Grillo grinds up a storm with CBI 6800CT

MILFORD, CT – Grillo Services was founded in Milford, Connecticut in 1993 on the premise of improving the customer’s experience for buying various landscape materials. Twin brothers Michael and LJ Grillo originally started in the landscape contracting space building walls and taking on landscape construction projects. Whenever the brothers would be on a landscape job and need good materials, they would have to search between a number of different locations scattered throughout nearby towns. 

A market opportunity presented itself.

“We saw that there was a way to get rid of waste and supply mulch and soils to landscape contractors,” said LJ Grillo, Vice President at Grillo Services. “Every time we’d show up to buy mulch or soils, it was a big deal. So there was a need for it and that’s how we ended up getting into this business.”

Soil, mulch, tipping, and hauling are the four major quadrants at Grillo Services. They offer an impressive variety of mulches, soils, and stones while recycling inbound material from contractors in the area. They’ve built a strong reputation in the local community through generous donations, active involvement in local projects, and premium quality products. Some notable clients rely on the material from Grillo’s yard, including Central Park in New York City who recently contacted them for topsoil

A large part of their success stems from their strong background in the landscaping industry.

“Landscapers need a place to get rid of their brush, logs, stumps, grass, leaves, and green waste,” said Michael Grillo, President at Grillo Services. “We can take that and recycle it into a re-usable product and sell it. Not only have we grown through the years with grinding but our two major sales are mulch and soil. We do a lot of custom soil blends and have become a major custom soil blend company. We make specialty soils for environmental remediation projects, urban development projects, and other specialty projects.”

Adding a tracked 6800CT Horizontal Grinder

LJ and Michael do a significant amount of research when investing in equipment. They prove concepts to make the numbers work and talk through the issues until the details are understood with precision. When faced with adding their next grinder, they discussed the pros and cons of a horizontal versus a tub. 
CBI 6800CT grinding logs and tree branches

“I wanted a CBI 6800CT Horizontal Grinder and my argument was that it was less maintenance, less breakdowns, and you could grind with it on the side of the road,” Michael explained. “That has proven to be true.”

Clear advantages that CBI’s tracked mobile grinder has over traditional tub grinders is the mobility to move to the next pile, easily adjust on the landing to optimize production, and the ability point the infeed safely away from high traffic areas.

The reliability of CBI machines is always an advantage.

A metal truck rim was loaded into the 6800CT and the Metal Detection System (MDS) immediately picked it up; they didn’t even break a tip.

“The maintenance costs alone, I’m going to be honest with you guys, has paid for itself,” LJ Grillo said regarding the 6800CT’s performance in the first year. “There’s been a lot less maintenance with the CBI 6800CT.”

Grinding inbound storm debris

About one year into owning their 6800CT, storm debris generated in the late summer of 2020 proved to be a great test for the grinder’s durability and production rates. A sudden spike of inbound material needed to be processed to avoid capacity issues at the yard.

Logs and wood waste from storm“We just had a storm and the amount of green waste that it produced in the several towns and counties around us is just a tremendous amount--trees that went down and limbs that broke,” Michael Grillo said. “It’s just as good as any hurricane we’d had through the years. We’re able to keep up with that material coming in because our 6800CT kept grinding every single day.”

The team at Grillo has worked closely with High Ground Equipment throughout the last year to put the 6800CT into operation and optimize it to the unique needs of their business. High Ground’s responsiveness and ongoing service support has been nothing short of excellent.

Joe Havranek, who operates the grinders at Grillo Services, has been impressed with the 6800CT’s performance and the local support he’s receiving. They set the machine up with 3” tips and 6”x 9” grates for primary grinding.

“The support from High Ground Equipment has been phenomenal,” Havranek said. “There’s always someone on the other end of the line to answer my questions and lead me in the right direction.”

Grillo Services intends to continue their expansion in the near future. Their plans include an additional site in the town of Bethlehem, Connecticut where they can increase capacity and grow their business even more.