Tournesol Siteworks has over thirty years of creating landscape solutions for urban environments. We started in 1979 as Planter Technology, creating the first commercially viable self-watering planter for indoor plants. Allen Secrest, the original founder of the company, started out selling the Natural Spring self-watering planter to the interior plant maintenance business. Over time he expanded the company's product offering to include large-scale planters with built-in irrigation, planter liners for the construction marketplace, and unique plant care products.
In 1994 a new group, led by Christopher Lyon, acquired the company to push it to the next level. In 1996 we expanded the original self-watering pot concept and created a simple self-watering insert. The concept of container irrigation was born, designed to make irrigation available to any pot or planter. In 1998 the focus of container irrigation was broadened from primarily interior to exterior applications. Over the next few years distribution was added, and the concept of container irrigation grew to be an accepted part of the commercial landscape market, with Planter Technology at the head of the pack.
2004 was a year of significant changes for the company. In April the first fiberglass pots in the new Tournesol Siteworks line were shipped, marking the company's re-entry into the site furnishings business. Later that year Flower Framers of Cincinnati, who had been manufacturing fiberglass windowboxes for 10 years, was acquired. The Cincinnati facility was expanded in 2007 to become the base for most manufacturing operations for the East Coast and Midwest.
We adopted the Tournesol Siteworks name for the entire company in 2007 to reflect the expanded scope of the business. Tournesol is the French word for Sunflower, and literally means "turn to the sun". It was an auspicious time for all in the commercial construction market. In 2007 we also responded to our customer's requests and entered the quickly-growing business of providing components to the green roof and living wall marketplaces. As building owners and developers become more concerned about the environmental impact of the built environment and people's relationship to it, we saw a broad future opportunity for our type of company.
We struggled in 2009 with the same forces that battered the rest of the commercial construction marketplace. Despite the challenges, Tournesol started on several ambitious additions to our product range. We took over a concrete casting facility in Newman, CA, giving us an internal source for lightweight concrete. We also introduced the Tournesol VGM modular living wall system and the TerraScreen interior greenwall products. This market was still in its infancy, but showing great potential. 2010 saw the expansion of the living wall line with the introduction of the VertiGreen trellis and then the VertiGreen Hybrid trellis products.
In 2011 we embarked on a major consolidation from 3 facilities (Milford, OH, Newman and Fremont, CA) into one large 40,000sf plant in Hayward, CA - just down the street from where we used to be in 2006! We've become a dominant provider of pots & planters to the commercial landscape marketplace, and we needed a more stable manufacturing platform to work from. The move has been a great success, allowing us to improve quality, shorten leadtimes, and increase our internal efficiencies.