Barrett Tree Service
Do all arboriculturalists drink green tea? Or is it only the crew of Barrett Tree Service? Founder and owner Winthrop Barrett laughs, “Yeah, we’re always drinking the green tea.” It’s by no means a profession-wide tradition, he explains, but it does serve a purpose. “It’s a performance drink. It gives you a nice steady buzz, whereas coffee brings you up and then you crash.” And when you’re in a business like tree care, you want an even keel.
“We’ve been taking care of people and their trees since 1997,” says Barrett. When he started the company he may have been just one guy with a chainsaw and a truck, but Barrett has been careful to develop the business in a way that puts safety, capacity and quality first. His strategy is to create a strong, cohesive, and well-trained crew. “We have good reputation for doing good work, and that just starts from day one in the company culture."
He may joke about the school of hard knocks, but the company motto is “Do it once, do it right.” And like the motto, the habits of mind that Barrett likes to foster in his team all seem to have a ring to them. For example: “work slow like a pro,” and “take a breath before you go.” For the customer, this kind of approach adds up to a worry-free experience. “We approach each job carefully and we do very good work, very methodical, with a very good finished product. And we’re downright nice guys, too, so you get the whole package!”
Sheffield born and raised, and with a liberal arts education, Barrett used to think he wanted to be a politician. But working for a landscaping company after college changed his mind. “They had a tree division and the climber made quite an impression on me. One day after work he asked if I wanted to try climbing. I said yes, and fell in love immediately.” Reflecting on his choice, he comments wryly, “This was a much easier business to get into, so I went with it!”
This year, beyond the pruning, cabling, tree removal, fertilizing, woods management, and stump-grinding that forms the core of his business, Barrett is also diving into the organic control of mosquitoes and ticks, the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid and the Emerald Ash Borer. Organic pest control, Barrett says, is the only way he would fly. “We live in a beautiful area. Why use synthetics when you can take a more holistic approach?”
It might be easier to grasp the holistic approach from 40, 50, or 60 feet in the air. When you’re climbing trees, Barrett says, “the only other creatures that are ever up there are animals, squirrels or birds. It is kind of cool to see everything from their perspective. It’s a wicked cool way to spend your day.”
Barrett’s love for this region helped inspire him to accept BerkShares. “It’s our commitment to the Berkshires. It’s basically Berkshire Pride. I’m putting my money where my mouth is. Hey, I love this area, so yeah, we take BerkShares.” One of his main concerns about economic development in the Berkshires is maintaining the charm of where we live while also welcoming new people and some new development. But he does not think that finding the right balance is too hard. “I don’t think people feel so bad now about taking down a few trees to maximize the sun’s potential, either for pasture or for generating power. We don’t want strip malls, but we do need a place to get our cup of coffee… sorry, I mean tea!”