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'Lawn in a roll' grows in U.S. and overseas

SHARON CASKEY HAYES • Apr 13, 2007 at 9:03 AM

KINGSPORT - You can find it in 600 Lowe's Home Improvement stores in this country. And across the globe, it's being used in various places from the United Kingdom and Germany to South Africa and South Korea.

It's called Blue Yellow, and it got its start right here in Kingsport.

Max Zoellin markets the product internationally from his office in downtown Kingsport. Zoellin is executive vice president and treasurer of EZ Green Management Co. Inc., the company that birthed the Blue Yellow idea.

Dubbed a "lawn in a roll," Blue Yellow is an engineered turf system with small bits of fertilizer and seed positioned within biodegradable fibers. Users simply roll out the turf system and water for a quick, lush lawn in four to six weeks.

The patented product is manufactured by BlueYellow, LLC, a Georgia-Pacific company. EZ Green receives royalties from domestic sales of Blue Yellow, and the Kingsport company retains the rights to market the product outside the U.S. and Canada.

From his offices in Kingsport, Zoellin has worked for the past two years to market the product overseas. So far, the product is available through distributors in England, Germany, South Africa, and South Korea. A distributor is also in place for the United Arab Emirates, and Zoellin is working to establish distribution in Turkey.

He said he's introducing the product at golf courses in other countries in hopes of attracting interest from other potential customers.

Closer to home, Lowe's test marketed the product in 100 stores last year, and as a result, decided to put Blue Yellow on the shelves at 600 stores, from Kansas and the Dakotas to the East Coast southward to the Carolinas.

Zoellin is hoping the product will extend its reach at Lowe's stores in the Deep South and Midwest.

He said the product has been slow to catch on in many areas.

"It's a new product and people are sometimes reluctant to try something new. But once they try it, we can build testimonials on it and go from there. And now, our hard work in starting to pay off," Zoellin said.

And with the royalties from sales at Lowe's, Zoellin is hoping to extend Blue Yellow's reach around the world. "It should help fuel an international push. We've got our fingers crossed."

For more information, visit www.blueyellowhome.com.

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