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Saving the World With Fertilizer

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This story appears in the July 2013 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Tom Kelly knew it was time to change his ways when he inadvertently lied to his sister. For almost two decades he'd worked in the lawn-care industry, first for a company bought out by TruGreen, and later with his own business, Lawn Dawg, which grew to seven branches that maintained 25,000 lawns throughout his home base of New Hampshire.

In 2005 customers began to demand alternatives to synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and Kelly and his business partner faced a tough decision. "I remember the day specifically," he says. "We decided that instead of making product changes, we would just change our messaging." They turned their logo green and rebranded their service as EarthCare, but continued to spray the same chemical compounds on customers' lawns.

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