Business Spotlight – August 2018
Astro Exterminating Services
South Georgia’s Largest Independent Pest Control Company
While it may be South Georgia’s largest independent pest control company, ASTRO Exterminating was established as a family business. The company has been serving South Georgia with full service pest control for more than four decades, offering today’s modern technology in pest and termite control. Founded by Lamar Culbreth and his wife, Margaret, the company started small and has since expanded to sixteen locations and over 300 employees.
The Valdosta location is now run by Culbreth’s daughter, Laura Perlman. “When my dad started this business in 1969, he said he wanted to have the kind of business he would like to work for,” Perlman said.
While pest control is traditionally a high turnover business, Perlman takes great pride ASTRO’s ability to attract and retain long standing employees by honoring her father’s commitment to taking care of his staff and his community.
“In my eyes, there are two big things that really set us apart here at ASTRO,” she said. “One, it’s the individuals that we have working with us and two, it’s our service. The answer to our customers is always “yes.”
Perlman attests that she receives compliments nearly every day from satisfied customers, attributing that success to both the employees and her management team. “We focus on the work at hand but also the little things,” she said. “Simple gestures like making sure to wipe your feet before entering someone’s home make a big difference. We’re not perfect and we are always looking for ways to improve, but keeping that service mentality in mind really goes a long way.”
The company has come a long way since its early beginnings. When Culbreth left his position as vice president of a national pest control company to branch out on his own, he was the sole technician. Today, the company spans with sixteen locations in South Georgia and Hilton Head, South Carolina.
“Even though we’ve evolved into a larger company, we still run on the basic principles that my dad built,” Perlman said. From monthly employee cookouts to support of local organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, Culbreth’s vision is still being practiced today.
“My dad used to say, ‘Laura, you can’t run a business with your heart, but when you lose heart, it’s time to get out,’” said Perlman. “Because of the wonderful staff that I have, I’ve been able to both work and raise my daughter. It’s truly a great balance and I am very lucky.”
ASTRO was established in 1969, the same year that man first landed on the moon. Lamar and Margaret had nearly everything set to open their business apart from its name. They had thought long and hard when it dawned on Margaret, “Well honey, if man can land on the moon, we can shoot for the stars.”
Forty-nine years later, the stars are still aligned!