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Strong Roots
Roots Enterprises LLC Focuses on Quality and Community

Writer / Jamie Hergott
Photographer / Gillian Maloney

Mike Maloney and Nathan Kilpatrick met when they were 5 years old. They spent their childhood days playing outside and riding to each other’s houses on their bikes. Today, they’ve co-founded a business for which they’re still essentially playing outside together daily.

Both men started doing local landscaping projects at the age of 12 during their summers to earn extra cash, so even before 2020 they had loyal clients. Kilpatrick started Roots Enterprises LLC on January 1, 2020, offering residential landscaping services such as mowing, spring and fall cleanup, mulching, trimming, shrub and small-tree removal, hardscapes, irrigation, planting, and bed design. Not long after, Maloney joined him in his business venture, bringing his clientele with him.

Maloney and Kilpatrick graduated from high school together, but life took them in different directions. Kilpatrick’s family moved to Florida, and he took an opportunity to play soccer in Europe. Maloney went to college at Taylor University. The friends kept in touch regularly through FaceTime.

Last September, Kilpatrick was Maloney’s best man in his wedding, and Maloney will do the same for Kilpatrick in his wedding later this year.

“His family is like a second family to me,” Maloney says. “Nothing stopped us from staying in touch and being good friends over the years.”

Their childhoods spent outside and their deep friendship provide essential elements for Roots Enterprises. A homegrown business, Roots may offer landscaping like many other businesses, but their focus and foundation are community involvement, customer experience and company culture.

“We really want to help the younger generation,” Kilpatrick says. “Kids these days don’t play outside, and they don’t work.”

They want to teach their employees who are in high school and college to work and save their money for the future.

“Yes, we are for profit, but we don’t want to just take from our community,” Kilpatrick says.

Maloney and Kilpatrick grew up playing soccer together, and they still play together in an adult league, so they know how essential a team culture is to productivity and quality.

“We want to be a place where people want to work,” Maloney says. “We want our employees to be intentional with their work and do a great job, and we want to pay them back for that high-quality work in more ways than just monetarily.”

Their goal for the future of Roots is to offer company events, bonuses, health insurance, life insurance, 401(k) plans and profit shares.

Both men already have full-time careers in addition to Roots. Maloney is an engineer, and runs a nonprofit organization called 516 Candles, which sells candles made from scratch and donates the proceeds. He partners with Horizon House in Indianapolis, and for every candle sold, he donates articles such as gloves, underwear, T-shirts and school supplies.  Kilpatrick is a financial advisor and coaches soccer.

They each have a strong entrepreneurial side that motivates and excites them to continue growing Roots.

“Obviously, Nate and I love to see people’s yards transformed, but we love even more seeing our employees learning new skills, and becoming better and stronger people,” Maloney says. “We aren’t just teaching hard skills. We’re teaching people to become more loving and more genuine people.”

They also feel their company size provides a personal touch.

“We want to be approachable and reachable,” Kilpatrick says. “You won’t wait hours online with customer service. You can come directly to us, and we’ll handle anything correctly.”

Their company slogan, “Growing the roots of the community,” has a two-pronged meaning according to Kilpatrick.

“We aren’t just physically growing roots, but we’re actually giving back to the community we grew up in,” he says.

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