Former professional rugby player positions family business for fresh growth

A little-known Gloucestershire family business, which has long-standing working relationships with some of the county’s biggest building firms and most of its local authorities, is now in the hands of a former professional rugby player from Gloucester and targeting growth for 2023.

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published
Will and Demelza Graulich see 2023 as a positive year for their Gloucestershire business.

A takeover of a 30-year-old family business was not something on Will Graulich’s radar – he had been happily forging a successful career after retiring from a decade in rugby that had seen him play at both Gloucester and for the Cornish Pirates.

Graulich, a former Gloucester The King's School pupil had been climbing the ranks at the multi-billion pound car dealership The Sytner Group and initially turned down the idea of buying out the grounds maintenance and fencing business founded by his father-in-law.

But on closer inspection, the opportunity for Graulich and his wife, Melza, to takeover Greenfields Garden Services Ltd, was too exciting to walk away from – and after taking their time to understand the £3 million-plus turnover firm and 'not rock the boat' they are now ready to drive it forward.

Graulich admitted: ‘At first I said ‘no’ to the idea. I had put five years worth of work into learning as much as I could from Sytner, it was a great company to work for and I felt I was heading in the right direction.

'But when I reflected on it, I also knew I didn’t want to look back and think 'what if?'.'

The 30-year-old former lock, who came through the Gloucester Rugby Academy and played with the likes of Alex Brown and Andy Hazel, has no regrets about his decision.

‘Greenfields is a 30-year-old Gloucestershire business that has a brilliant reputation and so much potential to grow,' said Graulich, who has also plugged into the expertise of The Growth Hub business support services to help develop his plans.

‘We already have a long-standing working relationships with companies including Barnwood, Smiths, Allstone, EG Carter and we do a lot of work with Gloucestershire schools, Gloucester City Council, the county council, Cheltenham Borough Council and many of the parish councils too.’

The company, which has as many as 40 staff at peak times, specialises in services ranging from landscaping, grounds maintenance, tree surgery, fencing and is experienced in design and installation of children’s play areas, safety surfacing, outdoor classrooms, fitness equipment and outdoor fitness.

‘It is a business that has always performed very well for its customers, but is ripe for modernisation and investment. We have begun introducing new processes to make it more efficient in-house and give our customers an even better service,’ said Graulich.


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