2017 Georgia Small Business ROCK Star: Atlas Turf International

This year, we named four outstanding small businesses as our Small Business ROCK STARS: Atlanta Movie Tours, Atlas Turf International, Ecolink Inc., and Sweet Grass Dairy. We are highlighting each one in a series of blog posts.


Atlas Turf International, located in LaGrange, provides turfgrass solutions for golf courses and sports fields worldwide. Combining extensive knowledge of the turf industry and expertise in navigating complex international distribution channels, Atlas Turf makes turf products available to projects in all corners of the globe.

Atlas Turf founder John Holmes helped to revolutionize the process of shipping live turfgrass to global markets. Since starting in 2011, they have shipped turfgrass to over 60 countries including remote locales such as the Maldives, New Caledonia, the Seychelles and Turkmenistan.

Atlas Turf specializes in the analysis of project conditions such as climate, soil and water quality, maintenance capabilities, long-term usage projections, and environmental factors to make the turfgrass selection most appropriate for each site.

They recognize the changing needs of the market and supports the research and development of newer and more innovative turfgrass products. Advancements in turfgrass cultivars provide products that can thrive on effluent and less water, fewer chemical inputs, and in challenging climatic conditions. Stronger, more resilient new varieties recover quicker and withstand more traffic to provide safer surfaces for athletes.

In its five-year history, Atlas Turf has experienced steady, yet controlled growth. With careful planning, assistance and advice from industry experts, and more than a few leaps of faith, Atlas Turf has expanded in size, reach and scope. Revenue and profit have tripled first-year numbers, and volume has almost doubled.

“The LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce and the UGA Small Business Development Center (SBDC) have assisted us in creating a five-year growth plan, developing a systems-based structure for each area of our business, and analyzing the profitability of new ventures.” – John Holmes, Founder, Atlas Turf International

Initially, Atlas Turf sold only live sprigs but has since partnered with a leading seed and research company to add to their product line. The addition of seeded products provides a more comprehensive product line to meet the needs of more clients and to gain access into countries that restrict the import of product.

Through planned growth, the company has added one full-time employee, one sales consultant, one part-time contract employee, and nine new distributors. By re-investing profits in the company and intelligently managing risks, Atlas Turf has been able to grow and expand without leveraging lines of credit or incurring interest charges.

Passion and a plan are probably two of the most critical elements an entrepreneur needs to possess. However, awareness of knowledge gaps could certainly rank among the top three.

“At the state level, several entities have regularly lent support to Atlas Turf, including the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Export Directory,” says John.

When growth necessitated a new office, Atlas Turf joined the downtown revitalization movement by purchasing and renovating a 100-year-old home.

In addition, Atlas Turf supports the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce, LaGrange Downtown Development Authority, Red Cross, and other business and charitable associations. They are particularly proud of their investment in golf-related charitable initiatives both locally and nationally including The First Tee and Sticks for Kids.

Want to learn more about Atlas Turf Farms and projects they recently completed? Be sure to check them out on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Do you think your business has what it takes to be one of Georgia’s Small Business ROCK Stars? Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more information on the 2018 competition, available during Summer 2017.

Contact GDEcD

For more information on Georgia’s public-private business partnerships, contact the Georgia Department of Economic Development at 404.962.4000.

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