out of room and our business has expanded so much and the size of our equipment has grown so much that we just need a bigger facility.”

ASPM Landscapes currently operates out of a small facility near Off Road Speedway on Old Highway 8, but the business began 10 years ago in a much larger market area.

Wilke, who graduated from Wayne High School and Northeast Community College, worked for Kiewit Corporation for many years, but he eventually decided to take that knowledge base and use it to form his own business in the landscaping industry.

“At one point, I just decided to do my own thing,” he said. “We started out and basically took all of the years of training and experience I received ... and put it to use for myself.”

ASPM — which originally stood for All Seasons Property Maintenance — started operating out of a 10-foot by 40-foot storage unit in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. His only employee at the time — Juan Parra — made the move with Wilke from Chicago to Norfolk and is now a foreman with the company.

While Wilke built ASPM into a million-plus-dollar business in Chicago, he was drawn back to Northeast Nebraska in 2012.

“We just decided we wanted to get closer to home and move back here, so that’s what we did,” he said.

Wilke said he had questioned whether the Norfolk market area could support the type of business he wanted to build, but his concerns quickly fell to the wayside as word-of-mouth referrals led to the company’s rapid growth.

“We found that with our levels of experience and work that we’re able to perform, there’s a huge need for it,” he said.

The company operates multiple divisions — commercial and residential landscaping, grading and seeding for commercial and residential properties, erosion control and commercial snow removal.

The ASPM Landscapes staff includes two full-time designers with degrees in landscape design and horticulture. Its 13-person team has been cross-trained to work in all of ASPM’s divisions. Robin Wilke is the office manager for the company. The couple also has three children.

Wilke said he takes a lot of pride in the knowledge and expertise of their staff: “It’s not just a guy with a driver’s license and a couple of high school kids. We spend a lot of time and money finding the right people and training them to do the work.”

The business handles a wide variety of landscaping projects. The new location will not only include the company headquarters but also will have up-to-date interactive displays like water features, fire pits, outdoor kitchens, pergolas, sound systems, as well as an array of stone, tile and aggregate products.

“Landscaping is an extension of the inside. We’re taking it outside and creating spaces to entertain and bring your friends and family,” he said.

Wilke said a retail option for the do-it-yourself landscaper is also being discussed as part of the plan for the new location, which he hopes to have completed by the start of next year’s landscaping season. Wilke added that he would like to see ASPM Landscapes branch out to multiple locations in Nebraska and Iowa and eventually become a franchise.

“I truly believe I can sell the way we do it, the process from selling it to building it to buying material to what kind of equipment to use — the whole process,” he said. “I can sell that to somebody that wants to get into the landscaping business. ... There’s a lot of opportunity there, and a big need for what we do and how we do it.”